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Resident to Officials: St. Charles 'Has Problem With Bars'

St. Charles officials postpone for one week discussing proposed changes to the city alcohol ordinance.

A St. Charles resident told city officials studying liquor-code changes that St. Charles has “a problem with bars” and requested more meaningful reforms.

On Monday night, St. Charles' Government Operations Committee delayed voting on a packet of changes that included 12 changes to the liquor ordinances. The proposed amendments include:

  • A change to the fee structure.
  • Ending the additional hour of service on New Year’s Eve that allows alcohol service until 3 a.m.
  • Prohibiting operation of a teen club in an establishment that serves alcohol.
  • Authorization of the sale of alcohol for consumption of off-site consumption.
  • A requirement that businesses classified as restaurants serve full-menu service while alcohol is served. The full menu must be served until 11 p.m.and a limited menu the rest of the time the establishment is open.

After the committee opted to discuss the proposed changes next week, resident David Amundson said the changes don't go far enough.

He said downtown St. Charles has plenty of restaurants that “act like bars.” He asked officials to pass amendments that would clearly define an establishment as a restaurant versus a bar. He praised the liquor ordinance in Geneva that requires a minimum of 50 percent sale of food for restaurants.

“You don’t get drunken brawls happening in restaurants,” he said.

Amundson, who also , questioned city officials on how much revenue is generated through the tax on alcohol and whether or not it was worth what he said has been an increase in alcohol related crimes in St. Charles, including DUIs and fights. He asked officials to consider relying more on a food tax than the alcohol tax.

Chairman Clifford Carrignan said the city relied on a higher food tax in the past, but rescinded it in 2005. Carrignan said the tax “created a hardship” on restaurants that did not serve alcohol as well.

St. Charles officials postponed for one week discussing proposed changes to the city alcohol ordinance.

Committee member Jo Krieger questioned how the city polices Class B licensed establishments that contain a “holding bar,” which cannot exceed 20 percent of seating. 

Mayor Donald DeWitte said the establishment is typically reviewed when it opens, but can be examined after the establishment opens. If a business is found to be in violation, City Attorney Tom Good said, the establishment is subject to fines or possible revocation of the liquor license.

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