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St. Charles Fines Two Bars Over Liquor Violations

Mayor calls for hearings to enforce liquor ordinances after Oct. 15 hearings for Kane County Rookies and Alibi Bar & Grill violations.

The city has fined two St. Charles bars for liquor ordinance violations as pressure continues to require liquor-license holders to abide by the city’s laws, even as the City Council gears up to consider raising fines for alcohol-elated offenses by bar patrons.

, was fined $1,500, and the Alibi Bar & Grill, 12 N. 3rd St., were fined $1,000 for the violations, according to a release from the city. Mayor Donald DeWitte, the city’s liquor control commissioners, found the two bars were in violation of the ordinances on Oct. 15.

Alibi Bar & Grill was cited with giving away liquor for commercial purposes and/or advertising and/or promoting free liquor during an incident in mid-September. The city said the license-holder was fined $1,000 plus court costs for the violation, the Alibi’s second since May.

Kane County Rookies was cited with selling, giving or delivering alcohol to intoxicated persons and harboring or permitting intoxicated persons to loiter on the premises. The fine was $1,500 plus court costs. It was the license-holder’s second violation since December 2011.

“The city of St. Charles Liquor Control Commission will remain vigilant in its oversight of our local bars and restaurants that serve alcohol,” DeWitte said in the release.

The penalties against the two bars come as the City Council gears up for a Nov. 5 meeting at which it will consider increasing fines for alcohol-related violations such as fighting, public drunkenness and public urination.

The increases in those fines are part of a two-pronged approach at addressing spikes in public drunkenness and fights, as well as public urinations, involving “highly intoxicated” individuals, and which city officials blame at least in part on bars that overserve alcohol to patrons, including those who are noticeably drunk.

“We will continue strict enforcement of the regulations designed to prohibit patrons from being overserved,” DeWitte said in the release issued Monday. “Violators will be subject to increasing level of fines, suspensions, and revocation if necessary.”

City officials have been concerned about the increasing number of incidents involving intoxicated individuals. Even a year ago, when Alibi Bar & Grill was starting the application process for its liquor license, some wondered if St. Charles already had enough bars. That discussion surfaced publicly on the City Council in February, when aldermen voted 6-4 to approve the Alibi’s license.

The issue surfaced yet again in May, when city officials met with bar owners to discuss their concerns, which included the overserving of alcohol to patrons. Then in August, a spike in the number of incidents of “highly intoxicated” individuals involved in fights, public drunkenness and public urination prompted DeWitte to propose requiring all bars in the city to close by 1 a.m. nightly instead of the 2 a.m. closing time allowed now.

DeWitte’s proposal — and the council’s initial approval of it during a committee meeting — was enough to prompt bar owners to meet with city officials to find a solution that would not cut into their operating hours.

One of the proposals coming out of those meetings were increasing the fines for alcohol-related violations by the public — fighting, public drunkenness, and public urination/defecation.

Another was that the bars would would form an association that would serve as a self-policing body that would even fine members who fail to uphold guidelines and rules governing how bars would manage themselves in an effort to reduce the problems that have concerned city officials. The idea of the bars policing themselves, however, would not replace the city’s ability to enforce the law — it would be an added incentive for bar owners to comply with the laws.

The idea of self-policing was an underlying issue in the city’s citation against Alibi Bar & Grill. Two other bars in the area began hearing from their customers about the free liquor being given away and promoted at the Alibi. The other bars reported the incident to police.

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