Joliet City Council OKs booze ordinance
By Tony Graf firstname.lastname@example.org September 17, 2012 9:48PM
The Joliet Route 66 Diner opened in July at t 22 W. Clinton St. The City Center Partnership, which promotes and markets downtown Joliet, plans to hire a professional economic developer. File photo | Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 19, 2012 6:19AM
JOLIET — The city council on Monday approved an ordinance limiting the sale of single containers of alcohol.
The city is seeking to combat underage drinking and the nuisances associated with public drinking. One provision bans the sale of a single beer container 40 ounces or less from certain establishments in a downtown area that the city is seeking to redevelop.
“The sale of single servings of alcoholic beverages is a growing problem affecting the city and is appealing and affordable for underage youth,” Mayor Thomas Giarrante said. “Single servings of alcoholic beverages are typically sold cold and lead to public drinking, criminal activity, littering and the illegal transportation of alcohol in a motor vehicle.”
City and police officials discussed problems with public drunkenness downtown. Some people will buy 40-ounce beers, 24-ounce cans or miniature bottles, like the bottles one commonly sees on an airline. That can lead to a “quick hit” and nuisances such as panhandling, urination and defecation in public places.
The amended liquor code has several key provisions:
It will be unlawful for certain license holders to sell a single container of beer if the volume is 40 ounces or less.
The ordinance applies to holders of Class A, C or C-D licenses located within a special downtown redevelopment area known as the TIF district. That area is so called because of provisions of the Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act. License holders within 1,000 feet of this district also are affected.
It also will be unlawful for these license holders to sell a single container of alcohol, other than beer or wine, if the volume of the container is 6.4 ounces or less.
With this restriction, it will be unlawful for these license holders to sell any of the prohibited items attached together or repackaged in any method other than that originally done by the distributor or the manufacturer.
Outside the TIF district, it will be unlawful for these license holders to sell a single container of beer if the volume of the container is 12 fluid ounces or less. And it will be unlawful for them to sell a single container of alcohol, other than beer or wine, if the volume of the container is 6.4 ounces or less.
Russ Slinkard is president and chief executive of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry. He spoke at Monday’s city council meeting, but not on behalf of the chamber board. The board was to meet on the issue Tuesday morning.
However, Slinkard spoke as a downtown business executive who has witnessed litter and other public nuisances mentioned in connection with the problem.
“I’ve encouraged approval of this particular ordinance because I think, for the future of economic development, it’s necessary,” he said.
Councilman Larry Hug wanted to explore the idea of expanding the restrictions citywide. He made a motion to table the proposal for this purpose, but his motion failed.
The council then approved the ordinance with eight yes votes. Hug voted present, but expressed support for the concept of the restriction.