Photo by Brooke Collins.
18-Oct-17 Dozens of two-block zones throughout River North in which no new tavern licenses will be issued will be created by a series of ordinances approved by the Chicago City Council.
The moratorium applies to licenses for bars and nightclubs only and not incidental licenses required to open new restaurants. A moratorium can be lifted as needed for at least one year in any specific zone.
42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly said last Friday he sponsored the ordinances after discussions with Chicago Police Department and neighborhood leaders about a significant increase in quality-of-life complaints related to a number of liquor establishments operating as taverns or nightclubs in River North.
While most liquor license applicants review their proposals with him and the 18th District police commander, Reilly says there is a growing trend of applicants circumventing the police commander and alderman and simply filing applications with the city.
The moratorium, he says, will discourage this.
||(Left) Alderman Reilly (second from left) at an event in Streeterville on September 25. Photo by Gabor Mozsi.
Reilly says he is a strong supporter of the hospitality industry in downtown Chicago but the moratorium will be a helpful and necessary safeguard for residents in River North.
The ordinance was introduced on September 6 and passed by the City Council on October 11.
In 2013, an ordinance introduced by Reilly and passed by the City Council created about a 14-block zone in River North in which no tavern licenses were issued for at least a year. That tavern moratorium zone contained, according to Reilly, at least 140 liquor licenses, including 18 for bars, lounges, nightclubs, pubs, and taverns that sold and served alcoholic beverages as their primary business.
When you have a high concentration of liquor in a very confined space, that can create all sorts of quality-of-life concerns and frankly pose an undue burden for local police, said Reilly at an August 28, 2013, meeting of the City Councils Committee on License and Consumer Protection.