Naperville’s Sidewalk Liquor Sales Raise Questions about Outdoor Dining, Accessibility

A plan to make sidewalk liquor sales permanent in Naperville is now on the back burner.

After no reported problems since a plan to issue temporary licenses was approved last June, the Naperville Liquor Commission recommended the permits be made permanent.

This would allow restaurants to choose if they want to fence in sidewalk near their establishments to meet requirements.

But at a recent Naperville City Council meeting, representatives from the Naperville Accessible Community Task Force and the Naperville Senior Task Force brought concerns that the ordinance’s required five feet of clearance is not large enough.

“There simply is not enough space to allow for safe passageway for persons using wheelchairs and walkers when the available existing passageway is lessened by the space that will be used by outside dining and liquor sales,” said Gary Smith, chairman of the Naperville Accessible Community Task Force.

Council considered continuing to test the plan on a year-to-year basis, but some people were concerned that without making the plan permanent, restaurants can’t invest.

“We hesitated to make a large investment, and then based on the decision tonight we’re really looking at spending upwards of about $10,000,” said Spenser Tuzzo, manager of Sullivan’s Steakhouse in downtown Naperville.

Because the walking clearance also applies to all outside dining, council asked staff to come back with two proposals with eight feet of walking space but one with a built-in yearly sunset and one permanent.

Naperville News 17’s Beth Bria reports.

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