Council Update

Liquor was the hot topic at City Hall, as Council reviewed two ordinances that would make changes to the Naperville Municipal Code.

The first of those changes could affect the candidacy of Jimmy Bergeron, who holds liquor licenses for both the Wise Boxer Pour House and Jimmy’s Bar. He had planned to run for a council seat until it was brought to his attention that current Naperville law prohibits anyone with a financial interest in the sale of alcohol from holding office.

The new ordinance would reflect the state law put into place years ago that allows license holders to take office.

Bergeron, who suspended his campaign, but hasn’t officially withdrawn his candidacy, sees the current code as a major setback.

“There are a lot of really good people in the community that stepped up to serve our community, and the vague language that just didn’t age very well in the current ordinance as it sits in the city, really creates a lot of conflicts for a lot of people,” said Bergeron.

Councilman Steve Chirico agreed, citing problems with the wording of the code.

“The ordinance does need to be updated, I think the way it’s written is too broad and general. I think it’d be very difficult to interpret it without a pretty long discussion,” said Chirico, Naperville City Councilman.

But Councilman Hinterlong disagreed, citing the fact that anytime liquor is discussed during a meeting, those license holders would have to leave. For the past year, that would total nearly three dozen times.
“That’s not providing a service to the residence, if someone’s got to recuse themselves that many times within a year and like I said it’s a sensitive issue lately to where we need nine people up here cause it makes a difference in a vote,” said Paul Hinterlong, Naperville City Councilman.

Members were also split as to when to resolve the issue, whether it should be before, or after the election on April 7.

Discussion then moved to a liquor license request from the Riverwalk Eatery.

Under the license, single servings of beer and wine would be available at the Naperville Park District owned cafe while it’s seasonally open. But councilman Doug Krause had concerns.

“The question that’s raised is do you want to have liquor served outside of the downtown area? If Brown’s Chicken could sell its place could they open a restaurant there are service liquor there?” said Doug Krause, Naperville City Councilman.

Other council members disagreed saying it’s just what the Riverwalk needs.

“It seems as if this would be something that would not be competing with downtown. The overall amenities there, this would enhance it,” said David Wentz, Naperville City Councilman.

Both topics are set to come back to City Council for further discussion.

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