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Officials review village rules on liquor license establishments

To ensure rules governing liquor license establishments in New Lenox can accommodate the potential for microbreweries and wineries to operate, the Board of Trustees are looking to amend Village codes.

The measure was slated for a first read at the Village’s July 10 meeting, at which point the board discussed the matter.

“When we were reviewing our liquor ordinances before, we thought we had [all potential uses] covered,” Mayor Tim Baldermann said. “The good thing is we don’t because people come with different ideas. Someone had come in to us and was interested in opening a microbrewery or winery, but it didn’t have the food component.”

The Village is seeking to modify its rules regulating liquor license establishments to mirror another municipality’s codes. It will detail information regarding a food component.

“This particular establishment won’t [have a food component,]” Baldermann said. “If, in fact, they move forward—but whether they do or not—it was kind of brought to our attention. Rather than giving variances, we thought we would just tweak it. So, this is just simply stating they don’t have to have that food component in order to have a microbrewery.”

Trustee David Smith said the thought of introducing a microbrewery in town is enticing.

“It’s a pretty good investment, too,” he said. “It’s not just like opening a bar. You build a microbrewery or a winery it’s not cheap. You have to come up with money upfront for all the equipment.”

Baldermann agreed, and went on to say the prospect of allowing such uses in Village limits is a commitment on both the part of the municipality and the prospective business owner.

“Actually, this particular person that has spoken to us currently has one in another location that he’s operating,” he said. “He knows what he’s into. So, you’re right. It’s not anybody just… trying to open their business. He understands what it takes. It is expensive.”

Also at that meeting, New Lenox officials rejected a bid for water tower antenna relocation as part of the Village’s plans to rehabilitate Ferro Water Tower.

“If they can’t get it done in time, then we are not able to honor the scope of the bid work because we had [said] we wanted it done this year,” Baldermann said.

The effort to secure a bid to relocate antennas was a struggle for the Village, officials said.

“It’s on us this time to reject the bids and go back out again,” Baldermann said. “I think it’s the proper thing to do because if we don’t and we don’t get it done this year, then obviously someone else that bids [says,’] Well, wait a minute. If I knew you were going to do it next year, perhaps I could have bid it at another number.’”

New Lenox officials had discussed the prospect of pushing the project off until next year.

“In the interest of transparency and doing it the right way, I’m asking that we reject the bid and go back out [for bids,]” Baldermann said.

In a 5-0 vote, New Lenox officials rejected the low bid submitted by Horizon Brothers for antenna relocation. Trustees Douglas Finnegan and David Butterfield were absent.

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