The Council’s License Committee won’t take up any of the shared-housing plans that seek to regulate business like Airbnb, but they will take up an ordinance from Mayor Rahm Emanuel that would amend regulations for horse-drawn carriage and pedicab licenses, in addition to a proposal by Ald. Deb Silverstein (50) to legalize certain “cat cafés” in Chicago.

As previously reported, the competing Airbnb ordinances will be immediately referred to a joint committee of the Council’s License and Housing Committee. The decision to hold a special joint meeting is due to the fact that the plans address licensing and housing concerns, a legislative aide for the License Committee told Aldertrack last week. A date for that hearing is still unknown.   

The ordinance from Mayor Emanuel regarding horse-drawn carriage chauffeur and pedicab licenses was introduced in February on behalf of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP).

It removes the provision requiring operators of horse-drawn carriages, “speak, read and write the English language,” when applying for the license, and adds a requirement that applicants can’t have been found guilty of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a “controlled substance or cannabis.” Before, it was just alcohol.

As for changes to the pedicab license, it adds a section clarifying the definition of a pedicab license: “A person engages in a pedicab business by seeking or accepting a fee, an economic benefit of a donation or gratuity, or any form of compensation (goods or services) for providing transportation to passengers in a pedicab.”

According to the Sun Times, the change is aimed at “removing ambiguity,” as to who is required to get a pedicab license, after reports of pedicab drivers circumventing the license requirement by giving rides for free while encouraging tips.

The ordinance also removed the provision requiring that each taxicab licensee submit an affidavit when they renew their license, detailing all lease rates, fees, and charges associated with the leasing of the taxicab.

Ald. Silverstein’s application would let animal shelters serve non-alcoholic drinks, but beverages could only be sold in a designated cafe area and to prospective adopters.

The two-year permit would cost $250, and only applicants with a valid animal care license, or a member of a human society “whose mission is to rescue animals” would be eligible. The city’s health department would enforce the rules and violators could face up to $1,000 in fines.

So far, only one organization in Chicago, Uptown’s Tree House Humane Society, is getting into the cat cafe business. The group plans to open a $7 million, 15,000-square-foot care facility called Cat’fe at 7225 N. Western Avenue this Spring. The state-of-the-art adoption center will house approximately 200 cats, and will include a veterinary clinic, an education center, and a pet food pantry and supply store, according to their website.