A number of ordinances regulating downtown entertainment passed the License and Consumer Protection Committee Tuesday. 42nd Ward ordinances to amend regulations of sidewalk cafes, alcohol at Navy Pier, and outdoor patio hours now advance before the full Council. The meeting concluded with quick approval of a number of liquor and grocery store licenses.

Start Time: 11:11 a.m.
Committee Members Present: Chairman Emma Mitts (37), Roderick Sawyer (6), Gregory Mitchell (7), David Moore (17), Matt O’Shea (19), Willie Cochran (20), Michael Scott Jr. (24), Walter Burnett Jr. (27), Chris Taliferro (29), Ariel Reboyras (30), Scott Waguespack (32), Pat O’Connor (40), Brendan Reilly (42), Michele Smith (43), Tom Tunney (44), John Arena (45), James Cappleman (46), Debra Silverstein (50)

Aldermen passed an ordinance loosening rules on where visitors can carry alcohol at Navy Pier. Greg Steadman, Local Liquor Control Commissioner, says current liquor laws only allow alcohol between outdoor venues, so long as the drinks were bought on the Pier and transported in red plastic cups that identify the bar or restaurant that sold the drink. The proposed ordinance would expand those open-container rules to indoor venues, with the same security protocols. Steadman says this would help make Navy Pier a year-round attraction.

Ald. Scott, Ald. Tunney, and Ald. Smith asked several follow-up questions about the ordinance. Steadman clarified that alcohol cannot leave the pier, there’s no BYOB allowed, and people can’t bring open alcohol containers to boats at Navy Pier, but can bring closed containers if they have a boat docked there. The ordinance passed by voice vote.

Aldermen also voted to allow the rooftops around Wrigley Field to stay open and sell tickets for concerts through 2018. Ald. Tunney says this was initially done on a case-by-case basis, but in light of the recent renovations, he thought this ordinance would be more expedient.

The Committee also advanced Ald. Brendan Reilly’s request to designate extra city workers to enforce the sidewalk cafe ordinance. “On the weekends, especially when there are not many city inspectors on the clock, that’s when we see most of our abuse to the outdoor cafe footprint.” He says, for example, the city could designate a ward superintendent to inspect cafes. Those violations would be routed through the Commissioner of Business Affairs’ office.

George Blakemore testified that he’s seen multiple, “out of control” violations in Ald. Reilly’s lakefront ward. In response to Blakemore’s testimony, Ald. Sawyer suggested the city consider charging a square foot fee for sidewalk cafes, instead of a flat fee.

Aldermen also re-upped an annual policy change allowing business district patios to stay open an extra hour, until midnight, during the summer season. The Committee also approved licensing for a bowling alley, movie theater, and a new Mariano’s in the 27th Ward. When asking for motion to move to pass, Chairman Mitts joked to Ald. Sawyer that he was jealous of the new Mariano’s, “You almost didn’t want to say that one, cause you’re hatin’ on it. I know you’re hatin’ on it, I see that look!”

Chairman Mitts re-referred Ald.Tunney and Clerk Susana Mendoza’s ordinance O2015-4198 to amend the Municipal Code as it relates to the issuance to residential parking permits insurance to the Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety. Chairman Mitts also deferred ordinances O2015-4196O2015-3713 and O2015-3723.