After nearly two hours of deliberations the Mount Prospect Village Board narrowly approved a new ordinance Wednesday night that allows movie theaters to sell liquor.
The ordinance comes after the Mount Prospect AMC Theater approached the board last year with plans to build a bigger theater across the street from its existing location near Randhurst Mall on Euclid Avenue. The company sought permission to serve alcohol at its new facility, which will open April 29.
The measure approved Wednesday night makes movie theaters within Mount Prospect eligible to receive a liquor license. AMC still has to get approval for a liquor license at a future board meeting.
Currently AMC is the only movie theater in Mount Prospect.
The trustees approved the measure in a 4-3 vote with several board members voicing concerns about the potential for underage drinking.
"I've been opposed to this since day one… When you take alcohol and move it to a dark theater you're going to have problems," Village Trustee John Matuszak said.
"[Selling alcohol in a movie theater] simply allows and facilitates underage drinking and I won't vote for it."
Steven Polit, another trustee who voted against the ordinance, voiced concerns about minors being placed in an environment where alcohol is being consumed.
"My concern from the beginning has been the comingling of the person who has the alcohol and the person who can't get it because they're underage," Polit said.
Mount Prospect Mayor Irvana Wilks noted the liquor ordinance she and the board created for movie theaters was very strict. Movie theaters would be required to have an alcohol monitor present at all times liquor is being sold in the theater, something the village does not make its bars and restaurants to do.
Patrons who could purchase alcohol would have to wear wristbands and customers would only be able to purchase one drink at a time from a designated bar area somewhere in the theater lobby, Wilks said.
"Everything new is different and uncomfortable… but I kind of believe that we ought to give this [new ordinance] try," said Arlene Juracek, a trustee who voted to pass the ordinance.
Mount Prospect community members voiced little opposition for the measure.
"AMC has been an excellent village resident for years," Mount Prospect resident Mike Pretschold said.
"Please do not reject [AMC's] application for a liquor license. They are a good citizen and that will not change if they are granted a license to serve alcoholic beverages."