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updated: 7/27/2011 5:09 AM

Aurora council tightens liquor license rules

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If a new liquor store or bar and grill wants to come into Aurora, its management will need to plan a trip to a city council meeting and prepare a business plan for council review.

Aurora City Council gained more control Tuesday night over future liquor license applicants through a resolution approved unanimously that sets the number of liquor licenses allowed at the current number of licenses held in each category.

So to award any additional liquor licenses, the council must approve an increase in the number of licenses allowed in that category, and approve the specific petitioner's request, said City Clerk Cheryl Vonhoff.

"Anytime a new business wants to come in for a liquor license, it'll be given to the council" for a vote, she said.

The change effectively gives the city council more control over liquor licenses by requiring each future applicant to undergo a more specific review process, Vonhoff said.

"The setting of allowable numbers at the current number will allow the city to carefully review the business plans of a potential liquor license applicant," Vonhoff wrote in a memo to the city council and Mayor Tom Weisner.

The change affects about half of Aurora's liquor license categories, including the licenses that regulate clubs or fraternal societies, restaurants, golf clubhouses, hotels and catering businesses, according to the memo.

In the past, Aurora set the allowable number higher than the number of licenses spoken for. The city code allowed, for example, 17 liquor licenses for taverns when 16 were taken, 20 for fraternal societies or clubs when 16 held licenses and 70 allowing restaurants to serve alcohol when 50 restaurants had permission to do so.

The allowable number for the other half of Aurora's liquor license categories -- including licenses for taverns, stores selling packaged liquor, theatrical facilities and riverboats -- already was set at the number of licenses currently held by businesses.

But the council already has moved to increase the number allowed in some of those categories to grant a certain business the permission to sell alcohol it requested, according to Vonhoff.