Lake Zurich village board members this week retreated from the police chief's recommendation to create a catering business liquor license that would have cost $1,000 annually.
Officials took their stance after hearing from business owner Kathy Pedersen at their meeting. Last year, Pedersen expanded her On Occasion Catering and Events and moved it from Palatine to Telser Road in Lake Zurich.
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Trustee Jonathan Sprawka said Lake Zurich government should stick to its "mantra" of being more friendly toward businesses and go along with Pedersen's suggestion to price the catering license at $100 annually, based on what other nearby towns charge.
The board is expected to vote on that proposal and other possible amendments to the village's liquor control ordinance Sept. 16.
"I think it's wise that we have it at the lower ($100) level," Sprawka said. "It's not like we're giving something away."
Police Chief Patrick Finlon said he recommended creation of the off-site catering liquor license classification with the $1,000 annual fee to be in the area of what's charged to bars and restaurants that sell only beer and wine. He said a $1,500 license must be purchased annually by supermarkets holding alcohol tastings. But Pedersen said a catering business can't be compared to bars or restaurants. She said catering clients often try to keep down costs by buying their own alcohol.
"If you go into a restaurant or you go into a banquet hall, you're pretty much a captive audience," Pedersen said. "You're drinking their liquor or you're not drinking any liquor."
She estimated she wouldn't sell more than $1,200 in alcohol annually to Lake Zurich clients, meaning she'd take a loss by purchasing a village license after factoring in $300 to $400 in liquor costs.
Pedersen told Lake Zurich officials that Barrington and some other villages charge $100 yearly for a catering liquor license. Mayor Thomas Poynton said he agreed that Lake Zurich's proposed $1,000 fee seemed steep.
"She makes perfectly logical logic to me," Poynton said.
Trustee Jeff Halen said he was concerned about negotiating Lake Zurich's liquor license fees based on what other towns charge.
Pedersen operated in Palatine for about seven years before moving to an industrial park in Lake Zurich due to annual growth. She's been called on to bake pies for the upscale Stadium Club at U.S. Cellular Field.