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Article updated: 9/18/2013 4:35 PM

Lake Zurich tweaks liquor code in case video gambling OK'd

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Lake Zurich's amended liquor code includes a license classification for establishments with video gambling machines if they are ever allowed by the village board, a decision that drew some concern at a meeting this week.

Mayor Thomas Poynton stressed the village acted only to have a specific liquor license associated with video gambling in bars and restaurants if current or future elected officials decide to repeal a ban on the devices.

Among the speakers during public comment time at Monday's meeting was activist Elise Bouc, who spoke against video gaming when the Lake Zurich village board voted to keep a ban in place in September 2012. As part of her position, she's cited a female friend whose husband was a gambler and lost everything.

"That (liquor license) seems to be opening the door to something that would harm our community and our families," Bouc said.

However, Hawthorn Woods resident Fred Thompson countered "let the adult make the choice" when it comes to gambling machines. Thompson attended the meeting in his capacity as co-owner of Copper Fiddle Distillery, planned for Route 22 just east of Rand Road in Lake Zurich.

Village trustees voted 5-1 in favor of the video gaming liquor license. Dissenting Trustee Dana Rzeznik had asked to postpone the vote.

Trustees also approved the creation of liquor license classifications for craft distilleries and off-site catering.

In the case of Copper Fiddle, officials said, the Lake Zurich license will allow the business to obtain a necessary Illinois craft distillery permit. Copper Fiddle also has had to navigate the federal permitting process for a distilled spirits plant for beverages.

Lake Zurich's new off-site catering license will cost $100 annually. Police Chief Patrick Finlon originally recommended a $1,000 fee, but village board members agreed with On Occasion Catering owner Kathy Pedersen's suggestion for the $100 price, in part, to be in line with other suburbs.

To support her argument against the $1,000 fee, Pedersen told village officials she wouldn't sell more than $1,200 in alcohol annually to Lake Zurich clients. She said that would have meant she'd take a loss by purchasing a village license after factoring in $300 to $400 in liquor costs.

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