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Article updated: 2/4/2014 12:33 AM

St. Charles already considering change to new liquor laws

City council may approve ‘special occasion’ permits for later close time

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St. Charles aldermen may add some exceptions to the new liquor license rules they just approved last month.

On special occasions, taverns with early closing times may be able to stay open until 2 a.m. But it's going to cost them.

Mayor Ray Rogina, who is also the city's chief liquor commissioner, proposed the amendment Monday night.

The idea is to accommodate the rare late-night occasion an establishment that normally closes at midnight or 2 a.m. wouldn't otherwise be able to host.

"That could be a birthday party or whatever the case may be," Rogina told aldermen.

"My policy, though, would be to still encourage 1 a.m. closings rather than say, 'Oh, heck, let me just apply for the 2 a.m.,'" Rogina said.

Rogina was the leading voice for raising the price of a liquor license associated with a 2 a.m. closing time. He campaigned for mayor on the platform that the later closing time should be a privilege for establishments that can self-police.

As such, Rogina fueled a unanimous vote to change the liquor license laws last month to make it easier to revoke 2 a.m. closing times from problematic taverns.

Rogina said the "special occasion" closing times are an effort to "act reasonably as a liquor commissioner."

Liquor licensees would be able to apply for up to four special event permits per year.

Each permit will cost $100.

The special event must include serving food.

Aldermen indicated they would be open to raising the number of special event permits, but four will be the starting point.

Every permit application would be subject to approval by the city council.

The process would require 45 days of advance notice.

A formal proposal will come to alderman for a vote on Feb. 18.

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