Downtown Elgin venue gets OK after residents finally get chance to speak

  • The owners of Legit Dogs and Ice, Matthew Habib and Jen Polit, celebrated receiving preliminary approval last week to host concerts at their venue in the basement of 51 S. Grove Ave. in downtown Elgin.

      The owners of Legit Dogs and Ice, Matthew Habib and Jen Polit, celebrated receiving preliminary approval last week to host concerts at their venue in the basement of 51 S. Grove Ave. in downtown Elgin. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Legit Dogs and Ice in downtown Elgin received final approval Wednesday to host concerts after opponents got a chance to air their views to the city council.

      Legit Dogs and Ice in downtown Elgin received final approval Wednesday to host concerts after opponents got a chance to air their views to the city council. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 3/7/2019 4:26 PM

Legit Dogs and Ice in downtown Elgin received final approval Wednesday to host concerts, after opponents got a chance to air their views to the city council.

The city agreed to allow the venue owned by Matthew Habib to host a maximum of eight events per month, two "headline" and six small ones. Most concerts would end by midnight except for holiday events, such as New Year's Eve. The city is requiring an employee be positioned at the exterior door when events with more than 200 people end after 10 p.m.

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That final approval was delayed because residents who live across the street from the venue at 51 S. Grove Ave. didn't speak at the council meeting last week due to a snafu regarding the sign-in sheet for public comment.

On Wednesday, Larry and Lori Anderson told the council their bedroom in the Fountain Square on the River building overlooks Grove Avenue. Even if sound tests showed no music from Legit Dogs and Ice could be heard from outside, the Andersons said, they are most concerned about noise and disturbances from people congregating outside after events. Police have responded to fights outside the building, including one when a bullet lodged into the Fountain Square building, stemming from patrons of previous bars.

"Living downtown should not require us to accept that," Larry Anderson said.

Councilman Terry Gavin said the council is "keenly aware" of problems stemming from prior establishments, which council members discussed with Habib during a liquor control commission meeting in January.

"We will be very proactive," Gavin said. "If we start getting complaints like before, we are going to do something."

"We are trying to make that building successful and make it a positive for the community -- and I think it will be."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

David Multack, vice president of Braeside Condominium Management, said fewer Fountain Square residents showed up Wednesday because they were "discouraged" after the council gave a preliminary OK last week.

"Our board, and most of the building's residents, want a vibrant downtown area with a good balance of business activity, but not at the expense of degrading their housing investment or quiet enjoyment of their home," Multack wrote in a letter to the council.

Habib hosted concerts without approval in 2018, which Anderson said gave him "little confidence" Habib would follow the rules now. Habib said he didn't realize he didn't have the proper occupancy permit. The city received no complaints about the concerts.

"We've already had eight or nine shows and we kept it under control. We never had a problem," he said.

Legit Dogs and Ice will host karaoke every Wednesday, a concert by 88 Fingers Louie on March 16, standup comedy starting April 5, a "blues and barbecue" show April 13, and The Queers on April 13.

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