Oak Park is inviting local restaurant owners to a hearing next week as local officials decide whether the village should relax its liquor laws.

The village clerk’s office asked restaurant owners with liquor licenses to come to an Aug. 24 hearing. The Liquor Control Review Board wants to hear from restaurateurs and find out if they are satisfied with the status quo or would like to see liquor regulations changed.

The hearing comes after the village board asked the review board in June to amend its work plan for this year to see if liquor laws need any tinkering.

“We figured the best place to start would be with the current license owners, to see if they had any thoughts, comments, suggestions, additions or deletions,” said Jerry Ostergaard, chairman of the review board. “We’re just curious about their thoughts on the current state of the liquor code.”

In the July 13 mailing, Ostergaard asked restaurant owners their thoughts on the village’s liquor license fees, currently allowed hours for liquor sales and how important liquor is to each establishment. He stressed that nothing has been proposed yet, and the review board is just starting the “fact-gathering” process.

The hearing is set for Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. in council chambers at village hall, 123 Madison. The commission has been asked to send recommendations to the village board by October. Ostergaard anticipates that the review board will hold another hearing for the general public in a couple of months.

“We’re curious to see how the public feels, too, and if they feel there’s enough liquor in Oak Park, or if there should be more or less,” Ostergaard said.

-Marty Stempniak

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