Kinderhook TapFile/2010

The Village of Oak Park is curious about whether its liquor restrictions are a little too tight and will ask residents for their input later this month.

Officials say entrepreneurs have expressed interest in opening a brew pub here, and some village trustees have asked whether bars or liquor stores could have a place in Oak Park. None of those businesses are currently allowed, so the community is trying to determine whether those rules should be loosened.

The village board first asked staff to look closer at local liquor laws last summer. In August, Oak Park invited local restaurant owners to give their thoughts on the current climate.

From that sparsely attended hearing last year, the village fashioned a couple of changes to the rules, while keeping most things the same. Changes include allowing more than one packaged liquor license per business district (outside of downtown Oak Park) and allowing people to have a beverage in outdoor dining areas without buying food.

Restaurant owners urged the village to keep the hours for serving alcohol the same, and to continue prohibiting stand-alone bars.

“At this point, we didn’t see a real strong push from the restaurant community, saying we should also open bars in Oak Park,” said Village Clerk Teresa Powell.

The hearing is scheduled for April 26, 7:30 p.m., at village hall, 123 Madison. Residents can also submit written comments on the proposed changes to clerk@oak-park.us by May 15. Powell expects the village board to take a look at the new rules in July or June, and changes could be in place by August.

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