Bill Loutos, Owner of Al's Grill | Provided

After controversy erupted surrounding the installation of a permanent fence without a permit around the outdoor dining area at Al’s Grill, 1100 Madison St., Bill Loutos, owner of Al’s Grill,  met village officials including Tammie Grossman, director of community and economic development at village hall, Sept. 23. The parties discussed concerns about the fence installation and the request that owners disassemble the restaurant’s outdoor dining area housed in the restaurant’s  parking lot by Oct. 31.

According to both parties the meeting went “as well as could be expected.”

Loutos agreed to submit a variance application requesting a reduction in the number of required parking spaces at Al’s Grill. The application must be submitted on or before Oct. 31 in order to be considered by the Zoning Board of Appeals. If the application is submitted to Craig Failor, village planner, on this timeline the village will extend the temporary permit granted to Al’s Grill for their outdoor dining space until the board of appeals meets to act on the petition for a zoning variance.  If the petition is approved Al’s will be able to keep their outdoor dining area intact. Grossman indicated previously the Zoning Board of Appeals holds a “historically high bar” when it comes to granting approvals.

This appeal process was outlined in a letter sent to Al’s Grill dated Sept. 27 and signed by Grossman. The same letter went on to detail village expectations regarding the non-permitted fence installation. Loutos is expected to share the name of the company which installed the fence with Steve Cutaia, the village’s chief building official. Cutaia will reach out to the company to educate them on the permitting process and to discuss the fines associated with the non-permitted installation. Adjustments may need to be made to the fence to bring it up to code and ensure it is compliance with all Americans with Disabilities Act laws.

Pete Mourtokokis, Al’s Grill manager, said they are “in the process of looking for a lawyer to help them through the zoning variance application process” and acknowledged they will likely have to pay a fine related to the fence installation.

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