In the wake of the tragic shooting of Jailyn Logan-Bledsoe at a Chicago Avenue BP station, I am glad village staff is examining all 24-hour gas stations in Oak Park and plans to bring its assessment to the village board. But I hope the assessment expands to include all 24/7 business operations in the village.
Every police officer I know tells me that these businesses generally are magnets for trouble. This includes convenience stores. I recognize that some 24/7 businesses — such as pharmacies — really do need to operate 24/7. But unless this is the case, let’s limit closing times, perhaps to 11 p.m. — as the Chicago Avenue BP gas station is doing voluntarily.
I also hope staff and the board will consider enacting a public nuisance ordinance like Arlington Heights, Hoffman Estates, and Schaumburg have done. In Arlington Heights: “… If the hotel or motel is cited for three or more nuisance incidents in a 180-day period or five or more documented alleged nuisance incidents during a 60-day period, it will be declared a nuisance, according to the ordinance. Operators could face fines up to $750 per incident, pay reimbursement to the village, be required to install new security measures, and could even face temporary closure or have their business license revoked …” Chicago Tribune, July 1, 2022. https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/arlington-heights/ct-ahp-hotel-nuisance-ordinance-tl-0630-20220628-qe3rfvcka5f25dfdbmqapwo34i-story.html
I would like to see an Oak Park ordinance that applies to any business cited for a certain number of incidents in a given period. This would provide the village with a clear legal basis to take action against nuisance businesses, some of which are not even licensed to conduct the problem activity (including banquet halls).
Fear of litigation should not stop village government from taking necessary steps to make us safer and less disturbed by problem businesses.