With the lawsuit against the Village of Oak Park for its ban on 24-hour gas stations was recently dismissed, some stations have tried their luck selling gas outside of the mandated hours of operation. Two different gas stations have been issued citations for violating the ordinance and ordered to pay fines. 

Oak Park gas stations and convenience stores can only operate between the hours of 5 a.m. and 12 a.m. daily, according to the ordinance, which the village board passed in September.

The first violation occurred Feb. 2 at the BP station at 7140 Roosevelt Rd, when an Oak Park officer observed a female driver pumping gas at 4:39 a.m. The driver confirmed to the officer gas was flowing through the pump, according to the police report, which stated the gas station’s lights were off at the time. Her fuel receipt total, $32.38, was also included in the report. The station was given a fine of $100 for selling gasoline outside the legal hours.

The BP station at 520 S. Austin Blvd. was caught selling gas at 12:46 a.m., March 26, just five days after a Cook County Court Circuit judge dismissed the lawsuit against the ban filed by Oak Park gas stations. An administrative law judge ordered the station to pay a $150 fine.

The citation was issued by a police officer who had been conducting a premise check at the time of the violation. The officer saw a man pumping gas into a red Pontiac Grand Am for a total of $10.02. The man confirmed the pump was dispensing fuel. A neon “OPEN” sign was turned on inside the station, despite the doors being locked and lights turned off, according to the report.

The village began enforcing the ban in November, after the rescindment of a temporary restraining order filed by attorneys representing seven Oak Park gas stations. The order was rescinded by the same judge who dismissed the lawsuit against the village, refuting arguments the ban was unconstitutional, as well as a violation of property rights and the Contract Clause in the U.S. Constitution. No appeal was filed.

Generally, the gas stations have been compliant, according to Police Chief Shatonya Johnson, who said police officers regularly patrol the stations throughout overnight shifts. Violations of the ban result in a fine of no less than $20 but no more than $750 per offence. Each day a violation occurs is a separate offense.

“Administrative law judges hearing such cases through the village’s administrative adjudication system have the discretion to issue higher fines for repeat offenders,” said Paul Stephanides, Oak Park village attorney.

Regardless of how many times repeat offenders are caught violating the ordinance, the fine cannot exceed the $750 limit.

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