Germantown Hills board talks about outdoor liquor consumption

Holly Richrath

A committee to review concepts for outdoor liquor consumption in the Village of Germantown Hills was formed at the May 13 meeting of the Village Board.

“At the last meeting the board asked that we put together a list of concepts for an outdoor legal consumption permit,” said board attorney Richard Joseph.

Beer gardens began popping up all over the state when Illinois outlawed smoking in enclosed public areas in 2008.

Germantown Hills establishments have yet to add beer gardens, which would provide patrons with a legal place to have a smoke, as long as certain guidelines are followed.

Height requirements for the walls of the smoking areas is an issue that will be addressed by the committee.

“One of the things we are going to have a problem with and we need to talk about quite diligently is noise ordinances and lights,” said Trustee Clark Hopkins.

“With an 8-foot fence you’re not going to cut it out, but you are going to start minimizing. When you start taking the height of that fence down, you’re going to have more complaints about noise and lights.”

Trustee John Ford said he does not think an 8-foot height requirement is necessary.

Hopkins added that the noise in the village is certainly an issue.

“I have not lived in a community that so resonates with noise, especially on a calm, quiet night,” he said.

The committee will also need to address adding a permanent structure to buildings that are leased as opposed to owned by the business owner. The Germantown Grille’s owner leases the property, while the owner of Kouri’s Grille and Bar owns the building from which the business is run.

“(Kouri’s) can put a permanent structure up there and not have to worry about it,” Ford said. “It’s two different locations; it’s two different situations.”

“We have to write the ordinance in a manner that’s covering all different aspects,” Hopkins said.

Mayor Kenny Mitchell said it is important that “all are treated the same and have the same opportunities.”

He added that time is of the essence since the warmer months when business owners would most profit from an outdoor smoking area are upon us.

“I think we can do this in one meeting,” Mitchell said.

The next meeting of the Germantown Hills Village Board is 7 p.m. May 27.