Holly Richrath

The Germantown Hills Village Board held a special meeting Thursday to hear public input on the possibility of allowing beer gardens in the village.

While community members came out to support each side of the issue, the majority of the crowd was opposed.

“What is being contemplated is the ability of a Class B license holder or a Class C license holder to obtain a new license which would be for purposes of outdoor sales and consumption within a confined area,” said village attorney Richard Joseph.

Ken Hilst said his main concerns are noise and the impact on property values.

“We enjoy the peace and quiet,” he said. “My experience with beer gardens is there’s usually a louder crowd. They’re not usually there to eat. They’re there to drink and watch the football game or baseball game.”

Joseph said that the village’s noise ordinance has a definite standard, which is 44 decibels, as well as a reasonable standard, which would inevitably be determined by the court system.

Other residents said they choose to live in Germantown Hills because of its quiet, hometown atmosphere.

“It’s almost like it’s going from a family-oriented community to a beer-drinking community,” said Earl Cockrin.

Jeff Walker agreed.

“We moved here because of the school system and the family-oriented community,” he said. “We love it. I would hate to even fathom having to consider moving because of something like this,” he said.

Owners of Kouri’s, located at the intersection of Elizabeth Point Drive and Route 116, initiated the idea of an outdoor seating area.

“We are losing sales because people are leaving Germantown and they’re going to Peoria, they’re going to East Peoria,” said Kouri’s part-owner, Dan Kouri. “We’re trying to enhance our value as well.”

Anthony Willis, a 22-year-old resident of Germantown Hills, said he believes that a precedence of “hanging back” has been set in the community.   

“As a young person, I’m not going to stay here in town if this town can’t offer me something in way of more commerce,” Willis said.

“We’ve got to let businesses grow in this community,” Theresa Olsen said.

 The board will continue discussion on the topic, possibly as soon as its June 24 meeting.