The City Council Committee on License and Consumer Protection delayed two votes that had been scheduled for Thursday, including one on a controversial proposal to legalize car booting citywide.
Almost immediately after the committee’s Thursday meeting began, chair Ald. Emma Mitts (37) announced that a proposal (O2022-1217) from Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30) to expand the legalization of car booting to the entire city would be held in committee. Reboyras appeared on screen alongside Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29) and did not question Mitts’ decision to hold the measure.
Car booting is currently only legal in about two-thirds of the city’s 50 wards. Reboyras said he introduced the measure to expand the practice at the direct request of alderman-turned-lobbyist Joe Moore.
Ald. Daniel La Spata (1) has led a charge against booting and has said he plans to work to defeat Reboyras’ ordinance. Nearly a dozen aldermen joined La Spata in his attempt to keep the ordinance stuffed in the City Council’s rules committee last month.
Tobacco license moratoria
Separately on Thursday, Mitts held in committee a proposal (O2022-1756) from Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41) that would allow aldermen to set local moratoria on the issuance of retail tobacco dealer licenses, similar to the way the City Council can set and repeal local moratoria on liquor licenses in specific areas.
Napolitano explained that his proposal would allow aldermen to look at where in their communities “you have too much tobacco or you have too much vaping sold, and you can place a moratorium [in those areas].”
“This gives you the ability to advocate for your community when you have five or six vape shops or tobacco shops opening up on one business corridor,” Napolitano added.
Mitts said she held the proposal because she would like to include in the discussion representatives from the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection to “work along with partners as we look to see what they have already on the books and how they can implement and enforce this ordinance at the same time.”
Napolitano agreed with Mitts on holding the measure for a better discussion.
Responding to a question from Ald. Jason Ervin (28), Napolitano said his proposal would not apply to cannabis licenses.
Downtown liquor licensing
Members of the committee on Thursday also approved a proposal (O2022-1628) by Ald. Brendan Reilly (42) to allow bars and restaurants with patios to serve alcohol until midnight in the city’s central business district.
Reilly described his proposal to extend the operating hours as an “annual exercise” and noted the extra time for restaurants to operate is “incredibly valuable” following the pandemic.
“We have not received an overwhelming number of complaints about the program, and therefore we are introducing our annual ordinance to extend these hours for the remainder of the season,” Reilly said.
Reilly’s proposal (O2022-1627) to replace two existing liquor licenses on Navy Pier that were “absorbed” by the pier’s hotel when it opened also gained unanimous approval.
“Navy Pier had asked for an additional two [licenses] to replace those, and those would be for restaurant operations,” Reilly said. “Certainly it seems appropriate — there’s not a high density of these on the pier, they’re well spread out.”