Community Votes to Lift Liquor Moratorium on California, Western
LOGAN SQUARE — A small group of neighbors voted unanimously Monday to support ending a tavern moratorium spanning parts of Western and California avenues, among other locations in the neighborhood.
A new tavern and two existing bars where the owners want to sell their businesses are asking for the change from Ald. Joe Moreno (1st.)
The meeting at Haas Park was hosted by the Greater Goethe Neighborhood Association. The group's president, Sally Hamann, said many aren't aware of the common, but little-known liquor moratoriums across the city.
Hamann said owners of the proposed Golden Teardrops, planned for 2101 N. California Ave., are seeking a liquor license. The owners currently operate the Logan Square restaurants Longman and Eagle, at 2657 N. Kedzie Ave., and Parson's Chicken and Fish, 2952 W. Armitage Ave.
At the Mutiny, 2428 N. Western Ave., and The Western Tap, 2044 N. Western Ave., the current owner wants to sell the businesses, Hamann said.
"We feel the moratoriums have been stifling the development of Logan Square," said Earle Johnson, owner of Quenchers, 2401 N. Western Ave., echoing sentiments from the bar owners proposing the lifting of the moratoriums.
The moratoriums are holdovers from a time when the streets were part of the 26th ward and crime was up, according to Johnson and Moreno. But now lifting the moratorium could be beneficial to the community, Moreno said.
"All three of these businesses have done exactly what they should do," Moreno told the group. "I really think these moratoriums were the right thing to do for our neighborhood in terms of its growth, but now that it's more contemporary, I would urge you to support these businesses."
A ban can be lifted permanently, or for one year, through an ordinance introduced by the alderman. Or an applicant can overturn a moratorium by obtaining the consent of 51 percent of the legal registered voters within 500 feet of the business.
Moratoriums cannot be lifted for a specific address but must be lifted for a minimum of two blocks up to the entire ward.
Ed Mroz, owner of The Mutiny, and Peter Toalson, owner of the proposed Golden Teardrops, said they're optimistic that the ban will be lifted.
After some discussion on the merits and pitfalls of liquor sales in the community, about eight residents voted to recommend that Moreno lift the moratorium for at least one year, limited to the blocks where the three bars are located.