WRIGLEYVILLE — A revamped proposal for the Wrigley Field plaza would limit special events and game day use, but allow drinking during Chicago Cubs games.
The changes come after team owners broke the plaza ordinance stalemate last week, filing for a city patio liquor license. During the Triangle Neighbors meeting Wednesday, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) accused the Cubs of trying to "circumvent" the ordinance process and stifle community input.
"That's not a healthy relationship," Tunney told Cubs representatives. "You need to be a good neighbor, and you've not proven to be a good neighbor over the last year."
Tunney blasted the club for its handling of noise issues and its new sound system last year and for surprising community members by filing for the liquor license instead of waiting for the City Council to finalize the rules for the patio.
The Wrigley Field plaza should be ready in the fall, with the office building opening in January. [Provided/Chicago Cubs]
"These people have a larger percentage of their lives invested in this neighborhood than maybe [the Cubs owners] have at their corner," Tunney said. "I'm here for the little guy."
Neighbors agreed, expressing complete "surprise" the Cubs were moving forward after last meeting with the ordinance committee six weeks ago.
Tunney presented revisions to his proposed plaza ordinance Wednesday. The new proposal extends plaza hours to 10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays and 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays — a compromise that falls between what Tunney and the Cubs have sought previously.
Unlike the proposed patio liquor license, the ordinance would only allow for beer and wine to be sold.
Tunney wants to limit the plaza to eight special events annually for the first two years, although a single event could last for up to 15 days. Like his January version, Tunney's latest proposal still requires the Cubs to have a separate "public place of amusement" license for events.
Special events would include any nonbaseball activities or concert with more than 1,000 people in attendance, beer and wine service throughout the plaza and noise levels exceeding city limits.
That typically would not include smaller-scale events like the ice rink, family movie nights and farmers markets, which would only have alcohol sold inside the plaza restaurants and their patios — not on the plaza itself.
Alcohol could be sold on the plaza starting two hours before Cubs games or concerts and through the seventh-inning stretch or one hour before the end of a concert.
Only those with tickets to games or shows would be allowed on the plaza, which would close 45 minutes after concerts and night games.
Tunney also wants to prohibit Wrigley Field concerts on weeknights during the school year from Labor Day through June 15.
The half-finished Wrigley Field plaza on Opening Day 2016. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]
While Tunney lashed out at the Cubs on Wednesday, officials pointed out that plaza operations fall under Hickory Street Capital, a separate company owned by the Ricketts family.
Other than that, Mike Lufrano, Cubs vice president of community affairs, kept mostly silent. He did say the team still wants to work out a solution with neighbors.
"I don't think I want to get into this debate tonight," he told neighbors Wednesday. "The draft invites dialog, and I think we should have that dialog. We're willing to talk."
The Cubs and Wrigley Field are 95 percent owned by a trust established for the benefit of the family of Joe Ricketts, owner and CEO of DNAinfo.com. Joe Ricketts has no direct involvement in the management of the iconic team.
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