Thursday, December 1, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
At a Nov. 30 Legal, License, Ordinance and Committee (LLOC) meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees voted 5-2 to consider prohibiting the issuance of any new Class M (Video Gaming Cafe/Bistro) liquor licenses at its next regular board meeting later this month.
The move comes in the wake of the Nov. 8 election, during which Maywood residents voted 56 percent to 44 percent in favor of the prohibition. The referendum question was non-binding, which meant that village officials aren’t required by law to follow the public’s lead on the issue.
After the election, however, numerous trustees argued that, although the referendum is non-binding, the board should still follow the will of the voters and pass an ordinance prohibiting the issuance of the licenses.
“Seeing how it did go to the public and, from an advisory standpoint, there was [roughly 56 percent of voters] that indicated they would like to see this pursued, I think it’s advisable to follow that lead,” said Trustee Michael Rogers, who introduced the motion that the board formally vote on the prohibition of Class M licenses at the next board meeting.
In March, the board voted 5-2 in favor of issuing a Class M liquor license to Lacey’s Place, a video gaming establishment seeking to move to 611 W. Roosevelt Rd., on condition that the establishment meets minimum requirements, such as securing a lease, pulling a permit and building out the space.
The decision prompted outrage among some residents, who don’t want the vide gaming establishments in Maywood. In June, a group of residents created an online petition expressing their opposition to video gaming that garnered more than 100 signatures. In July, the board voted 4-2 to put the issue on the ballot as an advisory referendum.
So far, Lacey’s Place, which hasn’t opened yet, is the only establishment in the village that’s been granted a Class M license.
If the board formally votes to adopt an ordinance enacting the prohibition at the regular board meeting in December, no new businesses would be allowed to apply for Class M liquor licenses.
“The ordinance complies with a recommendation of the advisory referendum,” said attorney Michael Jurusik at the Nov. 30 meeting. “This ordinance will put a prohibition ban on new licenses, it would recognize the one license issued to Lacey’s Place moving forward; but that license would be subject to renewal, and [would need to comply] with the normal liquor code and with other village code requirements.”
Jurusik said that if the board passes the ban, the issue could still be revisited in the future and, theoretically, the ban could be reversed.
Mayor Edwenna Perkins said that the American Legion, 1219 Madison St., was considering applying for a Class M liquor license in order to install video gaming machines in its facility.
If the board prohibits the issuance of Class M licenses, however, the Legion would not have that option.
“You will knock them out of getting an opportunity [to get the Class M license],” said Perkins, adding that the Legion, after undergoing a change in leadership, had been hoping to realize some additional revenue with gaming machines.
Trustee Henderson Yarbrough, who said he’s a member of the Legion, added that he was told by the organization’s leadership at one time that it wasn’t prepared to apply for the Class M license; however, since that time, the leadership had changed and “now they’re interested.”
“I was interested in seeing them make an application and maybe get a license to operate,” Yarbrough said. “I would not want to stand in the way of that. That’s why I [asked] the attorney if this could be revisited after it passed.”
Trustee Isiah Brandon suggested that Jurusik research what options the Legion has for securing the ability to install video gaming machines in its facility, but Rogers insisted that to do so would be to confuse the issue.
“The motion was specific to Class M licenses, which is what was on the referendum,” said Rogers. “I’m not backing off of that.”
Perkins and Yarbrough voted against the motion. Rogers, Dorris, Rivers and Lightford voted in favor of the motion. Brandon, who was silent during the voice vote, effectively abstained. VFP
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