Perhaps Trustee Tim Desmond best summarized the progress the Oak Lawn Village Board made Tuesday night during its first committee of the whole meeting.
“It seems like our committee of the whole is working already. We’re sharing ideas,” Desmond said during a discussion of the village’s jobs program, which he initiated after the election.
Trustees got through most of the committee agenda, but cut the session short to keep the subsequent village board meeting on schedule.
The COW meeting started with the establishment of some ground rules.
Trustees agreed that major initiatives proposed by department heads, committees or trustees should come before the committee for discussion before going to the village board. Conversely, normal business items—the approval of a stop sign, for example—should not be delayed at committee.
“I like the concept that we just deal with the bigger issues,” Trustee Terry Vorderer said.
Trustees, however, will not be prevented from raising an issue during the “new” or “old” business segments of the meeting.
“Everything should be open for discussion,” Vorderer said.
Trustee Mike Carberry said the committee meetings, which will be held at 6:15 p.m. before the second meeting of the month, also will help during the annual budget approval process.
Trustee Bob Streit, who recently raised concerns about the committee meetings not being televised, did not reintroduce the issue or comment on the structure of the meetings.
Video gaming and liquor licenses was the primary topic of discussion at the committee meeting, as trustees worked to gain greater control over the number of bars and restaurants that have the video poker and slot machines.
The concern was raised about one month ago when the board approved a liquor license for Big Pappa’s Gyros, 10806 S. Cicero Ave. The owner of the restaurant told the board that she sought the license in order to install video gaming machines.
A liquor license is required to install the machines, and many businesses see gaming as a means to generate additional revenue. Businesses receive 35 percent of monthly receipts from the machines.
“The question is, ‘How do you regulate video gaming?’” village attorney Pat Connelly said.
One way, Connolly said, would be the institution of two types of liquor licenses: one that permits video gaming and one that does not. That structure would allow trustees to grant a liquor license without automatically giving the recipient approval to install gaming machines.
Trustees agreed to consider that idea further at a future meeting.
Bury said she favored the proposal.
“I thought we couldn’t control or limit it in any way,” Bury said.
Connolly said a business license tax assessed on establishments featuring video gaming is another way to control it as is an ordinance that would regulate the distance between establishments with gaming.
Cooper’s Hawk coming
Bury promised a “wonderful” announcement for the village when she spoke to a local League of Women’s Voters group on Saturday and on Tuesday, the board approved to restructure its liquor code to allow Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant to move into the Stoney Creek Prominade development at Civero Avenue and 111th Street.
The restaurant has locations in seven states. In Illinois, it is located in Orland Park, Burr Ridge, Arlington Heights, Naperville, South Barrington and Wheeling. There is one planned to open in Springfield by the end of the year.