Naperville considering 8 new rules to limit bar and alcohol problems

Naperville may just be a victim of its own success: the city is looking at 8 possible regulations intended to limit problems related to bars and alcohol.

“I don’t think anybody here could deny this is detracting from the Naperville brand,” council member Robert Fieseler said about “the whole rowdiness thing.” “We can do something about that.”

Drawing from a liquor service best practices manual developed a year ago and recommendations the liquor commission made last week, the council asked for documents to be drawn that would restrict drink sizes, limit discounts on drinks, regulate shot sales, require additional training for security and prohibit entry to bars within one hour of closing time.

The council also asked staff members to research ID scanning technology with a goal of requiring bars to install it by May 1, 2015; to prepare a list of police statistics that should be analyzed as part of a review of night life activity; and to create a plan to train security personnel at bars in conjunction with the training program the police department already mandates for servers…

The eight regulations the council supported Tuesday do not include reductions in bar hours, which drew opposition from bar owners and the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce.

An interesting set of regulations ranging from more education for bar owners and workers to limiting the size of beers from a maximum of 24 ounces to 20 ounces.

This could be viewed from multiple perspectives. One is a concern with safety. There have been some violent acts, public drunkenness, and a recent car crash that killed two young adults. But, I think the more important perspective – which doesn’t preclude the importance of safety – is the image of Naperville. Few communities, particularly well-off suburbs, want to be known for incidents related to bars, alcohol, and related violence. This is the same reason many communities prohibit tattoo parlors in their zoning laws: the image of such places do not lend themselves to a family-friendly atmosphere. Could such incidents in downtown Naperville stop people from moving to the suburb or hinder them from spending their money in the downtown? Even if the answer is no, this is the sort of risk a suburb like Naperville does not want to take.

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