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Village Council Amends Liquor Code


In 2013, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Chicago conducted a two-part Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) process, assessing the Village’s commercial health and creating a long-term commercial strategy.  The TAP process focused on the revitalization of Winnetka’s three commercial districts: Indian Hill, East/West Elm, and Hubbard Woods.  One of the main outcomes of the ULI study was identification of short, mid, and long-term recommendations for the Village to consider in sharpening its economic development focus. 

Last fall, the Village Council concluded that ULI’s recommendation to revisit Winnetka’s liquor licensing requirements was a high priority to implement in the short-term.  ULI’s final report stated, “Indeed, a key recommendation for Winnetka is changing the liquor licensing requirements.  As the shopper survey found, 75 percent of respondents wanted more family-friendly dining and pubs.  And 96 percent of the survey respondents were over age 35.  Like in Lake Bluff or Barrington, residents want a wider choice in restaurants.”

With policy input and direction from the Council, a number of Liquor Ordinance amendments were adopted at the April 1, 2014 meeting.  The goal of changes was to create process efficiencies and to provide more variety and flexibility to license holders. 

Some of the most substantive changes are the addition of license classifications and provisions for restaurants with and without a bar in servicing wine and beer.  In addition, the Village has revised the permission to serve liquor without a full meal—basing it on a two-serving per person limit rather than time / location.  Hours of service have been extended by one hour across the board, for both restaurant and sidewalk service.  To learn more, the full text of the Ordinance amendments are available on the Village’s website as part of the April 1 meeting packet and will also be updated in the Village’s Online Code.



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