Naperville Liquor Commission Pushes for Special Event Permit Changes

Special Event Permit
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After alcohol violations last summer, the Naperville Liquor Commission is hoping to implement changes to its special event permit process.

Commissioners voted 7-0 Thursday to recommend to City Council a revised ordinance that could impose some new rules and regulations for third-party event promoters.

Revised Ordinance

It would require, among other things, BASSET training, a background check and fingerprinting, and having a letter of understanding which states that each person affiliated with the third-party event promoter has been advised and is familiar with the rules and regulations regarding the preparation, sale and delivery of alcohol.

Also under the revised ordinance, third-party event promoters would not be issued a license or a special event permit. Instead, they would come in under the guise of a charity or another licensee’s liquor license.

Special event applications may be rejected if the city finds an event organizer hasn’t completed BASSET training or hasn’t provided the city all the necessary information 14 days in advance.

What’s At Issue?

Commissioners had been looking at implementing a revised special event permit process for several months. Discussion on this topic was originally prompted by problems at the Naperville Music Festival, which leased the Naper Settlement property for an event in September 2021.

Commission Discussion

Mayor Steve Chirico supported the revised ordinance and what it aims to achieve. He said he believes the City Council would get behind it.

Commissioner Scott Wehrli took issue with the revised ordinance for not providing an avenue for the city to penalize third-party event promoters.

“The only license that we could really punish if they did something bad would be the licensee,” Wehrli said. “We would not be able to do anything to the promoter if the promoter created the problem. That’s my concern.”

But the mayor as liquor commissioner would have the authority to approve, deny or rescind a permit, impose restrictions or suggest that the applicant work with another third-party event promoter, said Senior Assistant City Attorney Jennifer Lutzke.

“He has a lot of discretion in deciding whether he wants to approve a liquor license application as long as there’s a good basis,” Lutzke said.

Moving Forward

The revised ordinance will now go to the City Council for further review at a later date.

Naperville News 17’s Megann Horstead reports.

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