City Council: Liquor sale hours debated

Sam Malone

DeKALB — City council denied an amendment to an ordinance Monday that would have extended the legal hours of alcohol sales for grocery stores in the DeKalb county area.

City Attorney Dean Frieders introduced the motion to amend ordinance 2017-040 and said local grocery stores requested the issue be brought up again after the amendment failed to pass in a previous council meeting. If passed, the amendment would have added an extra hour to the legal time allowed for grocery stores in the area to sell alcohol — something they claimed would aid in their business.

“Several months ago, the city council considered these requests, which came from one of our local grocery stores,” Frieders said. “They advised that because the hours for the sales of alcohol are more strict for grocery stores in DeKalb versus grocery stores in Sycamore, they have customers who travel to Sycamore to make late night runs in lieu of coming to DeKalb and making purchases in DeKalb.”

Fifth ward alderperson Kate Noreiko spoke in favor of passing the amendment and said one of the local grocery stores in her ward could potentially benefit from the extended hours. She said she viewed the amendment as a way of leveling the playing field for small businesses in DeKalb.

“I’m faced with the difficulty of the decision because one of the grocery stores is in my ward,” Noreiko said. “I was approaching [the amendment] from the perspective of leveling the playing field with our neighboring town which certainly has a large grocery store which does attract customers.”

Noreiko was alone in her opinion, however, and was the only alderperson to vote in favor of the amendment. First ward alderperson David Jacobson, who voted against the amendment, said he did not see the purpose of extending legal hours of alcohol sales.

“In terms of the belief that there’s someone saying ‘I need liquor at 1 o’clock in the morning [and] I’m going to go out and do my grocery shopping now,’ I think that’s a fallacy,” Jacobson said. “The grocery stores already have a competitive advantage that it’s not the only product they sell.”

Second ward alderperson Bill Finucane and third ward alderperson Michael Marquardt said similar things about the amendment before also voting no. Failing to be passed yet again, the legal hours for alcohol sales by grocery stores in DeKalb will continue as it is: from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.