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St. Charles officials vote to remove liquor license rule requiring food sales

City council votes 6-4 in favor of Tuesday’s proposal, despite standing-room only attendance in opposition
Main Street in St. Charles
Main Street in St. Charles
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 10:58 PM CDT
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ST CHARLES (KMOV) - The fight over how to handle crowds of people on Historic Main Street in St. Charles comes down to a vote, Tuesday night.

At the center of the debate brewing in St. Charles City is liquor licenses tied to food sales.

The 50/50 rule requires half the money establishments make come from food sales in order to keep their liquor license. The city council voted in favor of removing the rule 6-4, Tuesday. That decision followed more than two hours of public comment, most if not all, against removing the ordnance.

“Our city lacks care, and maintenance, there is a lot of crime. it is getting out of control,” St. Charles resident Andrea Ledbetter said.

“There’s been some serious crime and it makes me feel I’m not safe to be down there, especially at night,” employee Diane Owens added.

The 50/50 ordinance was on the books for more than 50 years.

Main Street restaurant owner Tony Bethman calls the back and forth a waste of time and points to another issue.

“We need a noise control ordinance down here. it is way too loud on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night,” Bethman explained. “Whether someone sells x number of burgers or y number of hotdogs isn’t going to change anything.”

Bethman said he’s all for more competition, but he doesn’t want relaxed laws to allow for more bad behavior.

“The issues have gone from this much to this much now and with those establishments gone, we are glad they are gone and we don’t want them coming back,” Bethman said.

Mayor Dan Borgmeyer said the move is all about getting new business into vacant spaces.

“We have a lot of businesses, restaurants that want to come here and say, ‘Hey until you guys get your act together on this percentage thing, if all of a sudden there is an uprising, are you going to raise it to 80%,” Borgmeyer shared.

Bethman criticizes the mayor and the city for not working with businesses on what he calls real solutions, like enforcing regulations already on the books. That’s something the mayor, doesn’t deny.

“Right now if they don’t meet the 50% food requirement, we don’t do anything about it anyway. It just gets postponed and postponed and kicked down the road,” Borgmeyer said. “It’s time to stop kicking it down the road.”

Some residents and business owners raised concerns about a discussed need for more policing on Main Street.

News 4 asked St. Charles Police Chief Ray Juengst about policing Main Street at night.

He said it takes planning but putting officers on that strip isn’t a problem for his department.

News 4 also asked Mayor Borgmeyer about the noise complaints. He said maybe one or two businesses operate as a nightclub making that noise.

He does say the complaints are valid and the city’s noise ordinance will be on next month’s council agenda.