YORKVILLE – Talks about allowing a banquet center to set up shop in a dry Kendall County township will continue after a meeting last week.
The Kendall County Board’s planning, building and zoning committee voted during their Tuesday, July 30, meeting to send the proposal for a banquet center special-use permit in Fox Township back to the board’s Committee of the Whole.
According to county documents, petitioner JoAnn Bright-Theis wants to operate a banquet center at 10978 Crimmin Road in Fox Township, which does not permit the sale and purchasing of alcohol. The proposal was sent back to the planning, building and zoning committee during the county’s July 11 Committee of the Whole meeting because of concerns related to Fox Township’s dry regulations, which the petitioner agreed to, county documents said.
Matt Prochaska, who chairs the planning, building and zoning committee, said the two biggest points of contention that have been raised for the proposed special-use permit involved the forest preserve district having trespassing issues with the petitioner in the past, and Fox Township raising objections about the special-use proposal.
Fox Township Supervisor Jeff Spang said the township has been a dry one, meaning no alcohol is to be sold or served within the township, since 1939. He said there are some exceptions to the rule, including it not applying to religious services or for pharmaceutical use.
“It also doesn’t infringe upon an individual’s right on their own home to privately partake,” Spang said. “It’s only in business ventures and public venues that it is not permitted.”
Along with no selling and serving of alcohol at the venue, the township previously requested several other provisions in response to the proposal, according to county documents. Those include capping off sound limits to 65 dBA from the property line, a maximum of 30 events a year between April 1 and Nov. 1 and having the approval be contingent on a completed traffic study, with the petitioner paying for any necessary construction caused by increased traffic on Crimmin Road.
“Please keep our 1,675 residents in mind as you decide on this difficult situation,” Spang told the committee during the meeting.
Boyd Ingemunson, the lawyer for Bright-Theis, said it is not illegal for anyone renting that venue to buy alcohol in a different township and have a server serve the alcohol for a private event. He said the township is now trying to make public consumption or alcohol possession illegal and, in his opinion, it would be illegal for the township to do so.
“It’s fair for my client to be concerned that the township is now going to start instituting other regulations for this type of business,” Ingemunson said.
Ingemunson also said it would be absurd to require the petitioner to pay for their use of the nearby roadway. With current counts showing 4,200 cars driving on Crimmin Road a week, he said, he expects the special-use permit only contributing an additional 200 cars a week.
“It’s still a very, very small percentage of the overall use of that roadway,” Ingemunson said.
Prochaska said more controversial topics are traditionally talked through at the county’s Committee of the Whole meeting to provide more laid-back debate for those kinds of issues. Although special-use permits are approved or denied by the County Board, regardless of various committees’ recommendations, he said, hopefully, the next step is for the banquet center proposal to go from the county’s Committee of the Whole to the County Board.
“The special-use permit is always a fluid document until the County Board approves it,” Prochaska said.
The next county Committee of the Whole meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, at the county office building, 111 W. Fox St., Yorkville.