The city council wants to first solve the problems of overserving, especially among college students. (WJBC file photo)
By Zach Dietmeier
BLOOMINGTON - The Bloomington City Council is not ready to add more classifications to the current liquor ordinance.
Members of the council voted seven to two to send the "Q" and "E" designation amendment back to the Bloomington Liquor Commission. Alderman Rob Fazzini was one of the two yes votes and says having the qualifications would start to diversify downtown from pure taverns to entertainment options.
"I'm not sure this is a big stretch because we're already doing what we're asking," said Fazzini. "I would rather have them official and whether we approve anyone to fall under them would be another matter."
Much of the council showed concern over first solving issues such as after hours violence and disorderly conduct among college students caused by overserving at downtown bars. Alderwoman Karen Schmidt says more important changes must happen first.
"I understand what you're saying about our need to increase the scope of what we do in how we handle alcohol," said Schmidt in reply. "I think we need to tighten up how we manage what we have already before we add other things on."
Alderman Steven Purcell says the real problem isn't being fully addressed.
"Some students and some people are being overserved in downtown Bloomington," said Purcell. "It doesn't matter if it's an 'E' or 'Q' license if they're overserved."
Alderwoman Jennifer McDade agrees but says some kind of action must happen, not just more talk.
"We have heard over and over and over and over again about making changes in my three years on the board," said McDade. "We've had the Downtown Entertainment Task Force, the BNCCC, we have had numerous people come to the table in this community. We are not the only community dealing with these issues. The problem is we're not addressing the problem that we have right here."
Now, it's back to the drawing board for the Bloomington Liquor Commission, who made the recommendation.
"Although we had some qualms, we decided to advance to the council," said Stockton. "This is the type of guidance we'd like to have, because this was not a slam dunk either way."
Zach can be reached at Zach.Dietmeier@cumulus.com.