A plan to ban sales of single-serving liquor was enthusiastically received by the Arlington Heights village board Monday night.
People who abuse alcohol in the downtown area and the central part of the village cause problems for commuters, residents and businesspeople, and this proposal from the police department is just one step to deal with the problem, Capt. Richard Niedrich said.
The proposed ordinance would outlaw the sale of a single container of beer unless it is 40 ounces or more; a single container of wine unless it is greater than 12 ounces, which is considered half a bottle; and a single bottle of liquor other than beer or wine unless it is greater than 16 ounces.
Mount Prospect bans the sale of single servings of alcohol when they are refrigerated, Niedrich said. Evanston has an ordinance similar to the one the police department is asking for, he said. And Elgin has a similar law, said Bert Rosenberg, a trustee.
"By no means is this a silver bullet," said Chris Colangelo, outreach specialist for Journeys-from PADS to HOPE, which works with homeless people. "It is a great step in the process of being able to help people with addictions."
He said when someone with a substance abuse problem faces a delay in obtaining the alcohol or drug, their chances of overcoming the habit improve. He said this is especially true if in the meantime they walk to a center for lunch and receive some counseling.
People who abuse alcohol are responsible for "fighting, theft, public urination and defecation, disorderly conduct, and criminal damage to property and threats" in the downtown area, Niedrich said in a written report.
The department has instituted a Railroad Intoxication Program to curtail alcohol abuse on train station property. It also has posted signs at the station, in parking garages and nearby parks saying that possession of alcoholic beverages is forbidden.
And the department works with the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, whose staff maintains a list of people who are banned from using the library.
Officer Robert Kostka reported on remarks from owners or managers of five stores that sell liquor in the central area. A few said they would miss the sales.
Biren Patel, owner of Red Rooster Liquors on North Wilke Road, said by phone that low-income people would just go to another town to purchase liquor or pool their money.
"There are probably only 50 homeless people causing a problem. You can't because of them punish all the liquor stores in Arlington Heights," Patel said.
Kostka and Niedrich showed the trustees examples and photographs of bottles and cans found littering the village.
The question probably will be on the agenda for the full village board at the Sept. 8 board meeting, Village Manager Bill Dixon said.
Liquor: Board hopes to curb abuse downtown