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St. Charles bar owner still questioning late-night permit

ST. CHARLES – A downtown St. Charles bar owner Monday once again questioned the price and purpose behind the future late-night permits system that begins May 1.

Dawn Humer, owner of Dawn’s Beach Hut, 8 N. Third St., spoke to the city’s Government Operations Committee during their regular Monday meeting. She said she can’t afford the increased cost to stay open until 2 a.m. as a result of the permit system.

The City Council-approved policy in January sets the base closing time at midnight for bars and creates late-night permits to those wishing to stay open until 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. The base midnight license will cost $1,200 annually, and the 1 a.m. permit will cost an additional $800. Both options are less than the existing yearly license fee of $2,600.

Humer wants the 2 a.m. permit, which will cost her $2,300 on top of the base license fee, bringing the total bill to $3,500. She said this is $1,900 more than what she pays for her current B-2 license.

“I am asking you to please revisit this issue,” Humer said. “I applaud the city’s idea of late night-permits, [but] they should be based on merit, not money.”

The committee on Monday voted 9-0 in favor of not taking action on this issue.

Ward 2 Alderman Rita Payleitner said she was sympathetic to Humer’s plight, but asked where she was during the meetings where the late-night permit system was proposed and discussed by aldermen. Humer said she did attend some meetings but otherwise is busy at her business. She noted that Dawn’s Beach Hut was closed Monday so she could speak to the committee.

Ward 5 Alderman Maureen Lewis noted that the city began discussing the late-night permit system last fall. Lewis questioned whether other liquor licensees would also ask for changes if they took action in favor of Humer.

“To be hearing now ... that this is going to be a hardship is a little bit after the fact,” Lewis said.

Humer also shared her price concern with St. Charles Mayor Ray Rogina and other city leaders during a Jan. 23 forum for liquor license holders.

After the committee voted, Humer asked about paying the cost of the permit in installments.

“We can always have further conversation,” Rogina said.

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