Restaurants on South Main Street in downtown St. Charles will be now able to have live music if they apply for a permit.
Councilwoman Mary Ann Ohms, Ward-1, sponsored a bill that allows unamplified live music at restaurants that serve alcohol until 9 p.m. indoors and until 8 p.m. outdoors. Business owners would have to apply for a conditional use permit for live music and further limits could be placed on the business.
Council members voted 7-2 to approve the change with David Beckering, Ward-7, and Tom Besselman, Ward-2, voting no. Councilman Jerry Reese, Ward-6, was absent.
Ohms said the bill is a compromise that reflects meetings with residents and business owners. "That's why it's nonamplified music and very limited hours in the evening," she said.
Tammy and David Campbell, owners of Little Hills Winery, petitioned to have the law change. David Campbell said he's lost hundreds of weddings over the years because live music has been banned in that portion of South Main Street for places that have alcohol.
Other establishments on South Main Street that don't serve alcohol are allowed to have live music. And any restaurant can have amplified, recorded music, inside and out.
Besselman said he's concerned that the council hasn't considered the impact this change will have on people who live nearby. "They've got seven days of the week on this," he said.
Residents who live on South Main Street and Second Street raised concerns in earlier meetings about live music leading to people staying longer, drinking more and an increase in drunk drivers.
Mayor Sally Faith has led a series of security task force meetings this year to address crime and disruptions stemming from people leaving bars and restaurants on North Main Street late at night.
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