INDIANAPOLIS | Whiting's dreams of a lakefront development filled with restaurants, hotels and other amenities got a boost Tuesday from the Indiana Senate, which voted 41-8 to send Senate Bill 173 to the House.
The legislation allows the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission to issue restaurants new licenses to sell alcohol for on-site consumption if the restaurant is located within three blocks of Lake Michigan or on a historical lake vessel.
State Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, the sponsor of the proposal, said Whiting's lakefront is poised for tremendous growth but is being held back by a state law capping alcohol licenses based on a city's population.
"They have a huge investment from BP, there's a lot of expansion going on, but they're in jeopardy of missing some significant other economic development potential unless we do something here," Charbonneau said.
State law already allows unlimited alcohol permits for restaurants in municipal riverfront development districts.
Charbonneau's plan extends that to all restaurants that are immediately adjacent to Lake Michigan and on property partially supported by federal funds.
The eight senators representing Northwest Indiana all voted in favor of the proposal.