INDIANAPOLIS | A key element in Whiting's plans to develop new restaurants near Lake Michigan is headed to the governor.
The Senate voted 43-0 Thursday to accept House changes to Senate Bill 173, allowing the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission to auction up to six new Whiting alcohol sale permits.
Only restaurants sited within three blocks of Lake Michigan would be eligible for the new permits, and the permits could not be relocated elsewhere. The minimum auction price for each new permit would be $10,000.
State Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, the sponsor of the measure, said the additional permits will help sustain the "remarkable amount of economic development and rejuvenation" taking place in Whiting.
Originally Charbonneau sought to allow an unlimited number of alcohol permits at restaurants adjacent to Lake Michigan from the Illinois state line to the Michigan border.
The House sponsor, state Rep. Bill Davis, R-Portland, decided to cap the number of permits and limit their availability to Whiting locations.
Senate co-sponsors of the measure were state Sens. Sue Landske, R-Cedar Lake; Lonnie Randolph, D-East Chicago; and Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes. It was co-sponsored in the House by state Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond.