Council reconsiders, approves beer tent

2012-08-27T23:00:00Z Council reconsiders, approves beer tentCharles F. Haber Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
August 27, 2012 11:00 pm  • 

HIGHLAND | The Town Council on Monday had a change of heart and approved a beer tent for the Midwest Zest Fest, two weeks after voting to deny it.

At its previous meeting, the Highland Council voted 3-2 to reject the annual request of the Chamber of Commerce to place its beer tent on the pavement of Highway Avenue next to the festival in Main Square Park.

The road will be closed during this time, Sept. 7 and 8.

Voting no Aug. 13 were Councilman Mark Herak, I-2nd, Councilman Konnie Kuiper, D-2nd, and Council Vice President Dan Vassar, D-3rd.

Voting to approve the alcohol sales were Councilman Brian Novak, D-4th, and Council President Bernie Zemen, D-1st.

The vote Monday went the same way with the exception of Herak, who switched his vote to approve the tent.

After the Aug. 13 vote, Herak said he learned the chamber already had made plans and financial commitments to operate the tent under the assumption it already had been approved.

"If I had known all the planning that had taken place since March, and the communication with certain officials and department heads within the town, I would have voted yes" Aug. 13, Herak said.

The festival, sponsored by the chamber, runs Sept. 7 through 9 with the beer tent operating the first two nights.

Although local law prohibits alcohol sales in town parks, Herak said it is safer to sell it in the park instead of on a street.

"I plan to introduce an updated, more realistic ordinance about alcohol in Main Square," Herak said.

If the new ordinance should be passed, the council could grant special exemptions for alcohol sales during special events and possibly during softball tournaments at Sharp Athletic Complex, Herak said.

Also on Monday, the council introduced an ordinance that would bring a rate increase to town water bills.

The new rates will be discussed during a public hearing Sept. 10.

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