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Liquor panel sets new procedural rules

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Amid concerns about an unpaid fine from a liquor store and to prepare for a possible rehearing of the license revocation case against The Keg, Evanston's Liquor Control Review Board approved new procedural rules this afternoon.

The board, which until now hasn't had formal rules for holding hearings, adopted the rules proposed by Corporation Counsel Grant Farrar.

They call for providing liquor licensees 14 days notice of a hearing and require the licensee to disclose any evidence it intends to present seven days before the hearing.

The rules also require the licensee to pay the cost of having a court reporter record testimony at the hearing. Until now the city has paid court reporter costs.

The rules also give each side the right to examine and cross examine witnesses.

Farrar said the city in the past has generally followed procedures similar to those outlined in the rules.

After the city revoked the license of The Keg in January, the bar appealed to the state liquor control commission.

In May, the commission issued an order directing the city to hold a new hearing on the revocation case, but the bar's attorney has appealed that decision, arguing that the state didn't have the authority to order the rehearing — and should have ruled on the substance of the case.

Meanwhile, The Keg has been operating under a stay of the city's revocation order issued by the state when the bar filed its initial appeal.

Farrar said he's not aware of any substantive problems at the bar since it reopened. And Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, the city's liquor commissioner, said it appears the bar is now using better devices to check for fake IDs.

The board also heard that Evanston 1st Liquors, at 1019 Davis St., has failed to pay a $2,000 fine imposed by the liquor commissioner for selling liquor to underage customers and also has failed to provide proof that all the store's employees have undergone BASSET training.

The payment was due June 1, and the board voted to schedule a hearing early next month if the fine isn't paid by July 1. The liquor store's annual license is scheduled to expire on July 10.

In other business, the board approved license requests from two new restaurants, and their license applications are now scheduled to go before the full City Council on July 9.

One application was from Found Restaurant, which plans to open this fall in the space at 1631 Chicago Ave., currently occupied by Gio. The other was from Terra, an American bistro, which opened a few weeks ago in the space at 2676 Green Bay Road that formerly housed Cafe Luciano's.

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