The Indiana Alcohol
and Tobacco Commission (IATC) voted unanimously this morning to
“conditionally approve” the Department of Natural Resources’ application for
three-way permits at nine state parks, including at Indiana Dunes State
Park, where Pavilion Partners LLC plans to open a restaurant in a renovated
Pavilion and build a brand-new banquet facility.
An IATC staffer
confirmed just before deadline that IACT had approved the DNR application at
its regularly scheduled meeting this morning and said she believed it had
done so conditionally, “pending the inspection” of facilities where alcohol
would be dispensed.
The staffer was
unable to offer any more information, however, and referred the
Chesterton Tribune to IATC Executive Secretary David Rothenberg, who did
not immediately return a voicemail.
In fact IATC’s
“approval” in the matter amounted essentially to a non-discretionary
rubber-stamp of the DNR’s paperwork, inasmuch as legislation enacted by the
General Assembly earlier this year requires IATC to issue three-ways to the
DNR simply upon its “proper application,” without public notice or
investigation by the local ABC; without regard to quota provisions; without
a “determination of reputation and character”; and without “consideration of
location,” that is, irrespective of whether there is a need for such
services at the location of the permit, whether there is desire in the
neighborhood or community “to receive such services,” and whether such
services will have an impact either on the community or on other businesses
in the community.”
was enacted after the IATC voted unanimously last fall to uphold the Porter
County Alcohol Beverage Commission’s ruling to reject Pavilion Partners’
alcohol permit application for the Pavilion and banquet center.
DNR Director of
Communications Phil Bloom told the Tribune earlier this summer that
the legislation was “never intended to be an Indiana Dunes State Park-only
alcohol bill.” On the contrary, he said, the whole idea was to manage
alcohol service more “efficiently.”
will still be prohibited at Indiana Dunes State Park on the beach and in the
campground, Bloom noted at the time.
In addition to
Indiana Dunes State Park, the DNR applied for a three-way on behalf of the
seven parks which presently have inns on their property--Brown County,
Clifty Falls, Fort Harrison, McCormick’s Creek, Pokagon, Spring Mill, and
Turkey Run--as well as on behalf of the Falls of the Ohio State Park.