Chesterton Tribune



State sends Pavilion Partners alcohol petition back to local ABC

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The Porter County Alcoholic Beverage Commission (ABC) is going to have press Reset in the matter of Pavilion Partners LLC’s alcohol permit, after the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission (ATC) voted unanimously on Tuesday to send the LLC’s permit application back to the ABC for another public hearing.

Unless one of the four ABC members who cast a vote on June 11 decides to vote differently the second time around, though, the ATC could very well see Pavilion Partners all over again.

ATC Vice-Chair David Coleman told the Chesterton Tribune after deadline on Tuesday that the ABC must conduct “a complete hearing” on the permit application. “There was a lot of remonstration brought out that wasn’t brought out at the first meeting,” he said, referring to the 264 emails received by the ATC from opponents of the banquet facility which Pavilion Partners plans to build at the Indiana Dunes State Park beach, under a lease agreement with the Department of Natural Resources.

The ATC did receive four emails in support of Pavilion Partners’ alcohol permit, Coleman said.

Coleman noted that one of the ABC members who voted No-Rudy Sutton-originally sought a continuance of the hearing in order to gather more information. “That member was unable to get a continuance so we decided to send it back for more information,” Coleman said.

Since February, Coleman added, the ATC has sent back to local ABCs “three or four” permit applications.

The Porter County ABC meets at 10 a.m. on the second Thursday of the month at the Porter County Administration Building. It’s not yet clear whether the ABC will hold the required public hearing on the morning of Aug. 13 when most folks are working or will hold a special meeting in the evening and at a larger venue to accommodate as many people as possible.

Kenard Taylor:

Ineligible to Vote

Meanwhile, ABC Member Kenard Taylor clarified the circumstances which made a 2-2 deadlock possible on June 11: the state law which, as he told the Tribune today, precluded him from casting a vote on Pavilion Partners’ application.

Voting No at that meeting: Ed Fritz and Rudy Sutton. Voting Yes: Ralph Levi and, representing the Indiana State Excise Police, Jamie Patrick. Not voting at all: Taylor.

Under Indiana Code, Taylor said, only the ABC member representing the largest city in the county-In Porter County the most populous city is Portage-may vote on alcohol permit applications countywide. ABC members representing any other city in the county may only vote on permit applications within their city limits. Taylor, accordingly, as Valparaiso’s representative on the ABC, simply could not vote on the Pavilion Partners application for a permit to serve alcohol 10 miles or so north of the city’s corporate limits.

Should an ABC deadlock at 2-2-as the Porter County ABC did on June 11-the permit application in question is automatically forwarded to the ATC for action.

For the record: although all three newspapers have reported that Taylor recused himself from the vote at the June 11 meeting, in fact it’s now clear that Taylor did not recuse himself, nor did he abstain, nor would there have been any point to his doing either, inasmuch as he simply wasn’t permitted under Indiana Code to vote on the Pavilion Partners’ application. Of that fact he was reminded out loud by Member Jamie Patrick in the course of the meeting, Taylor said.

The 100-foot Rule

While he was at it, Taylor also suggested that there’s been some misunderstanding of the laws which will govern the serving of alcohol at the Pavilion and the banquet facility. By his reading of Indiana Code, patrons will not be allowed to routinely carry alcohol outside the Pavilion, in the same way that the patrons of any other bar or restaurant are prohibited from carrying alcohol outside or off the property.

SB 515-enacted earlier this year-does allow the consumption of alcohol within 100 feet of the Pavilion and the parking lot, Taylor said, but only during “special one-day type of events” and only with the permission of the DNR. A similar example would be last Saturday’s Valparaiso Wine Festival.


Posted 7/22/2015





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