PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – The Peoria city council is looking into stronger ordinances for a safer community.
During Tuesday night’s meeting, the council discussed the uptick in violence at local gas stations and possible resolutions.
Chrissie Peterson, senior attorney, said in response to recent issues of violence, the police department has met with individual business owners, but she said the city is looking to take things a step further.
“We did look at ordinances to see if there was a way we could strengthen either our licensing or our enforcement mechanisms to give them some more robust authority to respond to these incidents,” Peterson said.
Council members acknowledged that not all the city’s gas stations, service stations, and convenience store operations have been problematic. However, members said there has to be some action taken against those that are continuously attracting trouble and not trying to stop it.
The council went over suggestions of possible plans that can be put in place to put troublesome businesses on notice. One suggestion included revoking licenses for gas stations that aren’t following the city’s ordinances.
Peterson noted some gas stations in the city may have different licenses, such as a gas retailer license, additionally a tobacco license, and or a liquor license as well.
She suggested adding to an ordinance that gas stations in the city could have their Retail Gasoline Dealer License revoked for violating city ordinances or violating state and federal law.
This was an idea several council members supported.
“It’s a privilege to be able to have a liquor license, be able to sell tobacco and if people aren’t respectful of this then that privilege can be revoked,” Chuck Grayeb, second district councilman, said.
“These suggestions are to be sure that they are being good business citizens and if they see problems on their grounds or near their grounds, they should immediately call the police,” Grayeb said. “And not to allow their businesses to become cancers.”
Grayeb said establishments aren’t being good “business citizens” if they have disorderly conduct occurring on the grounds, are selling alcohol to minors, or are allowing large groups to assemble without calling the police.
Another suggestion mentioned was to possibly ban the sale of tobacco from 1:00 a.m. until 6:00 a.m, but some council members noted that the measure would penalize even those businesses that aren’t problematic.
“I think this would be a hard time to really slap the hand on our business owners and really regulate tobacco sales just because of a few bad apples,” Andre Allen, fourth district councilman, said.
Grayeb said at the council’s next meeting, they’ll go over other suggestions and see if they can strengthen the city’s ordinances to restore order at non-compliant businesses.
The council also discussed the city’s increasing issue of panhandling and street solicitation and how it’s a safety hazard for any to obstruct traffic.
They didn’t take any official action on the topic during the meeting, but members suggested continuously looking into the matter from all angles to figure out ways to resolve it.