Forest Park Tap Room can reopen April 12, and the owners were fined $2,500. | Maria Maxham, Editor

Forest Park Tap Room, 7321 Madison St., was issued an emergency order of suspension of liquor license on Saturday, April 3. The bar, owned by brothers Lance and Hansel Law, will be allowed to open but not serve alcohol, effectively shutting down the tavern until a hearing with the village is held within seven days.

According to Village Administrator Tim Gillian, “Based on numerous complaints from residents and local businesses as well as numerous police reports and local ordinance violations, the mayor [Rory Hoskins] is using his authority as mayor and liquor commissioner to issue an emergency suspension of the liquor license.”

Gillian said there have been “ongoing safety concerns and issues at the bar,” including loud noise and disturbances at closing time.

This measure is one of the quickest ways to halt business operations of the bar, and Gillian said it’s a necessary step because of the numerous complaints and issues that have been ongoing, despite the owners being made aware of violations of local ordinance.

On April 3 prior to the closing, the Review was contacted by a homeowner and resident who lives in the vicinity of the bar. She reported having serious issues with the establishment, including screaming and noise from patrons leaving, people urinating on her property, and plastic cups and cigarette butts that she cleans up almost daily and believes to be from bar patrons. She posted a video to Facebook showing alleged patrons of the bar returning to their car at night, yelling and being generally noisy.

It has gotten so bad, she said, that she’s considered selling her property, and she is planning to gather a group of residents who live in close proximity to her and to the bar to write a letter appealing to the village to do something about the problems they’ve experienced.

On March 20, after a rowdy few weeks on Madison Street and to help prevent violence in town, the village sent letters to the property owners of four Forest Park establishments, including former village commissioner Mark Hosty, who owns the property rented by the Tap Room owners. The letter said the village has begun targeting property owners whose tenants are creating problems and breaking ordinances, which will ultimately lead to the property being designated a chronic nuisance property. At that time, according to the letter, fines can be levied.

According to the letter sent to Hosty, the bar has been the scene of multiple ordinance violations within the past 12 months, including open alcohol, theft, excessive noise, patrons in the bar after hours, and other violations of local ordinance.

But pulling the bar’s liquor license is coming at the alleged problem from a different angle, a solution that’s quicker and puts an immediate stop to what Gillian called “ongoing safety concerns and issues.” Pursuing the chronic nuisance designation is a more drawn-out process. With no ability to serve alcohol at least until the hearing with the village, Forest Park Tap Room temporarily cannot act as a bar.

More to come.