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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Ind. Gov't. - "State issues Dunes pavilion alcohol sales license"

Dan Carden reports in the NWI Times:

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission unanimously agreed Tuesday to issue a license to sell beer, wine and liquor at a renovated Indiana Dunes State Park pavilion.

The new license was awarded to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources in accordance with a law signed in March by Republican Gov. Mike Pence mandating the commission issue a "state park" alcohol permit for the Dunes pavilion if the DNR requested one.

"They did comply with everything we've asked for in the application process and at this point they are complete," said Commission Chairman David Cook moments before the permit approval vote.

House Enrolled Act 1386 explicitly removed local participation from the state park alcohol licensing decision after strident opposition last summer prompted the Porter County Alcoholic Beverage Commission to deny a permit to Pavilion Partners, the company chosen by the DNR to renovate and operate bars and restaurants in the historic Lake Michigan pavilion with plans to add an adjacent banquet center.

That didn't stop Norman Hellmers, of Valparaiso, from writing to the commission on behalf of Dunes Action!, a group opposed to alcohol in the park, asking the permit be denied to protect the "sacred rights" of Hoosiers to safe, non-commercial state parks.

"The changes to the Indiana Code were forced through the General Assembly to satisfy personal needs unrelated to what is best for the citizens of the state," Hellmers said. * * *

The new law allows Pavilion Partners to use the DNR permit to sell alcohol at the Dunes pavilion, which is expected to open next year.

Alcohol opponents still can try to persuade the Indiana Natural Resources Commission to reject final adoption of its preliminarily approved rule allowing alcohol consumption in and near the pavilion, but not on the beach or elsewhere in Indiana Dunes State Park.

They are unlikely to succeed, however, because a commission majority includes either state employees working for the governor or citizens selected by him, and he already has signaled his approval for the pavilion project, including alcohol availability.

The ILB has a very long list of earlier posts on the Dunes pavilion issues, dating back a decade.

The Gary Post Tribune
has this story by Amy Lavalley - some quotes:
Indiana Dunes State Park is the only park in the state system with an outright ban on alcohol, which DNR Director Cameron Clark has said was put into place in 1990 because rival gangs from Chicago were coming to the beach to drink and fight.

DNR officials have been adamant that even with a liquor permit, alcohol would not be allowed on the beach or anywhere at the park but the pavilion, 100 feet from the pavilion, and 100 feet from its parking lot, as allowed under state statute.

ILB: Note this photo, included with the P-T story, that was taken from the pavilion and gives an indication of its location with respect to the beach and water.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 17, 2016 09:04 AM
Posted to Indiana Government