By Bob Uphues
Brookfield's village trustees voted 5 to 0 on Jan. 8 to create a new license for video gambling, but President Kit Ketchmark won't issue the license to the Brookfield Ale House unless the business' owner is able to comply with conditions trustees have set.
Steve Landrey, the owner of Brookfield Ale House sought to assure the village board that he would meet the trustees' condition that two doors along Grand Boulevard would be alarmed emergency-only exits.
Trustees sought that condition in order to prevent the creation of a separate entrance into the storefront at 3750 Grand Blvd., which Landrey has leased to expand his restaurant/bar and provide room for five video gambling machines.
One of the two doors gives direct access to the storefront where the games will be located. A door almost immediately adjacent presently serves as an emergency exit for the Brookfield Ale House, whose main entrance is located at 8900 Fairview Ave. However, at this time that door is not connected to an alarm.
Initially, Landrey sought to convert the existing emergency exit into a separate entrance/exit to his business, allowing access to the gaming area with those customers having to walk through the restaurant/bar.
Allowing an entrance from Grand Boulevard risked the creation of a standalone gambling parlor, trustees' reasoned. The village's code requires that liquor license holders wait one year before applying for a video gambling license in order to prevent standalone parlors.
"I don't have any problem with alarms on the doors there," Landrey told trustees, saying he shared their concern of such a door being used to let underage customers into the gaming area.
Trustees' concerns extended beyond underage gamblers. They also wanted to avoid people using the Grand Boulevard entrance to leave the bar, which is next to an ice cream parlor, to smoke on the sidewalk.
Landrey said all customers, including those coming to gamble, will have to use the business' main entrance at the corner of Grand Boulevard and Fairview Avenue.
"I feel he is doing what he believes is in the best interest of Brookfield," said Trustee Ed Cote, who supported creating the license. "If the doors are alarmed I don't see an issue with it."
Beyond the condition trustees imposed regarding those doors, the video gambling area must comply with both state gaming laws, which require views of the games from the street to be blocked, and local zoning laws, which require views into business windows to be largely transparent.