OCTOBER 1, 2018
Chicago City Council Ordinance and Resolution Introductions
Sponsors: Alderman Brian Hopkins (2nd Ward)
Committee: License and Consumer Protection
Currently, the law states that retailers are prohibited from selling tobacco products within 100ft of the property line of a school, day care or any other facility used primarily for the education/recreation of children under 18 years old. This proposal would change the measurement from property line to property line, to door to door. Therefore, if a tobacco retailer were located in a strip mall or an enclosed building, they wouldn’t be precluded from selling tobacco products simply because the outer line of the entire building is within 100ft of a prohibited location. IRMA supports this proposal.
ORDINANCE – CLEAN DRINKING WATER TRANSFER TAX
A recent sampling from homes in Chicago found that 30% of those homes had lead in the tap water at an amount higher than what the FDA allows in bottled water. Some blame the higher concentrations on the city’s continued use of lead service lines even though the lines are actually serviced by individual homeowners. The city now distributes lead testing kits for free to homeowners upon request, but has not agreed to overhaul the remaining lead service lines. While the city is not running afoul of federal law with the amount of lead found in its tap water, health advocates argue that any consumption of lead from water is too much.
This proposal would add a $50 flat fee to be collected whenever real estate is transferred and the transfer tax is owed. The proposal does not though, direct the revenue to any specific fund for replacing the city’s lead service lines or other cause that would help eradicate this source of lead in the city’s tap water. IRMA is reviewing the proposal.
ORDINANCE – COUNCIL APPROVAL FOR SIGNS
SPONSOR: Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward)
COMMITTEE: Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards
This proposal would require city council approval for any sign that exceeds 60 square feet unless it is a part of the city’s digital sign program. Currently, the Code requires such approval for signs that exceed 100 square feet. We are researching the impetus of this proposal and will have more information soon.
ORDINANCE – VAPE TAX INCREASE
SPONSOR: Mayor Rahm Emanuel
This ordinance was introduced direct to the recessed Finance committee which met the morning of the City Council meeting. The measure was passed and reported out to the full Council just a few hours later where it passed overwhelmingly. The ordinance was introduced in response to the recent announcement by the FDA calling teen vaping an “epidemic.” The FDA visited retailers all around the country to see if they were violating the sale of tobacco products to minors. After the investigation, the FDA announced that it has asked the manufacturer community to produce a response for how it will keep vape products out of the hands of teens. It gave manufacturers 60 days to respond. We are still within that window and expect that the tobacco community will respond with a detailed plan to address teen vaping. In the interim, the advocate community encouraged an increase in Chicago’s vape tax in an effort to make the products too expensive for teens. In both cases the tax has nearly doubled. The vape tax on the unit increased from 80 cents to $1.50 and the tax on the juice has increased from 55 cents/mL to $1.20/mL
EFFECTIVE DATE: October 30, 2018
ORDINANCE – POP-UP RESTAURANTS AND RETAIL
SPONSOR: Mayor Rahm Emanuel
This ordinance seeks to encourage retail and restaurant entrepreneurs to try out their new concepts by “popping up” in a vacant storefront and operating for a limited amount of time. While Chicago has had its share of pop up locations for years, the regulations have not always been clear. This ordinance now clarifies what both the entrepreneurs and land owners must do in order to have a pop-up shop lawfully operating in the city. Licenses can go for as short as 5 days and as long as 180 days depending on the use. If the space will have food, it will need to be prepared in a shared kitchen or licensed and regulated kitchen which can be on premises or at a separate location. In certain instances, the host property will need a license as will the user. We encourage members to talk with your landlord if you are interested in operating a pop-up shop to ensure that everyone has procured the necessary permits. The city is excited about being able to allow these innovative concepts with minimal interference from City Hall and the business community is glad to have clarity and a clear path to try new and exciting concepts.
EFFECTIVE DATE: DECEMBER 1, 2018
The next City Council meeting is scheduled on October 31, 2018, but the Council will meet prior to that date to hear Mayor Emanuel’s last budget address.
Tanya Triche Dawood
Vice President, General Counsel
Illinois Retail Merchants Association