Saturday, September 4, 2010

Evanston City Code, Part 2

A while back I blogged about some of the more "interesting" ordinances in my new home town, Evanston, Illinois.  I thought of this again today when I was at the grocery store buying two six-packs of beer.  One of the nice things about where we live is that we are just a five-minute walk to two grocery stores, both of which sell beer and wine.  So help is never far away.  But both stores require that we put six-packs and wine into grocery bags, based on their stated belief that it is illegal in Evanston to walk around the city with six packs of beer, etc.  When I was researching the code last month, I took a brief look at the alcohol ordinance and saw nothing to prevent this.  Today, after again being forced to transport my six packs in grocery backs, I decided to settle this once and for all.

Here is the text of the relevant ordinance: 


Except as otherwise provided below, no person shall within the corporate limits of the city:
(A) Transport: Transport any alcoholic beverage within the passenger area of any motor vehicle except in the original container and with the seal unbroken.
(B) Consumption In Vehicles: Consume or have on his/her person open containers of alcoholic beverages in or on any part of any motor vehicle.
(C) Consumption In Public:
1. Consume or have on his/her person or in or about personal property open containers of alcoholic beverages in public buildings, parks, beaches, highways, streets, alleys, sidewalks, parkways and public parking lots. Notwithstanding any of the foregoing, service of alcoholic beverages at a sidewalk cafe authorized for such service pursuant to subsection 7-2-6(D) of this code and possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages by patrons at such cafes shall be permitted.
2. Have on his/her person or in or about personal property containers of alcoholic beverages in public buildings, parks, or beaches.
3. Consume or have on his/her person or in or about personal property containers of alcoholic beverages on the Peter N. Jans golf course.
The key language seems to be paragraph (C)(1)(2), which says that no one in Evanston may "Consume or have on his/her person or in or about personal property open containers of alcoholic beverages."  As I understand it, the general understanding of "open container" does not include a six pack of beer, with all the bottles securely capped.  But perhaps they use words differently around here.  Nonetheless, the next time I am offered a bag for my six pack, I think I will say, "No thanks, I'm a lawyer."

Other "interesting" Evanston ordinances:

The following acts, among others, are declared to be loud, disturbing and unnecessary noises in violation of this section:
The use within the city of any drum or other instrument or device for the purpose of attracting attention, by the creation of noise, to any place of business or entertainment or place of public assembly.
[However, you may use a drum or other instrument or device to attract attention as long as it does not involve the creation of noise.]

9-4-11: FEMALE DOGS OR CATS IN HEAT: Every female dog or cat in heat shall be confined in a building or secure enclosure in such manner that such female dog or cat cannot come into contact with another animal except for planned breeding.
[So if you've got a cat in heat, you need a plan.]
9-4-16: WILD, VICIOUS ANIMALS: No person shall keep or permit to be kept on his premises any wild or vicious animal. This section shall not be construed so as to apply to a "zoological garden", "theatrical exhibit" or "circus" as defined in section 9-4-1 of this chapter, except that no theatrical exhibit or act shall be held in which animals are encouraged to perform through the use of chemical, electrical or mechanical devices.
[Keep your wild and vicious animals in the zoological garden please, and don't try trick us into thinking they're particularly vicious through the use of viciousness-enhancing chemicals.]
9-4-18: ANIMALS AS PRIZES: No person shall give away any live vertebrate animal as a prize for, or as an inducement to enter, any contest, game or other competition or as an inducement to enter a place of amusement; or offer such vertebrate as an incentive to enter into any business agreement whereby the offer was for the purpose of attracting trade.
[But it's open season on invertebrates!]

9-5-8-2: FREQUENTING GAMBLING ESTABLISHMENTS: Any person who is a frequenter, visitor, inmate, doorkeeper, solicitor, runner, agent abettor or pimp of or for any house, store, grocery, hall, room or any other place where there is kept any E. O. or A.B.C. tables, keno tables, faro bank, shuffleboard, bagatelle, playing cards, pigeon holes or any instrument, device or thing for gambling, whereon, or with which money or property or anything representing money or property shall be played for, shall, upon conviction, be fined in a sum of not less than five dollars ($5.00) and not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100.0).
 [Inmate?  Pimp?  Shuffleboard?  Five dollars?!]

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