Rule Change for New Tobacco Shops in Rockford

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Rockford's city council is tightening the rules when it comes to tobacco shops in the Stateline. A newly created committee will be in charge of reviewing all new tobacco licenses.

Here along East State Street where there are at least 3 tobacco shops. More than a year ago, some aldermen raised concerns about these shops and how so many seemed so close together in certain spots in the city.

Some on the council worried, too many in one neighborhood would hurt the image and economic development in a neighborhood. Aldermen have now proposed new rules for tobacco shops in the Forest City.

The public has to be notified when a new store wants to move in and get a tobacco licensee. Public hearings will be held so neighbors can voice their opinions. A new liquor and tobacco advisory board will oversee those hearings, and city council will have the final say in granting new licenses.

Those licenses won't come cheap. There's an initial $5,000 fee. For existing shops they'll have to pay $1,900 a year.

The Rockford council gave an initial ok to the plan Monday night. A final vote is expected next week.


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