A business owner in Buffalo Grove implored village trustees at a recent Village Board meeting to adopt an ordinance that would restrict large events on private property.
Buffalo Grove resident Cody Romano, co-owner of Everything Games at 404 W. Half Day Road, told trustees at the Feb. 5 meeting that a large event held in the Woodland Commons parking lot on Feb. 3 filled the parking lot with vehicles and people. , crippling his business and others.
“It was an impromptu memorial car parade at Woodland Commons Mall without a permit,” Romano said in a phone interview with the Pioneer Press. “The entire parking lot was full. People were standing on cars, loitering and navigating the bathroom lines at Mariano. [grocery store] It was 20 to 30 people tall.
He said hundreds of people attended the event, which took place between 1pm and 4.30pm on Saturday, although police at the scene told him they could not be dispersed because the meeting was on private property.
Romano wants to see that change.
“If someone doesn’t have a permit, police should be able to remove them from private property,” Romano said, “especially for outdoor events in the parking lot. That was a big safety concern.”
He said he lost $5,000 in business that day, with many customers calling to say they couldn’t park or access the business because of the crowds. He believes other nearby businesses were also damaged.
“If someone had a gun, someone’s situation [and needed medical attention]“Buffalo Grove Road and Route 22 were basically unusable,” Romano said at the meeting. “We need to pass a regulation where we can actually do something about this. I hope those involved are punished. This was inexcusable. We were lucky nothing happened, but what if?”
Romano spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting. The board of trustees took no formal action on his request because it was not on the evening’s official agenda. However, Pioneer Press reached out to the police department after the meeting to ask about the incident Romano condemned.
Deputy Police Chief Michael Rodriguez confirmed that the “car meet” meeting was held in honor of the recently deceased founder and president of the auto club. He told the Pioneer Press that police had been notified that the event would be moved from another town to the Buffalo Grove area, but only 150 to 200 attendees were expected and police officers were at the event site.
“As vehicles and passengers filled the parking lot (we estimate over 700 people), officers worked with the event organizer to end the event early around 4:20 p.m., and the parking lot was cleared within two hours,” said Rodriguez.
Police said this was a “very rare and one-off incident” in the village.
According to the assistant chief, “Although there was a very large crowd, all interactions were friendly, courteous and cordial.”
Elizabeth Owens-Schiele is a freelance writer.