A Buffalo Grove business owner 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, 404 W. Half Day Road, told trustees at the Feb. 5 meeting that a large event in the parking lot of Woodland Commons on Feb. 3 filled the lot with vehicles and people, crippling his business and others.
“It was an impromptu memorial service car show that did not have a permit that was hosted in the Woodland Commons Shopping Center,” Romano explained in a phone interview with Pioneer Press. “The entire parking lot was filled. People were standing on cars and loitering, and bathroom lines at the Mariano’s [grocery store] were 20 to 30 people long.”
He said the event that ran between 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. that Saturday drew hundreds of people, according to police on the scene who told him they were unable to disband the gathering because it was on private property.
Romano wants to see that changed.
“If someone does not have a permit, police should be able to remove them from private property,” Romano said, “specifically for outdoor events in a parking lot. It was a huge safety concern.”
He said he lost $5,000 in business that day, with many customers calling and saying they couldn’t park or access his business because of the crowds. He believes other nearby businesses suffered as well.
“If someone had a gun, if someone was in a situation [and needed medical attention], Buffalo Grove Road and Route 22 were basically unusable,” Romano said at the meeting. “We have to get in place an ordinance where we can actually do something about it. I really hope those who were involved are fined. It was inexcusable. We were fortunate nothing happened, but what if it did?”
Romano spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting. Trustees took no formal action on his request because it was not part of the official agenda for the night. But Pioneer Press reached out to the police department after the meeting, inquiring about the event Romano decried.
Police Deputy Chief Michael Rodriguez confirmed the “car meet” gathering was held in honor of the car club’s founder and president who recently died. He said police had been notified that the event was being moved from another town to the Buffalo Grove location, but only 150 to 200 attendees were expected and police officers were on site, he said in a statement to Pioneer Press.
“As vehicles and occupants filled the parking lot – we estimate over 700 people – officers worked with the event’s organizer to end the event early at approximately 4:20 p.m. and the lot was cleared within two hours,” Rodriguez stated.
Police report this was a “very rare and one-off type event” in the village.
“While there was a very large crowd, all interactions were friendly, polite and cordial,” according to the deputy chief.
Elizabeth Owens-Schiele is a freelancer.