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Liquor commission says no to booze sales for service stations

Updated: January 7, 2013 7:13AM

ELGIN — Acting in its role as the city’s liquor control commissioners, Wednesday afternoon city council members stifled allowing liquor sales at two gas stations looking to add packaged goods to their offerings.

In a matter for discussion, Shailesh Bulsara, owner of the Marathon Gas Station 789 Summit Street asked for a license that would allow him to sell wine and beer. The station is close to Lords Park, adjacent to an Aldi and Walgreens that already sell some packaged goods, and close to a Fresh Market which has limited liquor sales and a Jewel-Osco which has a full liquor department.

During the discussion, Community Development Director Marc Mylott mentioned that the owners of the Shell along Route 25 near Interstate 90 also recently asked if the city might consider granting that spot a license, too.

Earlier this year, the city council approved allowing a new Shell gas station along Randall Road to sell beer and wine. That move essentially revised a 1995 ordinance that any new station opened after then could not sell booze. At the time of those discussions concerning the Shell, the council members/commissioners expressed concern about how far away stations would have to be from homes to allow such sales and noted that the nearest residences to the Randall Shell are across the big, busy, road in Sleepy Hollow.

Wednesday night council member Anna Moeller said that there was an abundance of places selling alcohol by the Marathon, while council member John Prigge said neighbors had told him they had concerns and that the area was saturated with stiff competition for the Marathon from national chains.

Mayor Dave Kaptain noted that the Randall Shell is a unique in that no one else is selling packaged goods in that area.

“There are no other options there,” Kaptain said.

While no vote was taken, the consensus was that the commission would disallow beer and wine sales at either station.

Feelings were mixed, however, about allowing The Chorizo Grill, 440 Washington St., to have a license to sell beer, wine and maybe one other drink with meals.

The restaurant is zoned in a mostly residential area and would have to get a text amendment to existing rules and most likely conditional use permission to sell any sort of alcohol, Corporation Counsel Bill Cogley advised. That process could cost as much as $2,5000, Mylott said.

Prigge was concerned that juveniles living at Larkin Center homes in the area would be tempted to skip out of their residences to drink with their meals at the grill.

Council member Tish Powell said a liquor license of any sort would allow the grill to better compete with other eateries, while Kaptain said he was not inclined to approve a license for the place.

Mylott suggested the commission recommend that the grill’s owners hold a meeting with neighbors to see how they might feel about the matter. And Kaptain said that if anything does come to fruition it would involve the grill keeping its relatively early closing hours.

In other business, the commission also fined the owners of 2JS Wine and Liquor, 950 E. Chicago St., $1,400 and revoked their liquor license. The store had not been paying the city’s liquor tax that went into effect this summer. The spot was gutted by fire the night of Oct. 3, and Cogley said he had not heard from the owners per Wednesday’s meeting.

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