The owners of a local liquor store who had petitioned the city to allow St. Charles’ first drive-through packaged liquor sales have abandoned their quest — for now.
The issue arose Monday night as the St. Charles City Council was about to consider a proposal to direct the city staff to draw up an ordinance that would allow drive-through liquor sales.
Mayor Raymond Rogina told aldermen that Julie and David Lundeen, owners of Lundeen’s Liquors, 1315 W. Main St., had requested that the item be removed from the agenda for now.
Rather than tabling the item for future consideration, Rogina suggested the City Council instead direct staff to come back with a draft ordinance within the next two years.
The proposal has proven divisive, as was seen in the city council’s 6-3 vote on Rogina’s suggestions. Council members Rita Payleitner of Ward 2, and James Martin and Jo Krieger, both of Ward 4, voted against the proposal.
The drive-through proposal was initially met with some skepticism when it was presented to the St. Charles Liquor Control Commission in September. The request comes as the city is working through revisions to its liquor code — changes spurred largely by the perception of alcohol-fueled problems in the downtown area. Some believe the timing of the Lundeens’ request was not right when weighed against the perceived problems, which have ranged from street brawls to public intoxication to public urination.
The Lundeens, however, have pointed out that drive-through facilities are a customer convenience — one they have provided for 19 years at a liquor store they own in Sycamore. They have said the service is particularly valuable to senior citizens and the disabled, who have difficulty getting into and out of vehicles.
St. Charles officials have indicated police in Sycamore say that store has enjoyed a good reputation and has experienced few difficulties.
Rogina has spoken in favor of the idea on a limited basis, largely because of the Lundeens’ reputation and their years of experience with drive-through packaged liquor sales.
Still, even if an ordinance allowing drive-up service had gone through, the Lundeens face other obstacles that stood in the way of their proposal.
Zoning requirements are one — their store at 1315 W. Main St. is a new location that is about half the size required under the city’s zoning ordinance to qualify for a drive-through service. The couple would need a special-use permit to sidestep that requirement, but the permit process would require visits with the city’s Community Development Department and appearances before the Plan Commission, the City Council Planning and Development Committee and, ultimately, before the City Council for formal approval.
Oct. 8, 2013: Divided Aldermen to Consider Drive-Through Liquor Sales
Sept. 18, 2013: Drive-Through at Liquor Store May Face Uphill Struggle