I am writing to invite you to attend a community meeting to review a proposal for a new packaged goods liquor license at 6816 N. Sheridan (just north of Pratt) (see photo on right). The meeting will be held on Monday, October 14th, 7:00 p.m., at the Loyola Park Fieldhouse, 1240 W. Greenleaf (at the lake).
You may recall I hosted a community meeting on this issue last May. At the time, I believed the only City Council action required of me was my support of an ordinance lifting a moratorium on packaged good licenses on that block. I have since discovered that the applicant also requires a zoning change from the current B1 zoning classification to a B3 zoning classification. He also requires a special use permit from the City of Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals.
Given this new information, I thought it best to hold another meeting to solicit community input.
The storefront was recently occupied by another packaged goods store. The owners of the property decided not to renew the packaged goods store’s lease and instead divide the storefront in half, leasing one-half to an optical shop and the other half to a new packaged goods store.
The potential new packaged goods store owner, Pradeep Patel, currently owns Red Violin Wines and Spirits at 7405 N. Clark (at Rogers)(see photo below).
If Mr. Patel obtains a liquor license for the Sheridan Road location, he plans to open a store similar to Red Violin and name it Hops and Grapes. He plans remove the paper advertising signs from the windows, upgrade the inventory with higher-end wines and craft beers and refrain from selling cheap wines and liquor. He also plans to completely renovate the interior of the store in a fashion nearly identical to the interior his Red Violin store (see photos below).
In order to operate at the new address, Mr. Patel must obtain a packaged goods liquor license from the City of Chicago. Before he can apply for the license, however, he must receive a zoning change and a special use permit.
The zoning change and special use permit do not automatically entitle the applicant to a liquor license; it simply gives the applicant the right to apply for a license. He still must satisfy the City’s criteria for a liquor license and his application is subject to the approval of the City of Chicago’s Local Liquor Control Commissioner. The opinion of the local alderman and the community may influence the Commissioner’s decision, but the Commissioner retains final authority over whether the license will be issued.
The Liquor Control Commissioner may at his discretion require the applicant sign a legally binding “Liquor License Plan of Operation,” which places various conditions on the license. Any violation of the agreement may result in the imposition of a fine or a suspension or revocation of the license.
When the Commissioner granted Mr. Patel a license to operate Red Violin on Clark Street, Mr. Patel agreed, among other things, to take proactive steps to prevent loitering outside his store; refrain from selling cheap fortified wines, cheap half-pints of distilled liquor and malt liquor; refrain from selling products associated with illicit drug use; refrain from installing security gates, accordion style gates or metal grates and keep his windows free and clear of all signage, coolers, walls or other obstructions.
For a copy of the Red Violin agreement, click on the attachment below:
If the Liquor Control Commissioner is inclined to grant Mr. Patel his license application, I will ask the Commissioner to require Mr. Patel to enter into an agreement identical to the agreement he signed for Red Violin.
Since Red Violin opened last year, the City has received no complaints about Red Violin, nor has it issued any citations against the business.
I will make a final decision on whether to support the zoning change and special use permit after receiving input from those who attend the community or send comments to my office.
I encourage you to attend the meeting to offer your opinions of the proposal. If you are unable to attend, please feel free to reply to this e-mail with your thoughts and suggestions. I also encourage you to visit Mr. Patel’s store at 7405 N. Clark to see for yourself the kind of business he says he will operate.