Store seeks to be first to sell packaged liquor in Downtown Norwood Park
by BRIAN NADIG
For the second time in 6 years, the7-Eleven convenience store at Northwest Highway and Sayre Avenue is seeking to become the first business in Downtown Norwood Park to sell packaged liquor.
Alderman Mary O’Connor (41st) will hold a community meeting on the store’s liquor license application at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, at the Norwood Park fieldhouse, 5801 N. Natoma Ave. The store was a franchise in 2007 when the Local Liquor Control Commission denied its application following community opposition, but earlier this year operation of the store was taken over by corporate.
O’Connor said that she will wait to take a stance on the application until after the community meeting but that her office has received a dozen objections to the application “I called this meeting because I think it is important to hear the voice on the community on this matter,” she said.
In a letter to residents, a store representative wrote that the display of liquor would be limited to a locked refrigerator and behind the counter and that individual cans of beer and pints of liquor would not be sold, according to O’Connor. The letter also stated that the sale of liquor would be limited to 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday and through Saturday and 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday.
In 2007 residents expressed concern about minors purchasing liquor at the store and about patrons loitering and drinking outside. Historically most of the business district along Northwest Highway had a prohibition on the sale of alcohol, but it recent years that ban has been lifted in several precincts, and three new restaurants which serve liquor have opened in the district since last year.
The site’s B3-1 zoning does permit packaged alcohol sales as long as they are not the store’s main source of revenue. However, the zoning requires the issuance of a special use from the Zoning Board of Appeals for businesses that would generate most of their revenue from liquor sales.
In the business district, there is a moratorium on the issuance of licenses for liquor stores along the southwest side of Northwest Highway, which does not include the 7-Eleven site, 6200 N. Sayre Ave.