Commission denies license request for Gladstone Park liquor store, but store could open if restrictions agreed to
by BRIAN NADIG
The city Liquor Control Commission has denied a request for liquor and tobacco licenses for a planned liquor store at 5636 N. Milwaukee Ave. due to community objections, but the decision may be reversed if an agreement on special restrictions can be reached.
Called a “plan of operation,” such an agreement typically includes restrictions on a store’s operating hours and on the sale of single-serve containers of beer.
The commission is reviewing two plans, one submitted by Alderman John Arena (45th) and the other by a group of residents, for the proposed Fourth Octave Wine and Spirits at the southwest corner of Milwaukee and Marmora avenues. It reportedly is unusual for two plans to be submitted for the same license application.
Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh said that the commission’s denial of the license requests will allow for an operating plan to approve as a condition of Fourth Octave’s liquor license, clearing the way for the project to move forward. Arena, who supports the store’s opening, has said that the planned liquor store represents a $300,000 investment in a 1,600-square-foot vacant building in the Gladstone Park business district.
Commission spokeswoman Mika Stambaugh said that she could not discuss specifics of the denial of Fourth Octave’s application because of the commission’s ongoing review of the two proposed plans of operation. She said that the commission can approve a plan of operation during the initial review of the license application or after the license is denied.
The liquor store would be located on a triangular-parcel that fronts both Milwaukee and Marmora, where, where single-family homes are located. The only driveway for the site’s parking lot, which is shared with other businesses on the block, is located on Milwaukee.
Residents who oppose the project submitted a letter last year to the liquor commission requesting that the application be denied in part because too many other liquor establishments exist in the area or that a decision be delayed until after the recent aldermanic election.
If the license were to be approved, the residents asked that the store’s hours be restricted to 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. or 10 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. The residents also requested that the store have no windows on the wall adjacent to Marmora and that it have no flashing signs.
Arena said in January that he is working on a plan that would restrict hours, ban single-serve alcohol sales and require several safety measures, including the installation of surveillance cameras.
In February of 2014, about half-dozen residents attended a community meeting on the project, and most opposed the opening of a liquor store at the site, according to residents who attended the meeting. In September, the Zoning Board of Appeals approved the issuance of a special use to allow the store.