Alderman sets meeting on liquor store proposal
by BRIAN NADIG
Alderman Mary O’Connor (41st) will hold a community meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 19, to discuss a proposal that would result in the first packaged liquor store in Downtown Norwood Park.
Plans call for a "high end" liquor store to open at the 6060 Plaza, 6060 N. Northwest Hwy., and a moratorium on packaged liquor licenses on the west side of Northwest Highway between Raven Street and Neola Avenue would have to be lifted to allow the store to open, aldermanic aide Nick Haak said. Attempts to obtain a packaged goods license at the 7-Eleven store, 6200 N. Sayre Ave., have failed twice due to community opposition.
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Norwood Park fieldhouse, 5801 N. Natoma Ave. If the moratorium were to be lifted, the B3-1 zoning of the site requires that the Zoning Board of Appeals issue a special use for a liquor store.
The moratorium prohibits licenses for both taverns and packaged goods stores, but there are no plans to lift the ban on taverns, Haak said. Moratoriums are usually implemented in two-block increments, and if lifted, they cannot be reinstated for a year.
The plaza is located in two different precincts, one of which is dry and does not permit liquor sales, but the store would be in a wet precinct at the north end of the plaza, Haak said. The Norwood Park Chamber of Commerce has considered holding a petition drive that would allow a referendum on lifting the ban on liquor sales in the other precinct to be held.
After the ban on the sale of alcohol was lifted in two Norwood Park precincts in 2006, former alderman Brian Doherty imposed a moratorium on licenses for packaged goods and taverns on the west side of Northwest Highway between Nagle Avenue and Harlem Avenue but did not include the east side of Northwest Highway because the zoning there is more restrictive. The moratorium was imposed in response to some residents saying that they wanted the sale of liquor limited to restaurants, which are not affected by the moratorium.