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Homer Glen adds liquor license restriction

Updated: April 28, 2014 10:41AM



Concerned about the number of establishments that might offer gambling, Homer Glen village trustees this week updated the village’s liquor ordinance, adding an amendment that requires future businesses to be a minimum of 1,500 square feet to get a liquor license.

Trustees began the process of updating the liquor ordinances — which had not been done since the village incorporated — in October when they believed they didn’t have the right classification for Dotty’s Cafe. The cafe chain wanted to lease a 1,350-square-foot space at 14041 S. Bell Road to serve breakfast, snacks, sandwiches, soup, salad, beer and wine and operate video gambling terminals.

The village approved video gambling in town last year, and approved a liquor license for Dotty’s in October. The cafe plans to open in about two weeks, village manager Cameron Davis said.

Other small businesses, such as Stella’s, Java Jill’s and Betty’s Bistro, are seeking village approval for liquor licenses, which are needed to obtain a gambling license for their venues.

The village board has not yet discussed liquor licenses for the restaurants that want to offer gambling but believed the liquor ordinance needed to be amended first.

The future of some of the cafes likely will be impacted by the amended liquor ordinance. Stella’s, for instance, was looking at a 1,300-square-foot space at which to locate, Trustee George Yukich said.

Resident Dennis Gerwing said he is concerned that gambling is going to run rampant in the village and suggested that if too many gambling establishments are built, the village will look like Las Vegas.

Some trustees have said they don’t want gambling establishments to microwave frozen food and call it a restaurant. They have also indicated that they don’t want gambling establishments to offer food as an afterthought.

Trustee Margaret Sabo said she has concerns about having too many video gambling businesses in one location or in one strip shopping center.

Trustee Tedd Kagianas said he doesn’t want the village board micromanaging businesses or telling restaurants how to prepare their food. Many businesses could work well with fewer than 1,500 square feet, he said. Many 1,200- to 1,400-square-foot storefronts have been empty for years, and some business owners want to start small before growing too big too fast, he said.

Whether or not the businesses will survive will depend on how many customers they get and whether they have a successful business plan, Kagianas said, adding he feared the village was blocking out small establishments, such as a sushi restaurant that may want to open and serve beer and wine.

Yukich said officials arrived at the 1,500-square-foot recommendation so that they wouldn’t eliminate smaller businesses that want to open.

The amendment was unanimously approved.



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