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updated: 11/14/2011 11:31 PM

Palatine residents speak out against Starbucks

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A plan to open a drive-through Starbucks in Palatine drew the ire of some residents who claim it will negatively impact both traffic and a beloved local coffee shop.

Whether it will be allowed, however, won't be known for at least a couple more months.

The Palatine village council Monday referred the proposal back to the Zoning Board of Appeals on the village attorney's advice so that it can review the results of a traffic study despite its earlier unanimous vote to recommend the project. The postponement also grants a request by McDonald's Corp., which operates an adjacent restaurant, the opportunity to look the study over.

The Starbucks would make up one of three tenant spaces to be built on a vacant lot between the fast-food restaurant and Harris Bank on Northwest Highway near Smith Road. Charley's Grilled Subs would fill the second space with the third still undetermined.

A couple dozen residents attended the council meeting to oppose the national coffee chain, which they believe will ultimately force nearby Norma's Coffee Corner to close.

"We as a town should embrace diversity, and I would hate to see Palatine become a national franchise town if there are no mom-and-pops around," Roman Golash of Palatine said.

Resident Sal Guadagna agreed, saying owner Norma Hipchin herself supports fellow businesses by purchasing her products at Eurofresh across the street.

"There's just two key words: shop local," he said. "Obviously, Norma's will be out of business."

Others also disputed the traffic study, which determined the site could support the new shopping center with only a small increase in volume. They said cars constantly turning coming and going, despite an amendment that limits vehicles to making right turns to get in and out, will be hazardous.

Nilax Patel of Resa Construction in Wheeling, representing the property owner, said the council's decision to defer the proposal back to the zoning board only delays the inevitable.

"If it's not a Starbucks, it'll be Dunkin' Donuts," Patel said. "It's a very viable site for any coffee shop."

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