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updated: 3/5/2013 11:25 AM

Palatine rejects proposed liquor store

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The proximity of schools, upset neighbors and other alcohol-selling establishments means the former JJ Peppers convenience store in Palatine likely won't reopen as a liquor store.

The village council Monday unanimously voted down a plan to open Palatine Liquors in the vacant 3,500-square-foot space at Illinois Avenue and Plum Grove Road.

Officials cited roughly a dozen complaints from neighbors, property maintenance issues and the nearby Donkey Inn bar and Squire Liquor and Tobacco store for their opposition.

"I think with the liquor store, it's going to be a more intensive use for liquor ... and I think it's way too close to a residential area," Councilman Aaron Del Mar said.

JJ Peppers sold beer, wine and some liquor -- accounting for about 30 percent of the store's sales -- before the franchise owner moved onto another venture last fall. Officials said the store was allowed to do so only because its Cook County liquor license was grandfathered in upon the area's annexation in 1989.

Petitioner Bharatbhai Patel managed JJ Peppers for the last four years. His attorney, Gregory Ellis, said he was perplexed by the council's opposition given the shopping center's other tenants are a coin laundry business, nail salon, dry cleaners, chiropractor and fast-food restaurants.

"This couldn't be any more vanilla for a shopping center," Ellis said, adding that "there are residences, but this is a busy intersection."

Ellis said the village will lose out on its portion of an estimated $800,000 in annual sales. He also attributed most litter issues at the site to teenagers who wouldn't be patrons of the liquor store.

Property owner Rick Heidner told the Palatine Zoning Board of Appeals the business was necessary for the survival of the other retailers in the shopping center, saying he hasn't be able to attract a different kind of business, such as a Hallmark store.

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