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posted: 3/4/2014 5:30 AM

Beer, wine, liquor sales approved for Wheaton convenience stores

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Convenience stores in Wheaton will now have a chance to apply for a license to sell beer, wine and liquor, thanks to an ordinance amendment approved by the city council Monday night.

The council unanimously approved an amendment to the city's liquor control ordinance that allows for the sale of alcohol in stores no less than 2,000 square feet. The portion of the store dedicated to alcohol must be less than two percent of its total square footage.

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Beer cannot be sold in quantities of less than four cans or bottles, and wine and spirits must be at least 750 milliliters. Convenience stores selling alcohol will also be required to have point-of-sale equipment that will verify the age of the customer. The fee for the new class S license is $3,000.

At a meeting on Feb. 18, the city council members briefly discussed the proposal and agreed convenience stores should be permitted to sell liquor, instead of being limited to just beer and wine.

"It's not requiring them to sell spirits, but it's allowing to do it, which is in line with what we allow the grocery stores to do," Councilman Todd Scalzo said.

At the same meeting, Scalzo said he would like to see the hours of alcohol sales be uniform throughout the week, at both convenience and grocery stores.

The class S license hours have been set at 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Sunday. During Monday's meeting, the city council also approved an amendment to the hours of the class D, E, E-cafe and Q liquor licenses so they are the same as the class S license.

A request to allow convenience stores to sell alcohol came from Bucky's Express last October.

The company is planning to sell beer and wine at a new, proposed location at 1000 Roosevelt Road.

In January, 7-Eleven also asked the city to create a license that would allow for the sale of beer, wine and liquor at its two Wheaton locations.

There are at least five convenience stores in Wheaton that range from 2,000 square feet to more than 6,800 square feet, according to city staff. They include the proposed Bucky's, 7-Elevens at 326 W. Liberty Drive and 1277 E. Butterfield Road, DuPage Pantry Plus at 238 N. Gables Blvd. and Circle K at 204 E. Geneva Road.

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