St. Charles moves to ban liquor stores from residential areas
One-Stop Liquors will soon be the only place to stop for liquor in a residential area of St. Charles. Aldermen gave preliminary approval Monday to a ban on any businesses dedicated to liquor or tobacco sales from locating in a neighborhood.
The change follows a situation that arose last summer when a liquor license application came before aldermen that would have created a liquor store at the current location of the St. Charles Mini-Mart on 710 S. 3rd St.
Neighbors fought against the application. Some even brought in their children to talk about how they would have go past the store on the way to and from school or to play at a nearby park. Aldermen agreed and rejected the application.
However, nothing in city code prohibited a similar request from coming forward in the future.
Next week, aldermen will sit as the full city council and put the ban in place. It prevents any business that devotes 50 percent or more of its floor space to alcohol and/or tobacco sales from locating in residential neighborhoods. City staff said the law does not impact restaurants that generate a significant portion of their income from alcohol sales.
Under the change, liquor and tobacco shops would only be able to locate in areas that are solely or primarily business oriented. Staff said the change specifically permits liquor and tobacco stores on major arterial roads, such as Main Street, Randall Road or Kirk Road.
The only question that was raised before aldermen gave preliminary approval to the plan came from Alderman Bill Turner. He wanted to ensure no liquor store could ever move into the St. Charles Mini-Mart location. Staff assured Turner it could not.
The city's plan commission also gave a thumbs-up to the plan. However, they did debate the appropriateness of treating liquor and tobacco stores differently than any other business. Staff justified the pending change by saying it is consistent with the city's comprehensive plan goals of preserving the character of existing single-family residential neighborhoods.
Once made permanent, the One-Stop Liquors establishment will be grandfathered in. It can remain in operation but never expand.