St. Charles on verge of approving first liquor store drive-through in county
Having lifted the ban on liquor stores with drive-through windows last year, St. Charles aldermen took a major step Monday toward seeing the first beer bought without exiting a vehicle.
Aldermen, in a preliminary vote, erased a rule requiring all drive-through facilities to be located on at least 1 acre of land. That 4-3 vote paved the way for aldermen to grant permission to Dave and Julie Lundeen to add a drive-through window to their liquor store at 1315 W. Main St.
The Lundeen's desire to add a drive-through to that location was the impetus for aldermen changing their minds on drive-through liquor sales last year. The couple first brought the idea to aldermen in 2013. The city council rejected the plan at the time. They reasoned they did not want to make liquor sales too convenient, especially near the downtown area that, at the time, had frequent problems with unruly behavior by tavern patrons. After addressing the majority of that behavior with the creation of a city liquor commission, Mayor Ray Rogina lobbied for a change in the thinking about drive-through liquor sales. He was able to sway the council to his way of thinking in August 2015 when aldermen lifted the ban.
The Lundeens began re-crafting their drive-through dreams shortly after that vote.
"We have been looking for a long time to improve this property," said Julie Lundeen Monday night. "The neighbors are with us. We had well over 700 signatures on a petition in favor of this plan. No one seems to be against it. We service a lot of elderly and handicapped who would not have to come into the facility if we have this drive-through."
Aldermen noted the drive-through would still require face-to-face interaction for the entirely of the transaction, including ID verification. That interaction will allow for more direct observation of a customer than even in-store sales, Lundeen said, because there will only be the width of a window, rather than a full counter, between the sales clerk and the customer. All sales will be videotaped.
Despite a location that is less than half an acre, the Lundeens walked aldermen through a plan showing they would be able to accommodate up to five vehicles stacked in line at the drive-through. That's just enough to meet the minimum city requirements for addressing cars waiting at a drive-through window.
Three aldermen voted against the plan even with the Lundeens clearing all the code hurdles. Aldermen Jo Krieger, Maureen Lewis and Rita Payleitner all voted against the drive-through. They also voted "no" to lift the drive-through ban last year and "no" on the push to remove the 1-acre minimum lot requirement.
The full city council must still take a final vote on the proposal. Should it open, the drive-through would be the first of its kind in Kane County.