Naperville panel shoots down liquor sales at gas station

A new gas station in Naperville will be a place to fill up on fuel, but not on alcohol, after the city's liquor commission for the second time denied its request for a license.

The PRIDE Stores' proposed gas station at Raymond Drive and North Aurora Road sought the ability to sell packaged liquor to boost business at a 4,000-square-foot convenience store that will accompany the gas pumps.

The company renewed its request Thursday after the liquor commission denied it for the first time in February, when a BP Amoco station also was in on the application.

Commissioners early this year were concerned with the possibility of alcohol being available at too many gas stations within the city of 40 square miles. Their thoughts didn't change Thursday, Mayor and Liquor Commissioner Steve Chirico said.

"They were mostly concerned with proliferation of every gas station selling packaged goods," Chirico said. "That's not something they think would be healthy."

Chirico said he agrees with the commission's decision not to allow alcohol to be sold at gas stations, despite many nearby communities taking the opposite stance. The decision means The PRIDE Stores' request is legislatively dead in the city of Naperville and will not be taken up by the full city council, Deputy City Attorney and City Prosecutor Kavita Athanikar said.

The PRIDE Stores had better luck with one other element of its request, though.

The company plans an Urban Counter restaurant at the site it is developing at 1503 North Aurora Road. The restaurant, which will serve a full menu of appetizers, sandwiches, salads and desserts, applied for a liquor license to serve beer and wine, and that request was granted.

Athanikar said a restaurant's application for a liquor license typically wouldn't require review from the full liquor commission; such applications usually can be approved by city staff members if they meet certain standards. But she included Urban Counter's application for commission review because of the related request from the convenience store.

Beer, wine sales a possibility for Naperville gas stations?

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