Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What Do We Need More Of At Wilson And Broadway?

You or I might answer that question... Safety? Cameras? Security? Police Presence?

Apparently Ald. Shiller feels what Wilson and Broadway needs is...

MORE BOOZE! More liquor to go!

Because, you know, there just isn't quite enough drinking in that area yet.

At the last City Council meeting, Ald Shiller submitted an ordinance to lift the package goods (liquor-to-go) license moratorium in the 46th Ward that stretches "On Wilson Avenue, from Sheridan Road to Broadway; and on Broadway, from Sunnyside Avenue to Wilson Avenue."

PO2010-4551 Shiller (46)
License Amendment of Section 4-60-023 of Municipal Code by deleting Subsection 46.3 to allow issuance of additional package goods licenses on portion of W. Wilson Ave and N. Broadway.

Suddenly it becomes clear why Brendan Shiller's cop-suing colleague, who sent out the McJunkin rezoning notice last month, is being so coy about describing in detail the "more kinds of businesses" that a rezoning would allow.

The green dots in Area 46.3 denote a current moratorium on
liquors-to-go that previous residents fought hard to to put into place.
Ald. Shiller's ordinance seeks to delete that moratorium.
(Map source: City of Chicago website)
If this moratorium is lifted, package good licenses will be allowed anywhere on those blocks, including the McJunkin Building, the strip mall behind the currency exchange at Wilson & Broadway, and all along Wilson, between Broadway and Sheridan. We don't foresee many problems there, right?

We must have somehow missed the community meeting announcement about this proposed change to the neighborhood that could have far-reaching implications.

We're also curious how Ald. Shiller plans to get around these rather specific requirements for a liquor license:

Neighborhood sentiment is also taken into consideration; each legal registered voter within 250 feet of a proposed liquor license establishment is notified when an application is filed. In some areas of the City, it may not be possible to obtain a liquor license due to restrictions such as "dry precincts" or moratorium areas that prohibit the issuance of additional packaged goods and consumption on premises licenses. It is also important to note that liquor licenses can not be issued to an establishment within 100 ft. of a school [ahem: Graeme Stewart], church [ahem: Uptown Baptist], hospital, day-care center, home for the aged, or library.
So let's see...
  • No community meeting
  • No inquiries into "neighborhood sentiment"
  • No notification of the neighbors living within 250 feet
  • An area that already has a hard-won moratorium on packaged liquor sales
  • Right across the street from an elementary school
All these factors, as well as the community efforts that activated original moratorium, are ignored, and it goes straight to the rubber-stamp City Council. Typical!

If you feel strongly about this issue, we suggest you politely and courteously contact:
  • Ald. Helen Shiller
phone 773-878-4646; fax 773-878-4920; ward46@cityofchicago.org
  • The City's Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection
phone 312-744-6249; fax 312-744-0254; www.cityofchicago.org/BACP
  • State of Illinois Liquor Control Commission
phone 312-814-2206; fax 312-814-2241; ilcc_info@mail.state.il.us


  1. Ah... ahem. Has anybody applied for a liquor license there?

  2. If it's Aldi, it would explain the front entrance located at the back of the store. City ordinance has requirements on liquor sales being a set distance from a school.

  3. They will need the approval of 51% of all "legal" voters (those currently registered in the area) within 500 feet of the premises (not 250 feet) ...


  4. Is there any chance that a reputable, responsible seller of packaged liquors is locating there to serve all the upstanding citizens that will be drawn to Target via the El at Wilson? Sigh?

    Maybe that liquor store across from Target is moving across the street for better access to Skid Row at Wilson and Broadway?

    Again, SIGH -

    I am willing to protest this, absent better information.

  5. I must say I am shocked and dismayed that the zoning request has been clouded in secrecy. Why not be out front with it.

    Also, is Shiller and her son willing to state publically exactly who has requested this zoning change and what are the legal fees being charged by her son's lawfirm in order to obtain this zoning change.

    Sounds a little cozy to me. Sounds like there may be a straw dog.

    Please remember that even if a purveyor of fine liquors promises that all he/she will sell at this location will be "high end" items, once the liquor license to sell package goods is allowed, the licensee can change the product to "low end" cheap wine and malt liquors.

    Also lifting the moratorium will allow as many licensees as possible along the two block area.

  6. I have friends who are currently involved in a battle to get a package liquor moratorium because of a liquor store in their area that's causing trouble. It's a tedious and expensive process. They estimate it will take two years, $50,000, and require many volunteers' time, and that doesn't guarantee success.

    The fact that people in Uptown went through this long, expensive process to get a moratorium intalled on those blocks tells me that they had a good reason for doing so.

    It disturbs me greatly that Ald. Shiller wants to undo all that work with one ordinance, and she's doing it the way she always does: stealthily, no community input or notice.

    Very disturbing. If the moratorium is lifted, nothing can stop liquor stores from opening, right where the public drinking in Uptown is at its worst.

  7. Is it not too close to a school to be granted a liquor license. I see Truman and some Grammer schools close to both these stores and where is the 51% vote that if taken sould be easy to obtain.

  8. there are probably 5 buildings with residences within 500 feet of that Aldi, including mine, plus Wilson Yard. Might be a decidedly skewed voter bloc

  9. Here's an opportunity for the current four candidates to stand out from the group.

    Who will stand with the community and lead the fight against this?

    Notice how I phrased that?

    Stand with the community.

    That's an old lesson from da first Mayor Daley when he asked people to "let me stand with you".

    It's an important distinction.

    Not "stand with me", but "let me stand with you".

    Damn, if it wasn't for that whole cheerleader misunderstanding I had back in the day I would run. I bet I could get Daley to explode at nearly every council meeting.

    I'd come dressed in a clown suit one month and the next month I'd have on a Groucho nose.

    Also if any of the myriad of candidates is reading this I have another suggestion.

    Forrest Claypool. Whether he beats Berrios or not I can't say. I will predict he will carry this ward though. Time for some of you to align yourselves with him.

    That will take some courage as the various parts of the machine, even St. Toni of Preckwinkle, are supporting Berrios.

    St. Toni was offended that Claypool didn't support her for County Board Prez. Hell, he didn't even vote in da election. Bad move, Forrest.

    While I voted for Preckwinkle over the other three clowns I did it with a heavy heart and a Guinness in my hand. The best of the four or perhaps the least bad.

    Anyway, Run Forrest, Run and redeem thyself.

  10. I think we should put in "liquor drive thrus" so they can shoot at people AND drive over them! LOL...

    (This stuff is so upsetting it is ridiculous).

    Our officials must think we are stupid -- remember that in the voting booth Feb 2011!!!!

  11. I think this post is somewhat misleading. Presumably, this is a two-step process. (1) The moratorium needs to be lifted. This does not automatically grant a liquor license to anyone, which leads us to (2) a business needs to apply for a liquor license.

    The distinction is important, because the liquor license requirements quoted in this post do not come into play until someone actually applies for a liquor license. So there is no requirement that people within 250 feet be notified, or whether it's too close to a school, church, etc.

    That said, I agree that not pursuing community input is a shady way of doing things, since presumably the community has already voiced its opinion by forming the moratorium in the first place.

  12. Wilson & Broadway "Need More Liquor" | http://www.ourstage.com/tracks/RCHECKKOVONE-need-more-liquor