December 19, 2014

Council Update

A new type of liquor license for pharmacies is now in the books, but its benefits will not currently extend to those in the downtown area.

This decision comes after Walgreens Pharmacy sought to sell liquor in their downtown Naperville store.

Council voted 6-1 against that proposal, arguing that new sales would only add to drinking issues in the city.

“A problem that we do have in the downtown is this ‘pre-gaming’, people drinking, especially people that don’t have the money to spend in our bars who drink a lot, maybe in our parking lots or our parking decks,” said Judith Brodhead, Councilwoman for the City of Naperville.

Many council members agreed that Walgreens and any other stores in downtown should first show that problems haven’t grown from liquor sales in their stores.

“The burden shouldn’t shift to us, it should shift to them, and a year from now they can come back clean if they’ve had no violations and have not had violations of underage purchasers in their other nine stores and then be able to establish to us, ‘look we’ve proven ourselves.’ Let’s do it this way other than giving them the benefit of the doubt now just because there’s some self interest,” said David Wentz, Councilman for the City of Naperville.

The lone dissenter, Councilman Hinterlong thought Walgreens should be given the benefit of the doubt.

“I don’t see why the burden should be on Walgreens, not at all. I don’t think we should tie their hands. They haven’t done anything wrong to deserve it, the problems have been in the bars, not the packaged liquor stores,” said Paul Hinterlong, Councilman for the City of Naperville.

Though sales will not be allowed in downtown, Walgreens’ other nine Naperville locations are still able to apply under the new licensing rules.

In other news, a first reading of proposed amendments to the Downtown 2030 plan was discussed, which would change zoning for houses just north of the downtown border.

This change would require that new homes get approval for a conditional use, opening the door for the possibility of commercial businesses to move in. But not everyone was on board with this proposal.

“Every owner is going to up-zone their property, that makes it more expensive, a slightly absurd example that I use is, I live on a corner, if I could get my two next door neighbors to sell, let’s put a gas station in there. There’s not one anywhere near by. Why is that a bad idea, because it’s a bad idea that’s why,” said Joseph McElroy, Councilman for the City of Naperville.

The discussion on the Downtown 2030 developments will continue at the next city council meeting.

Finally, one last bit of business ran by the council was by the Co-Directors of the Edward Hospital Marathon and Half Marathon.

“We just wanted to say thank you to the City of Naperville for helping us for being gracious hosts for all of our runners this year. Naperville was the top growing marathon and half marathon in the country,” said Craig Bixler, Co-Director for the Naperville Marathon and Half Marathon.

The group gave the council a few gifts for their involvement with the run this year. Adding it all up, close to two thousand runners joined together, raising a total of $267,000 for charities alone.


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