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McHenry City Council rejects conditional-use permit for cafe

McHENRY – The City Council voted down a conditional-use permit for a new business that sought to offer video gaming to customers.

The council voted, 4-2, Monday night to deny the permit in spite of support from the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission and administrative staff. Alderman Victor Santi and Alderwoman Geri Condon voted to grant the permit.

Owner Robert Dellutri of Aurora sought to establish a business with video gaming terminals at 4400 W. Elm St. in the McHenry Market Place Shopping Center on Route 120. Dellutri described the business, which would serve beer and alcohol, more as a cafe than a tavern, comparing it to stores of Seattle-based coffee giant Starbucks.

“It’s catered toward mature people,” he told the council. “We don’t want it to be loud and obnoxious in there.”

The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission on Oct. 18 voted, 5-2, in favor of the permit to allow the business. And last week in a memo to the council, the city’s administrative staff recommended approval of the permit.

Last summer, the City Council approved an amendment to allow video gaming at liquor-licensed establishments. Alderman Andy Glab cast the lone no vote.

On Monday, Glab said he believed the council’s intention in adopting the amendment was to help existing businesses that were suffering financially, not to open up new places for video gaming.

Alderman Jeffrey Schaefer, who said he talked with residents about the proposal, echoed Glab.

“The thing that has brought up the most concern was ... having an establishment come in just for the video gaming.”

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