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Lake in the Hills approves new type of liquor license

LAKE IN THE HILLS – Despite concerns about parking, the Village Board voted, 5-1, to create a new type of liquor license to help a potential new business come into town.

The cafe liquor license allows a business to serve alcohol during the same hours as restaurants that serve alcohol, but would ensure that at least half of the gross revenue comes from the sale of food and nonalcoholic drinks.

Laredo Hospitality wants to open one of its Stella’s Place cafés in a strip mall at 319 N. Randall Road in the space formerly occupied by WineStyles. The business plans to have five video gambling terminals.

The company has applied for a liquor license, and Village President Paul Mulcahy said his decision on whether to approve the license would probably come in August. The company does not have to come back to the board for any other approvals.

Village Trustee Stephen Harlfinger, who voted against creating the liquor license, reiterated his concerns about parking and traffic at the site – and how it could affect other businesses.

The site does have enough parking under village ordinances.

“I’m not against this business by any means,” Harlfinger said. “I’m against the location, for the simple fact it’s going to cause problems.”

He said the strip mall with the former Hollywood Video directly to the south would be a better location.

“I think Hollywood Video’s size would probably better accommodate them and attract maybe a larger crowd,” Harlfinger said. “I think it would do well because it’s still walking distance from the actual movie theater ... and you’re not directly competing neck-to-neck with Starbucks, Noodles [and Company], Little Caesar’s or anything else.”

Trustee Denise Barreto said Harlfinger’s concerns over the business are premature, as the village is still in “wait-and-see” mode to see if Stella’s can bring in the business it thinks it can.

“I don’t want to start a precedent of us not welcoming businesses,” Barreto said.

Trustee Frank Covone said he didn’t have a problem with creating the liquor license.

“I do have issues with the parking, but ... they could have five customers, they could have 500,” Covone said. “I really don’t know how it’s going to go.”

In other action, the Village Board approved a conditional use permit for First Class Towing to be able to store vehicles at 12 Prosper Court.

The company’s office is a building at the location, and cars that have been towed can be stored in a 5,500 square-foot space adjacent to the building. The business will have to add screening to the already existing chain-linked fence surrounding the storage area, according to a memo from Community Development Director Dan Olson.

According to village documents, there would be no more than five or six vehicles stored at the site at one time.

Co-owner Chris Castellonas said he expects to begin storing vehicles at the site by Sept. 1.

In other action: The Village Board awarded its 2013 water main replacement project to Patnick Construction Inc. of Franklin Park for $803,200. The village budgeted $900,000 for the project. Work this year will take place on Hiawatha Drive, Jessie Road and Council Trail, Public Works Director Fred Mullard said. Work is expected to be completed by November, Mullard said.

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