ALGONQUIN – A proposed restaurant and cidery along North River Road has some people concerned about the traffic it would bring to the area.
Marla Boender and Loren Boender, a mother and son, want to build Oktober Wolfe Cidery and Wolfe Restaurant on three acres at 120, 207 and 299 N. River Road.
The Boenders want to have an 8,100-square-foot restaurant that will serve traditional hard cider along with its food. The restaurant would have a bar that would close at midnight Tuesday through Thursday, at 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday and at 4 p.m. Sunday, according to village documents.
The owners hope to work with local farmers who would supply fresh produce and meat. The restaurant may grow its own herbs and vegetables on the rooftop, according to village documents. There would be live music on the weekends and a disc jockey or music in the bar area on weekdays.
The restaurant plans to have more than 65 employees, with about 20 people working at one time. In the 16,000-square-foot cidery portion of the business, the owners plan to have a distillery producing hard ciders, non-alcoholic ciders, meads and liquors.
Oktober Wolfe would offer tours of the cidery, tastings and retail sales of their ciders and liquors and employ about 10 people. The cidery is proposed to operate from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with additional evening hours on Fridays and Saturdays for tours and tastings.
Village Senior Planner Katie Parkhurst said the area is listed for mixed used, predominantly residential in the comprehensive plan, but the recently adopted downtown plan encourages more commercial development along the river.
The restaurant portion would be on the west side of River Road, next to the Fox River, on land zoned for commercial use. The property on the eastern side of the road is zoned for residential use.
The developers are asking for “old town” district zoning, which is for new development in current standards but respectful of the nature of historical downtowns, Parkhurst said.
This week, the Planning and Zoning Commission, which makes recommendations on use of properties among other things, did not make a formal recommendation to the Village Board.
The Historic Commission, which is charged with making recommendations on historical preservation and safeguarding the aesthetic heritage of the village, gave a thumbs up to the project.
Developers plan to demolish two vacant houses, a garage and a boat house.
Oktober Wolfe would have about 100 parking spaces to serve both buildings, with a majority being on the east side of the road.
There will be sidewalks and a crosswalk across North River Road that would lead patrons from the parking lots to the restaurant, village documents say.
The Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District has concerns about the location, according to a letter sent from Fire Prevention Bureau Director Mike Murphy.
Murphy wrote that traffic trying to turn north onto River Road from eastbound Algonquin Road already has long wait times. He added that when westbound Algonquin backs up, cars turning onto River Road have their line of sight blocked.
“This is a great layout and design and would definitely add to the downtown/river front area, except for the location,” Murphy wrote. “The Fire District and police often respond to the intersection of Algonquin Road and River Road due to traffic accidents. ... Adding more traffic to this already-congested area plus pedestrians attempting to walk across River Road really needs to be reconsidered.”
Police Sgt. Jeff Sutrick, the traffic unit supervisor, wrote in a staff memo that there would be concern about noise coming from the property.
“Traditionally the police department has dealt with numerous noise complaints when bars are placed in or near proximity to residential properties,” Sutrick wrote. “In addition to the noise created from the music, there is additional noise that comes with patrons outside who are loud, which usually bothers local residents.”
Neil Costello lives on North Hubbard Street, and he objects to the proposed project because of the potential traffic issues, runoff from the restaurant for when owners add more pavement and noise.
“Would they like to put a cidery in their own residential area?” Costello said.
He offered the corner of Routes 31 and 62 in the Riverside Plaza as a better location. Costello expects Oktober Wolfe to draw a lot of interest if it opens.
“It’s a beautiful building, in the wrong spot,” Costello said.
A phone call to the Boenders was not returned.
Village Board members are scheduled to discuss the proposed restaurant and cidery at its Committee of the Whole meeting on Aug. 27.