Lake in the Hills trustees won't allow gas station patrons to drink beer, gamble

Village trustees shut down a proposal Thursday that would have allowed a Speedway gas station to allow people to drink beer and video gamble while on-site.

The Illinois Video Gaming Board requires gas station gaming sites to either serve alcohol on-site or be a truck stop. The intent was to allow the gas station, at 2700 W. Algonquin Road, to serve alcohol because the station is not large enough to be a truck stop.

“This is a moral obligation,” Trustee Stephen Harlfinger said. “I can’t in good mind say yeah, let’s go ahead and crack a beer, fill up our tank and play a game. To me, this sounds like bad business. This is nothing against Speedway, you guys have a great establishments throughout the area.”

Trustees expressed willingness Tuesday to work with the station to become a truck stop. The gas station currently lacks spacing due to a 3-acre property requirement.

Resident Jennifer Slater said the gas station is too close to an elementary school to allow alcohol consumption.

“Allowing alcohol consumption there would send confusing and dangerous messages to our students who are otherwise taught that cars and alcohol do not mix,” Slater said. “I have been the victim of a drunk driver at the intersection of Randall and Algonquin. It’s already a dangerous intersection, and we don’t need more drivers drinking and then getting on the streets.”

Resident Anthony Artinghelli said he worried about the station’s proximity to Lincoln Prairie Elementary School and children walking across the street on Algonquin Road.

“It’s a dangerous recipe to think people will always drink and drive responsibly, and I’d hate to learn this lesson when children are involved,” Artinghelli said.

The station would have been remodeled to create a wall that blocked off the five terminals to create an age-restricted gaming room.

People would have the option to buy two beers – 12-ounce Miller Lite and Coors Light cans at $4 apiece – from a locked cooler. Speedway Representative Rachel Shurr said a consumption log would be kept, listing the date and time of the sale, the customer’s name and the employee who sold it.

The intent was not to promote drinking, which is why Speedway set prices high, Shurr said.

Police Chief David Brey had said the proposed safety measures are more than those at other businesses in the community, and the station would be subject to routine sale checks.

Speedway has two truck stops with video gaming nearby in Hampshire and South Elgin, but none serve alcohol on the premises. A Speedway in Willow Springs also has applied for a consumption license.

All trustees voted against the proposal.

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