Niles trustees approved the expansion of licensing for gas stations that sell liquor within the village.
The changes eliminate the “sunset provision” in the ordinance and expand the maximum number of liquor licenses for gas stations from two to three.
The amendment originally failed to get passed at a March 25 meeting due to a stalemate caused by Trustees George Alpogianis and Joe LoVerde’s absence. While the board had a quorum that night, when Trustees Rosemary Palicki and Chris Hanusiak voted against the amendment it created a stalemate.
As Mayor Andrew Przybylo holds a liquor license as part owner of The White Eagle, he recused himself voting and moved on to other business with some frustration.
During the discussion before the April 22 vote on the amendment, Palicki said the board should consider going into executive session due to the “personal nature” of the business owner petitioning for the removal of the sunset clause.
Przybylo told her saw no point in doing that.
“The man’s problems are public record,” said Przybylo.
The current owner of the Citgo Station at Dempster and Greenwood is trying to sell the station in a short sale due to financial problems, said a letter the village board received from Liquor Commissioner Linda Schain.
She said the owner of the station told her that he was in the middle of a “messy foreclosure” involving “numerous properties that are all cross collateralized.”
“The real estate market crisis forced the owner in a position where all his properties, including the Citgo Station, are ‘underwater’ and in foreclosure,” said Schain.
In the letter Schain says the station’s current owner has a buyer lined up for all his properties but the sale is contingent on the new owner being able to keep the Citgo Station’s liquor license.
This is why the owner asked the village to remove the “sunset provision” requiring a gas station’s liquor license to be dissolved when its present owners close or sell the business.
Moreover, the newly minted third liquor license is expected be given to the Shell Gas Station at 7235 N. Caldwell Ave.
“We do not sell any alcohol at our location, but we would lie to be able to see beer in the convenience store,” said Robert Stambolic, the station’s owner in letter to Schain.
Only Palicki and Hanusiak voted against the changes to the law.
“If a guy goes to buy a gallon of milk and gets a six-pack, what’s wrong with that?,” said LoVerde.