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Parking still at forefront of banquet facility opening downtown

Two events already scheduled for late September

Plans are still on track to put a banquet hall in the old Plainfield trolley barn, though village officials remain leery of downtown parking logistics.

At the Aug. 26 meeting, overwhelmingly supported having the village attorney prepare an ordinance to approve banquet use for The Sanctuary, 24216 W. Lockport St.

Once the paperwork is drawn up, owners Mark and Nancy Clayton are hopeful permission will be granted at the next board meeting as a wedding and farmer’s market event are already scheduled for late September.

“Why did you book these events when you haven’t gotten the permit,” Trustee Margie Bonuchi asked Nancy Clayton.

Bonuchi was the only vote against preparing the approval documents.

“My clients filed for the permits before retaining (legal) counsel and I don’t think they anticipated it would take this long,” Attorney John Argoudelis said.

If approved, the Sanctuary will contain a 200-seat banquet area in the west half of the building. The nearby Sovereign restaurant is also moving into the old trolley barn.

Banquet guests will be directed to park near Larry’s Diner — one-third of a mile down the street — and take a shuttle bus to the Sanctuary.

“Thirteen people at a time (in the bus). There’s going to be a lot of waiting,” Trustee Cally Larson noted.  

The Claytons hope the banquet facility will host two or three events each week.

“One of the things that gives me pause for this project is what will happen if people don’t adhere to the off street parking plan,” said Director of Planning Jonathan Proulx. “We do have a responsibility that any business that comes in doesn’t have a negative impact on the town.”

The Sanctuary has arrangements to use spaces at Larry’s for five years — though since that property is for sale, those spaces could be eliminated at any time.

“We know this first year is going to be a learning curve for what works,” Argoudelis said. The banquet facility’s liquor license will be tied into business impact and is not automatically renewed, village attorney Jim Haney said.

“How do we come back a year later and pull their license,” Bonuchi asked. “We’ll say they’re taking up all our spots and they’ll say prove it. You have no way to manage, really, the guests that come. They’ll park where they can.” 


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