Park Ridge grants Whole Foods special beer, wine license
Updated: November 12, 2012 11:09AM
PARK RIDGE — A liquor license allowing a proposed Whole Foods Market to serve open beer and wine inside the store and on an outdoor patio received final approval from the Park Ridge City Council last week.
The City Council by a vote of 5 to 2 approved on Nov. 7 a Class M liquor license for Whole Foods which plans to open at the southeast corner of Touhy and Washington Avenues. Voting against the license were 2nd Ward Alderman Rich DiPietro and 3rd Ward Alderman Jim Smith.
Sales of open beer and wine will be allowed inside two specific areas of the store and on the outdoor patio between 5 and 10 p.m.
Four neighbors who had objected to both the store itself and the requested liquor license returned to the Nov. 7 council meeting to again express their displeasure and concerns.
“I don’t understand why Park Ridge has been chosen to have a Whole Foods with not one, but two bars inside and one outside,” said resident Irene Ginger.
Smith, who had earlier proposed allowing all retail businesses in the city — from gift shops to groceries — to service open alcoholic beverages, called the Class M liquor license “unfair to small businesses” because it only applies to grocery stores that have at least 35,000 square feet of floor space. DiPietro last month had called upon the city to grant Whole Foods the same type of liquor license that Jewel and Dominick’s have. Neither of those stores have indoor bar areas.
Whole Foods has faced opposition from neighbors since the company announced plans earlier this year to build a store on the site of former office buildings at 225 W. Touhy Ave. and 1 S. Washington Ave. Residents have expressed concerns about traffic congestion in the area.
Whole Foods is also seeking a variance from the city in order to build a retaining wall 1.25 feet from the property line instead of the required 5 feet.