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Long-awaited development, changes to liquor code discussed by Wheaton City Council

Published: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 4:08 p.m. CDT

WHEATON – Although the Wheaton City Council spent much of its time Monday night discussing a controversial development on Farnham Lane, it also addressed two other notable issues.

In January 2006, the council adopted an ordinance to allow for a planned unit development at 1764 Wiesbrook Road to subdivide the property into four single-family lots and a public utility substation.

Since then, the development has stalled, with contract purchaser David Weekley Homes citing the severe downturn in the real estate market as the cause for the delay.

On Monday, the council asked City Attorney James Knippen to draft a re-extension of the application, and David Weekley Homes representative John Morgan announced construction of the properties could begin as soon as this year.

Morgan said development would start once the company received site work permits, so long as they came before winter.

“If we can get it before Thanksgiving, we’ll start development as soon as possible, and we plan to build all four homes at that time,” he said.

In addition to a vote on the development, the council also may choose to continue its recent string of city liquor code relaxations, pending a vote on a request from a Wheaton 7-Eleven store.

Currently, the code does not allow the sale of alcohol within 100 feet of any church, school, hospital or home for the aged or indigent persons, according to city documents. The distance is measured between the nearest parts of each building.

The code poses a problem for 7-Eleven, 326 W. Liberty Drive, within 100 feet of St. Michael’s Parish Center, which is used as a preschool. At the nearest point, they are about 70 feet apart, although the public doors of both are more than 100 feet away from one another.

State statute on the issue is less strict than Wheaton’s. It requires the same 100-foot distance but will grant licenses to businesses where the sale of alcohol is not the principal focus. 7-Eleven submitted a proposal for consideration to align the statutes at the council’s May 27 planning meeting. City staff contacted St. Michael’s Church, according to city documents, and the church is seeking input from its diocese.

The council will not formally meet again until July 7, giving the city time to obtain input from the church before a vote, according to City Manager Don Rose.

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