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Homewood board again refuses to vote on liquor license request

It was strike two for Raj’s Food & Liquor Inc. Tuesday when a motion to issue a liquor license at the proposed store location, 17532 Dixie Highway, died for the lack of a second.

It was the second time the Homewood Village Board did not take a vote on the liquor license. The refusal to act on the request was a repeat of the board’s response at the Nov. 8 meeting.

A motion was made by Trustee Karen Washington to approve the license, but when Mayor Richard Hofeld called for a second, the other five trustees sat silently.

“Lacking a second, the motion dies,” Hofeld said.

Balwinder Kaur, owner of Raj’s Food & Liquor, Inc., was requesting a Class 2A 70/30 liquor license, which would require that 70 percent of floor space is used for food and grocery products, with 30 percent dedicated to liquor.

Currently, Homewood does not have a Class 2A 70/30 license. Approval of the license request would require an amendment to the Municipal Code with an ordinance creating the new classification.

Attorney Jonathan R. Haddad, representing Kaur, asked Hofeld if his client could return again with a request for a liquor license if he is able to provide another revision of his business plan.

“He can come as many times as he wants,” Hofeld said.

At the Nov. 8 meeting, board members were not happy with Kaur’s first proposed business plan, stating that the village did not want another liquor and tobacco store.

Prior to Tuesday’s unsuccessful motion, Haddad pleaded his client’s case by presenting a letter and revised floor plan, and describing what Kaur wants to accomplish with his family business in Homewood.

“He is asking the board to be open-minded,” Haddad said. “He wants to work with you and has revised the image of the store.”

The village board recently revised rules on liquor licenses. Purchasing an establishment with a liquor license does not automatically transfer the license to a new owner. That change is what has forced Kaur to petition the board for a liquor license.

Kaur’s intention is to purchase the strip mall near 175th and Dixie Highway, which includes United Liquors and spaces for four other stores. United Liquors and one of the other store are open; the others are vacant. Kaur plans to update the building and bring in new tenants, Haddad said.

“He wants to be a part of the community,” Haddad said. “He operates a small family business, with two other successful stores and he wants to bring his business to Homewood.”

The new plan would comply with the proposed 2A liquor license, Haddad said.

“The liquor and tobacco products would be enclosed and behind the counter,” he said.

However, Washington questioned the revised floor plan as presented by Haddad.

“At our last meeting we told Mr. Kaur that the liquor and tobacco products would have to be behind the counter and enclosed,” she said. “This floor plan is not reflecting that.”

Haddad apologized and replied that a mistake had been made in preparing the floor plan.

“It will be corrected,” he said.

Asked later if he had any comments about the second liquor license denial, Hofeld replied, “It is all up to the board.”

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