ROGERS PARK — Liquor store mogul Pradeep Patel's bid to open a new shop in the same storefront that had been occupied by Isam's Liquor Store for 30 years until it closed last month just got a little trickier.
Patel will need a special use permit from the city's Zoning Board of Appeals and a zoning change from City Council.
The council had voted unanimously in September to lift the liquor moratorium surrounding the space at 6816 N. Sheridan Rd. after a contentious battle between Isam's and the building management, which refused to renew owner Sam Sadaqa's lease.
But Ald. Joe Moore (49th) said he didn't realize Patel would not be able to apply for a liquor store business license without the zoning change and permit. Moore said he would hold a public meeting at 7 p.m. Monday to gather community input before moving forward.
"At the time, I believed the only City Council action required of me was my support of an ordinance lifting a moratorium on packaged good licenses on that block," Moore said in a statement.
Under the city's zoning ordinance, a store selling predominantly liquor would need at least a B3 zoning designation and a special use permit. The block is currently zoned at only B1-2.
The snafu isn't the first time Patel has run into trouble with Chicago's zoning.
In July, Patel's liquor store on Clark Street, called Red Violin, was found to be in violation of its liquor license for selling booze as its principal product. Under the terms of its license, it was only allowed to serve liquor as an accessory to groceries.
Patel, who owns 11 liquor stores in the Chicago area, said the Red Violin was the first of his stores in which he needed to apply for an entirely new liquor license.
On Wednesday, he said he's now seeking a special use permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals to continue business as usual.
Patel said he's hopeful that the community would show support for a new liquor store on Pratt Boulevard, which he plans to name "Hops and Grapes," rather than a previously pitched name, "Green Guitar."
"I'm trying to make an investment in the community," he said.