ROGERS PARK — A moratorium on liquor sales for part of Devon Avenue that was lifted two years ago is set to partially go back in place if Ald. Joe Moore's (49th) request gets the final City Council approval Wednesday.
In 2015, a 20-year ban on taverns and liquor stores on Devon Avenue was lifted from Ravenswood to Broadway with the support of Moore, Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) and Ald. Pat O'Connor (40th), all of whom have a stake in the street. The moratorium was lifted to make way for a brewpub that ultimately fell through.
Now Moore has proposed to reinstate part of the ban that would forbid businesses from selling pre-packaged items containing alcohol — essentially stopping liquor stores from opening on the stretch.
But he did not ask to re-implement the rule that would ban businesses from selling and serving alcohol on the premises, such as bars or restaurants.
The change, which was approved last week by the city's Committee on License and Consumer Protection, would affect the north side of Devon between Broadway and Greenview Avenue.
Moore said he inherited the moratorium when he became alderman and was "not a big fan" of liquor bans that could stifle potential business.
"I'm not a big fan of moratoriums on liquor for taverns because, personally, I think that sends an anti-business message to responsible business owners who are looking for neighborhoods in the city to locate in — and I don't want to send that message," Moore said.
Still, he wants to reinstate part of the ban because the alderman said he viewed liquor stores and the like as "less of an economic stimulus."
But Moore said some businesses that sell alcohol could benefit the public if operated under the right ownership — like Super Mercado Roman at 6978 N. Clark St., where Moore is simultaneously working to lift a moratorium on new licenses to sell alcoholic packaged goods.
The business has been owned by the Roman family since 1987 and has been at the corner of Clark and Lunt since 1995, city records show.
A long-time employee of the mom-and-pop grocery store recently bought the business and now must get the store's liquor license in her name. Because it would be a new license, the ban would need to first be lifted.
The moratorium would be lifted on Clark Street between Pratt and Lunt.
"It's a classic immigrant success story," Moore said. "I have no reason to suspect this person wouldn't be" as responsible with the liquor license as the previous owners, he said.