BLOOMINGTON — The Bloomington City Council will take a look at whether it should restrict alcohol sales near daycare centers and preschools.
The city liquor commission already recommended the change, which would add daycare centers and preschools to a current ordinance that prohibits the sale of alcohol within 100 feet of the property line.
The proposal could be considered by the council later this month.
All current liquor license holders would be grandfathered in, said Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner, commissioner of the three-member liquor panel.
If approved, the language would impact plans for a proposed Circle K convenience store that would sell alcohol and provide video gambling machines. The store is located next door to La Petite Academy, near the intersection of Hershey and General Electric roads.
“I am concerned because 100 feet from a school or daycare center isn’t much,” Betty Toland told the commission. “I have grandchildren that go to Washington Elementary School. Our home lot is 110 feet and I would hate to think that a liquor establishment could go next door to our house. I would prefer it to be something closer to 300 feet.”
Jim Grossman of Bloomington expressed concern for families in the Hedgewood neighborhood, next to the proposed store.
“Alcohol plays a large role in criminal activities and violence,” he said. “I don’t think we should expose the children and adults of schools, churches and daycares and preschools to this type of threat.”
Grossman said police have documented a number of crimes on Rainbow Avenue, which is near the proposed store.
“The sale of alcohol next door to a school or daycare or church creates a very unsafe condition for the children and the adults who work or attend these locations,” he added.
The proposed convenience store was on the council agenda in February, but the council sent it back to the planning commission to re-consider a front setback. Messages to the company’s Heartland Division headquarters in Lisle were not returned.
“We have received communication from some developers concerned that this might prohibit development,” Renner said. “That is about the only negative that I have received.”
Commissioners Jack Bataoel and Lindsey Powell agreed they could support the non-binding recommendation.
“It really comes down to kids and their safety and that is the future of our community,” Bataoel said. “I don’t think I can go against something like that.”