A number of discussions have taken place over the last couple of weeks and I'm writing to provide a brief update.
Once the application has been submitted, it will be possible to start the protest petition process. The initial letter of protest will require no less than 10 property owners or 10 tenant/occupants (within the Petition Circle) to sign. I am not expecting that to be an obstacle.
There have been some very vocal people in the community (via social media sites like Nextdoor and Facebook) outside of the petition circle who are loudly in favor of the license and expansion going through. LPNA and Alderman Vaccaro are listening and wish to take action to let them be part of the conversation. To that end, I have been told LPNA plans to organize an informational meeting led by Alderman Vaccaro. It will be open to the public and Circle K will present their project and answer questions. I think everyone in the petition circle should attend, listen to what is being said, and ask necessary questions. Keep in mind there may be people attending who may feel it is their right to pressure people in the petition circle to approve the liquor license. I would ask anyone in the petition circle to refrain from making a permanent decision (e.g. sign the liquor license) until after the next meeting (below). The LPNA meeting date, time, and location aren’t set yet, but will likely be the week of April 11th.
Finally, for the people in the petition circle to have a candid conversation without the influence of people who do not have the authority to decide, I’ve asked Community Mediation Services to mediate a meeting of only people in the petition circle. I will do my best to invite everyone in the petition circle to attend and be given the opportunity to be heard. If things go well, we may have both petitions present for attendees to sign for or against the liquor license. Again, the meeting date, time and location aren’t set yet, but will likely be either the week of April 18th or 25th.
- Circle K plans to start their liquor license process soon
- Shortly after that, the letter of protest will be submitted
- LPNA plans to organize an informational meeting open to the public for Circle K to present their project and answer questions
- I plan to organize a Petition Circle-only meeting moderated by Community Mediation Services
This sounds like the best way for all sides to be heard as well as create an environment where the decision makers don’t feel threatened or coerced.