A new business project is on the radar for Belvidere City Council. The owner of the proposed site and alderman discussed the possibility of alcohol sales via drive-thru and what it could mean for the area.
The former Sonic has been vacant for about three years, but property owner George Sabino is potentially planning to turn it into a spot for drive up and walk in alcohol sales. At Belvidere City Council on Monday, alderman heard what Sabino had to say. “If I do anything, it would be packaged only,” said Sabino. “I’m not even sure at this point ,I would want people to walk in and go down aisles. This is strictly going to be packaged goods only where people can come in or drive up.” Some agreed with the business venture, like Fourth Ward Alderman Ronald Brooks who grew up near a similar establishment downstate. “I never knew of any problems that they ever had there, never read anything about problems with it. I think it’s a good idea.”
Meanwhile others, like First Ward Alderman Clayton Stevens has some reservations about the possible plans. Stevens worries clerks may not be able to tell through a quick transactional encounter whether the driver ok to buy alcohol. “I’m concerned about it,” said Stevens. “After almost 25 years with the Belvidere Fire Department, I’ve seen enough alcohol related incidents that I have to be really convinced that this is going to be safe and good.”
Sabino believes this would help keep money in Belvidere and Boone County and avoid potential customers driving by what he believes is a prime location for a business venture, as it’s right off of US Business 20. “All I’m looking for is something that is convenient for people,” said Sabino. “We have to make it as easy for people to spend money in Belvidere and Boone County as we possibly can.”
A special use permit would need to be approved by City Council. As far as the application process, Sabino says his team is still doing research on the full effects of the possibility of having drive-up alcohol sales. Nothing has been set.