Plans for a Starbucks drive-thru near Northwest Highway and Smith Street were rejected Tuesday by the Palatine Village Council.
"It was purely safety," said District 6 Council member Brad Helms, referring to traffic conerns that were raised about the project. Although the vote rejected the drive-thru, Starbucks still could locate in the planned stripmall.
Dean Klein, director of Global Development, said he did not know if Starbucks would go forward without a drive-thru.
"The absence of a drive-thru makes this project less desirable," Klein said. "It would definitely detract from the appeal of this location."
The vote was 4 to 3 with Palatine Mayor Jim Schwantz casting the deciding vote. The decision pleased supporters of Norma's Coffee Corner who celebrated with smiles and hugs in the hallway after the decision.
Although many residents voiced concerns about traffic, several speakers also mentioned the potential impact the project could have on Norma's, 189 W. Northwest Highway. The new stripmall would be about half a block to the west.
"I look at this almost as being anti-small business," said Karen Kabarec, owner of Kabarec Financial Advisors. "Here you are bringing in a large company, yes they will bring in a lot of money. But Norma's been here, we have been here, through the recession and we have last and lasted. And we are also supporting other small businesses."
District 2 Council member Scott Lamerand, who voted in favor of the plan with District 3 Council member Jim Clegg and District 5 Council member Kollin Kozlowski, said the issue was land use.
"The idea of small businesses being penalized within Palatine, [that's] not it at all," Lamerand said. "The property owners have property rights too."
Lamerand said two traffic studies had found the concern was unfounded. He said the plan had met Palatine's zoning requirements and deserved approval.
However, residents opposed to the plan talked about existing issues with turning movements and how the addition of Starbucks would add to those problems.
"The compounding of traffic issues with a drive-thru are going to be ridiculous," said Palatine resident Mark Bisaillon. "This doesn't get better by putting in another drive-thru."
The 7,700 square foot stripmall came before the council because Palatine requires a special use permit for drive-thrus and restaurants. The other tenant, Charley's Grilled Subs, was approved by the council. A third tenant has yet to be determined.
The project has garnered strong public interest. A Palatine Patch poll in November had .
The Northwest Highway Starbucks would be the fourth in Palatine. There already is a located in the Metra Station near Smith and Wood streets. There also is a at 1590 N. Rand Rd. as well as a Starbucks at 679 E. Dundee Rd. inside .