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City approves banquet hall with conditions

The Joliet City Council at a recent meeting approved a variation of use to allow a banquet hall for small parties to operate.

The petitioners, Jaime and Norma Martinez, would like the city council to accommodate a request for a B-3 general business zoning in an R-2 single-family residential zoning district, located at 1214 N. Raynor Ave.

Plans for the 2,095-square-foot, one-story building indicate the intention is to host small parties for celebrations of baptisms, first communions and birthdays.

The site is equipped with an asphalt parking lot. In addition, fencing exists between the banquet hall and the surrounding residential properties.

The Joliet Zoning Board of Appeals previously reviewed the matter at a meeting held last month, at which point several residents took time to voice their concerns. Among the issues noted were noise, parking and the potential for alcohol to be served on the premises.

Still, a petition in support the banquet hall has garnered a number of signatures from residents.

Councilwoman Jan Quillman acknowledged that residents remain concerned the petitioners may pursue a liquor license at a later date.

The Martinez’ indicated at the Joliet Zoning Board of Appeals there will be no alcohol served on site.

Years ago, the site was used to operate a tavern. Around that time, residents experienced problems with the property and its owner. The site has been vacant for a number of years.

Plans for the location since have included requests for a variation of use to allow the operation of a party supply store and a carryout restaurant, both of which were denied by the Joliet City Council in 2017.

In a 6–2 vote, officials decided to approve the petitioners’ request. Voting no were Councilmembers Don “Duck” Dickinson and Quillman.

The banquet hall will be operated on Saturdays and Sundays, from 3 p.m. to 12 a.m.

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