CHICAGO (CBS) — A marijuana dispensary in Greektown is not even open, yet it’s already getting hit with fines from the city.
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported Tuesday night, the Zoning Board of Appeals will have the final say as to whether the proposed dispensary can go into the space on Halsted Street in Greektown. But first on Tuesday night, the residents had their say.
Greektown is lined with iconic restaurants. Some remain in business, but others are now shuttered, including the former Rodity’s at 222 S. Halsted St.
That site is where the Herbal Health Care Center is looking to open a recreational marijuana dispensary. The company has been operating at 1301 S. Western Ave. for years and won a lottery to open another location.
General manager Michael Mandera led a public meeting Tuesday night to discuss the plan and hear from residents, like cancer patient and dispensary customer Constance Murphy.
“I am grateful that this will be hopefully blocks from my home,” Murphy said at the community meeting Tuesday night, “and I just want to explain to all of you how professional and wonderful this team is.”
But a bright orange stop-work order that has been slapped on the front door of the new Greektown dispensary wasn’t something talked about at the first portion of the meeting.
“All of a sudden, they have a stop order on their door,” said Greektown Special Service Area Commissioner Frank Caputo.
The city has fined the building for completing construction work for which they didn’t have permits.
Nobody would address the stop work order on camera. But a spokesman for the property says the repair violations were done to address unsafe structural problems. The spokesman, John D’Alessandro, said in a statement:
“Months ago, ownership worked in concert with a contractor to renovate the fire-ravaged building for possible tenant use after years of vacancy. During construction, it became clear that the building had unsafe structural issues that needed to be addressed, which, when addressed violated the scope of the initial repair replace renovation permit. Those new permits were filed immediately and are with the city for review. Building ownership is distinct from the two reported lease applicants in entirety.”
But Caputo said: “That’s the city of Chicago. People do whatever they want to do until they get caught.”
Caputo said the building violations demonstrate early on that a dispensary is not a welcome neighbor.
“I think they should bring it somewhere else rather than the middle of Greektown,” he said. “This is not the right place.”
“Here at the Herbal Care Center, our commitment to health and safety will always be our priority,” Mandera said.
Time will tell if the building violations will have any impact on the Zoning Board of Appeals’ upcoming decision on whether or not to allow the herbal care center to call Greektown home.
New renovations permits have been applied for and are under review. Chicago Department of Buildings spokeswoman Mimi Simon explained:
“The Department of Buildings issued a Stop Work Order at 222 S. Halsted St. on July 16, and reposted the Stop Work Order sign on July 27, for work being completed beyond the scope of existing minor repair permits, including the removal of load-bearing walls and mechanical systems on the first floor. Renovation permits with plans have since been applied for and are under review, and the Stop Work Order will be lifted once the permits are issued and associated fines have been paid.”