- City & Services
- Business & Services
Votes for sale at Logan Square pawn shop meeting?
Rejected at a previous attempt to get an ok for locating AmeriPawn at 2435-39 N. Western Ave., Greg Engstrom of Valparaiso, IN, and Jeff Singer, a former Bucktown resident, and a cadre of other supporters once again presented their redevelopment vision to people in the Logan Square community. Called by Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno's office, the meeting on Mon., Jan. 14, in Haas Park included a lengthy presentation, a question and answer period and a vote. Afterward, a serious question about the veracity of the vote surfaced.
Factually, the issue presented is about a zoning change for the property from manufacturing to commercial or business. The request is for a C-1-2 zoning but in the meeting the potential owners stated that they would be willing to have a B-3-2 zoning. The major difference between a C and B zoning is usage. Residents are more eager to have a B zoning because that excludes taverns and other uses without a special use permit while C allows for taverns "as of right." Regardless of which zoning, a pawn shop will require a special use which would not be granted until after a zoning change.
Since the presenters are interested in this property only if they can have a pawn shop on the site, the meeting was focused on at least partial usage as a pawn shop.
Moreno said that he was neutral about a pawn shop coming in. "I want to hear from the community. It looks as though we have a more robust crowd than before."
Moderated by legal counsel, Jim Banks, Samuel V. P. Banks, who called on a list of advocates, the presentation explained the intent for the redevelopment to have residential units, a medical office, a quick serve restaurant and a retail store. To make these changes, they are proposing a zoning change from manufacturing to C-1-2. Their points were:
- they will be owners and not tenants, thus their outlook is different than tenants
- the area is crying for development
- there is a need for a pawn shop
- redevelopment will bring more money in with property taxes
- many people need a quick loan of between $20 and $100
Also presenting were a retired Chicago Police Detective, explaining how the police department works with pawnshops; a 30-year pawn shop owner turned consultant and author, talking about how such businesses are good for everyone; an Illinois licensed appraiser property values, talking about ordinances; and Engstrom explaining the process and other details of a loan and the transactions.
Audience questions and comments
Many members of the audience were supportive of the redevelopment of the area. Some were more concerned with the building being occupied than what type of business was occupying it.
Some were also supportive of a pawn shop. Several spoke of how they purchase used items for themselves and their families. Some felt that they have not seen any negative impact from other pawn shops in the area.
Mark Heller, who lives within a 2-mile radius, said that he was skeptical when the shop went in at Milwaukee and Richmond. "In 5 years that does not seem to be a magnet for crime."
On the other hand, many local residents expressed a great deal of concern and displeasure at the thought of AmeriPawn going in on Western Ave. "Find another business. Do retail, new and used but not pawn. A $50 loan is for drugs and $100 loan is bail money," commented Tina Lorie, who lives next door to the property.Sally Hamann, Chair of the Greater Goethe Neighborhood Assn. had two major points. One was that the zoning should be B not C because C allows for "as of right" for liquor and tavern businesses. Secondly, she pointed out to the Alderman that if he allowed this pawn shop in, it would be the second one, EZ Pawn, 2134 N. Milwaukee Ave. being the first, that he brought in over opposition from the community at two different community meetings. Having done a great deal of research about pawn shops for months because of EZ Pawn, she said that she has a stack of documents that show why pawn shops bring in crime into other stores and businesses. "I don't care how good this one is, we don't need it, we don't want it."
Moreno responded saying that he supported EZ Pawn because they said they would support a Humboldt Park social service agency, with which he was involved before he was Alderman, that struggles to house 80 homeless men, serves food to men, women and children and that are working on a rehabilitation center that they are moving to the 1st Ward. In addition EZ Pawn said that they would help clean a building that his staff and volunteers were currently helping to clean. "They said they would do that and change their façade. In addition they said that they would put together a scholarship package for Hispanics who don't have money to go to college."
Moreno also indicated that he lives within a few blocks of a pawn shop and that there are three on Milwaukee Ave. that have given him no problems. "I have more problems in the 1st Ward with hot dog stands on Ashland Ave."Singer was asked about the other businesses going into the space. He said they want a restaurant. One resident commented that, "There is no foot traffic in that area and that there is no parking." "We are thinking about that, that is why we are thinking of a carryout business," said Singer. "There will be parking for the residents and the retail." Examples of businesses that interest them are fast foods such as Dunkin' Donuts, Subway, Lou Malnati's carry out, etc. and a dentist's office.
One of several neighbors citing safety issues, Kyla Martensen said,
"You buy into a residential neighborhood, you don't want it turned into a strip mall."
Putting into question the point of the meeting, local resident Vicky Schmidt pointed out that there was no indication that there was to be a vote at the meeting, "If there had been there would no doubt have been more people at this meeting." She also pointed out that there is an online petition against the pawn shop with over 200 signatures which should be considered.
Ballots were handed out that required people to sign their name and address. According to Raymond Valadez, Chief of Staff for Alderman Moreno, the votes will be checked for people in the ward. In addition votes of those who live closer to the project will be given more consideration.
The actual "raw vote" count was 46 to 23 and a petition in favor of the redevelopment was reported to have some 400 names. According to Valadez, he does not have that list.
Following the meeting, long-time resident Joe Kopera reported, "Anyone who signed the petition [in support of the new proposed pawn shop] and showed up at the meeting would receive free drinks at the Mutiny, a bar located across the street from the proposed pawn shop location. The current owner of the building had one of his employees getting the signatures."
This would appear to put into question not only the names on the 400 plus list but also those who voted.
Get Email Updates
Crime Stats & CAPS Beats
- 12th Police District - CLICK
Not Available Larceny 0 Motor Veh Theft 0 Burglary 0 Robbery 0 Aggrav. Assault 0 Aggrav. Battery 0 Homicides 0 Criminal Sex Assault 0 Arson 0
- 14th Police District - CLICK
APR 4 -17: Larceny 24 Motor Veh Theft 10 Burglary 19 Robbery 7 Aggrav. Assault 2 Aggrav. Battery 3 Homicides 1 Criminal Sex Assault 0 Arson 3
- CAPS Beats
07/06/2013 - 11:00am - 8:00pm
07/07/2013 - 12:00pm - 5:00pm