Park Ridge aldermen effectively revoked a permit for a controversial, previously approved adult-use cannabis dispensary June 20 using a technical requirement that the city reauthorize the permit by midnight.
The dispensary, planned for 10 West Higgins Road, attracted substantial public pushback when the city was first approving a special use permit for the project.
Property owner Hubert Cioromski said the construction delays were due to challenges in the Illinois cannabis landscape writ large but that the tenants had their investors lined up and anticipated moving forward in the near future.
He also told council members that he would be open to a shorter extension and suggested 90 days instead of a year, saying he was eager to get an operational business in the space.
“By no stretch of the imagination am I going to wait for another year (for the business to open),” he said.
Just two residents, Susan Kavathas-Annes and Scott Annes, spoke against the renewal of the permit June 20.
“This is your chance to correct the wrong that was done a year ago,” Kavathas-Annes said. “Those of you that voted yes… this is your easy out. They already haven’t lived up to their promises. They already have failed to meet your expectations. Why give them a second chance?”
The aldermen first voted to amend a potential permit renewal to 90 days instead of another 12 months. To renew the permit, they also needed to waive a second reading of the ordinance so that the application could be extended before midnight on June 21.
4th Ward Alderman Harmony Harrington, who opposed the dispensary when it was first up for approval, asked City Manager Joe Gilmore if it was typical that the city waive a second reading on similar matters.
Gilmore said it was not typical.
The council acted, in a 3-4 vote, to maintain the norm of requiring a second reading. Since that second reading would have taken place some time after June 20, the aldermen’s refusal to waive that step in the process effectively strangled the project.
Director of Community Planning and Development Drew Awsumb confirmed that the property owner and the applicants will need to go through the entire approval process again if they wish to get re-approved for the business in that location.
Cioromski later told Pioneer Press he wasn’t tied up in knots about the effective revocation of the permit.
“The city simply changed its mind, it appears, and that’s their prerogative,” he said. “It is what it is.”
However, he said he isn’t sure he wants to start the special use permitting process over again and said he might sell the property instead.
Speaking to the residents’ concerns, Cioromski said he also lives in town and is as invested in the health of the area as they are.
“I’m as concerned about what goes there, about viability and security and safety and tax concerns, as everybody else,” he said.
The city has approved one other dispensary, slated to operate under the name Sociale at 1036 West Higgins Road.
This content was originally published here.