Canna dispensary-spa plan OK'd

Scott Weiner, Dr. George Chiampas and Hanah Jubeh at the Jan. 6 EVA meeting, Members voted not to oppose a cannabis dispensary in East Village.

East Village Association members on Jan. 6 voted unanimously not to oppose a recreational marijuana dispensary in the neighborhood. Scott Weiner, Dr. George Chiampas and Hanah Jubeh discussed their cannabis spa concept, which would need licensing and zoning approvals.

The planned location is 1914 W. Chicago Ave., adjoining Weiner's West Town Bakery and Roots Pizza restaurants. Sports physician Dr. George Chiampas would operate the medical component, expanding the building to accommodate salt-water baths and spa facilities. The plan likely would require a change to C1-2 commercial zoning.

The Andersonville medical marijuana business Dispensary 33 would manage marijuana sales. Nikki Hayes and Dr. Charlesnika Tyon Evans have filed with the state to provide job training as a the required social equity applicant. A fine dining restaurant, which could not serve cannabis, is no longer part of the initial plan.

The vote came the same day the Logan Square dispensary Moca Modern Cannabis was burglarized. As a cash business, a dispensary is a target, Weiner admitted, though banking regulations may change. "The security plan we've written is legitimate," Weiner said.

All these plans hinge on winning one of the limited number of licenses for recreational marijuana sales, Weiner stated. EVA's planning committee has outlined concessions Weiner offered on the dispensary's operation, which he hopes will give his bid an advantage in securing the license. East Village is in the city's west district, which will get up to 7 special use permits, and potentially 14 starting May 1.

The meeting included a discussion of future EVA initiatives. Suggestions from members included a dog park, traffic and parking provisions along Augusta Boulevard, Division Street and Chicago Avenue, future scooter restrictions and postal service reliability. President Michael VanDam encourages residents to reach out with more ideas.

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