Oppose the Location of Proposed Michigan Avenue Cannabis Dispensary at 1420 S Michigan

Oppose the Location of Proposed Michigan Avenue Cannabis Dispensary at 1420 S Michigan

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Julie Emms started this petition to City of Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals

Michigan Avenue Dispensary, LLC (aka Midway Dispensary) has applied for a special use permit for an adult-use recreational cannabis dispensary to be located at 1420 S. Michigan Avenue.  We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens who urge our leaders to act now to stand firm that it is not a suitable site for the proposed dispensary.

OVERVIEW:

The facility being proposed will be located on the same block as Old St. Mary’s School and Church (OSM), a pre-school through 8th grade elementary school with over 500 children. While it does comply with the Zoning Ordinance of being at least 500 feet from a school, it is just 8 feet beyond the minimum requirement.  The dispensary location would stand 508 feet from Old St. Mary's School.

SAFETY CONCERNS:

This facility is not in the interest of the public convenience and will have a significant adverse impact on the general welfare of the neighborhood and community.  It puts in jeopardy the safety and security of OSM students.  It will be a heavily fortified and secured business location that uses significant safety measures to protect its cannabis products and its employees using sally ports, security buzzers to permit entry, cameras, and armed guards.  It would share the same alley as the church and school. They expect to have, on average, three cannabis deliveries per day, all delivered in the alley assisted by armed security and not scheduled nor disclosed to the dispensary until minutes before due to the high risk of theft as cannabis products are regulated, valuable and easy to resell.  Once the products arrive, the owner plans to use armed security to protect the cannabis products as they are moved from the vehicle to the storefront.  These deliveries will take place a few hundred feet down the same alley that students may be playing at recess or being dismissed.  If something goes wrong with a delivery such as theft or attempted theft, there are only two ways out of that alley - one is near the dispensary, and the other is by OSM. 

This location will not promote pedestrian safety and comfort.  Two businesses operate sidewalk cafes just to the north of the location.  When these tables are occupied and being serviced, the pedestrian right-of-way is already negatively impacted.  Add to that 30+ customers per hour for 10 hours per day for the proposed dispensary plus hundreds of students, parents, and guardians waking to and from school and church activities, equaling an overly congested sidewalk putting the students at greater risk during a botched delivery attempt while walking past the dispensary.

PARKING & TRAFFIC CONCERNS:

This location is not compatible with the character of the surrounding area in terms of operating characteristics, such as hours of operation and traffic generation. The facility is located directly on Michigan Avenue. Traffic concerns include double parking, restricted flow of traffic, increased traffic on an already main thoroughfare. The owner estimated around 30 customers per hour visiting their dispensary without any parking options except metered spaces along Michigan Ave.  He states they are looking at area parking garages for potential spots. Thirty customers per hour for ten hours per day (10am - 8pm) for seven days per week equals over 2,000 extra customers and many more cars with nowhere to park.  The double parking problem we have on Michigan Avenue is already a huge problem, and with this added safety risk, the flow of traffic will be restricted on an already busy thoroughfare.   Additionally, the first parking lot one would find heading south past the dispensary is Old St. Mary's.  Old St. Mary's is sure to be negatively impacted during the week and especially weekends with customers trying to utilize this private parking lot.

COMMUNITY IDENTITY:

This facility is not compatible with the character of the surrounding area. The immediate area is home to many families. We want establishments in the South Loop where we can patronize with our children. The inherent risk of a facility of this type at 1420 S. Michigan would have a corrosive effect on the neighborhood as it does not align itself with the community's identity and values.

In summation, we feel this location poses an unnecessary security risk, and we strongly urge the Zoning Board of Appeals to deny Michigan Avenue Dispensary a special use permit for an adult-use recreational cannabis dispensary at 1420 S. Michigan Avenue.

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