CITY HALL — In a decision deferred for a month, the Zoning Board of Appeals denied a special-use permit for a proposed medical marijuana dispensary near Warren Park Friday when the vote deadlocked.
The application of 420 Capital Management to open a medical marijuana dispensary at 6501 N. Western Ave. produced strong opinions on both sides a month ago, but the three members of the board present voted 2-1 in favor.
That constituted a quorum but not a majority of the board, which currently has four members, so the matter was deferred a month until another commissioner could review the evidence presented and cast a deciding vote.
On Friday, with no additional evidence presented, Commissioner Sheila O'Grady returned to cast a vote against the proposal, making it 2-2. She joined Sol Flores in voting against it, while Chairman Jonathan Swain and Sam Toia were in favor. The permit was thus denied with a deadlocked vote.
Some local residents had argued that, while the state statute for the pilot medical marijuana program had not outlawed dispensaries near parks, it clearly banned them near schools, so that should be extended to parks to protect children.
Others countered that there was already drinking and smoking going on in the park, with a gas station selling liquor at the north end of the park, so it constituted no additional threat.
Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th) had expressed concerns, but took no formal position before the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Bob Kingsley, chief executive officer of 420 Capital Management, stated that he intended to make the dispensary "a fortress" and "a tremendous asset to the community."
Yet in the end that failed to sway O'Grady, and so on Friday the permit was denied.
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