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Warren Park Medical Pot Dispensary Asks to Be Reconsidered, But Is Denied

By Ted Cox | December 18, 2015 1:05pm | Updated on December 21, 2015 8:19am
 This proposed location of a medical-marijuana dispensary, near Warren Park, has proved to be controversial.
This proposed location of a medical-marijuana dispensary, near Warren Park, has proved to be controversial.
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DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard

CITY HALL — A proposed medical-marijuana dispensary near Warren Park in West Rogers Park asked to be reconsidered for a special-use permit Friday after previously being denied on a deadlocked vote. Yet the Zoning Board of Appeals denied the request unanimously.

Thomas Moore, attorney for 420 Capital Management, which proposes to open a Green Gate Compassion Center at 6501 N. Western Ave., argued before the Zoning Board of Appeals Friday that "you need three [votes] to deny" a special-use permit.

The proposed medical-marijuana dispensary, which has already obtained a state license, faced a contentious hearing in August before the board. Those opposed argued that it would be within 1,000 feet of the park, and that — while that's not illegal according to a state pilot program — it would violate the spirit of the law, which bans dispensaries near schools and day-care centers.

The board voted 2-1 in favor of the permit, but the measure failed because it needed a majority of the five-person panel to vote in favor in order to pass.

In another vote a month later, Commissioner Sheila O'Grady joined Sol Flores in opposing, while Chairman Jonathan Swain and Sam Toia were in favor. The board denied the permit on a deadlocked 2-2 vote, as the fifth seat was vacant at the time.

Moore argued Friday that "you need three to deny," and asked that new Commissioner Blake Sercye to read the transcript of the August hearing and cast the deciding vote.

"It's incomplete and undone at this point," Moore said. "It's the legal way to play out the cards here." He called his proposal the "shortest, most efficient, most fair and most legal way" to resolve the issue.

The board, however, rejected that by a 5-0 vote.

Moore had threatened to bring suit in an appeal for a rehearing and promised to be back before the board with the dispensary proposal.

Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th), who has waffled on the issue, first opposing it, then taking no formal position before the board, did very much the same Friday. She argued against reconsidering the manner, calling it a "procedural" issue, but otherwise declined to take a position on the dispensary pro or con.

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