New pawn shop likely coming to North Avenue

Zoning board votes 3-1, gives go-ahead for latest hock shop in Galewood

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By Ellyn Fortino

AustinTalks.org

Some Galewood residents' concern that a half-mile stretch of North Avenue could soon be known as "pawn shop row" may become reality.

Chicago's Zoning Board of Appeals voted 3-1 on Jan. 18 to approve plans for an EZ Pawn store just west of Narragansett Avenue at its Jan. 18 meeting. The public learned of the decision Wednesday when offices re-opened after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

The store is set to be the fifth pawn shop clustered along North Avenue between Ridgeland and Hayes Avenues. EZ Pawn has come under fire from Ald. Nicholas Sposato (36th), whose ward would house the store, and West Side residents who took to their local CAPS meeting this week to voice their concerns.

"I'm very, very disappointed," Sposato said after hearing the news Wednesday.

The alderman said he plans to appeal the board's decision and is looking into legal counsel. Objectors have 35 days after the board issues a resolution, which can take up to 60 days, to file an appeal to the Cook County Circuit Court, according to the Zoning Board of Appeals' office.

"We'll see where we can go from here," Sposato said. "I don't give up that easy."

The decision came as a shock to Sposato, especially after a city planning and urban development committee sided with the alderman and about 30 residents of his ward at a special hearing that took place on Jan. 18.

"We felt we gave a good case," the alderman said.

The committee did not recommend a special use permit for another pawn shop in that section of North Avenue, but said a final decision would be up to zoning board.

EZ Pawn approached Sposato roughly a year ago about opening the business, the alderman said at Tuesday' CAPS meeting in Galewood.

Sposato told EZ Pawn 'no' after hearing widespread opposition from his constituents, but said that a year later it's come back and "reared its ugly head."

Read more of this story from our partners at AustinTalks.org.

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