JEFFERSON PARK — A cannabis dispensary in Jefferson Park is inching closer to its planned expansion to a neighboring storefront.
Columbia Care’s dispensary at 4758 N. Milwaukee Ave. filed two special use permit applications with the Zoning Board of Appeals earlier this month, the next step for expansion. In February it received zoning approval to expand to the neighboring storefront at 4760 N. Milwaukee Ave.
There now needs to be a community meeting prior to a hearing with the ZBA for the special use permit, according to a city spokesperson and the city’s Cannabis Zoning Ordinance. A date for the meeting has not yet been set.
The recreational and medical dispensary expansion was set back with a series of delays in the City Council because of concerns from the Black Caucus over the lack of Black- and Brown-owned dispensaries. Ultimately, members voted in favor of the expansion.
Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th), who supports the expansion in his ward, said at last month’s City Council meeting that while he agrees there needs to be more equity in the cannabis industry, the expansion would create about $2.4 million in annual tax revenue and help bring more business to the Jefferson Park corridor.
In his most recent newsletter announcing the special use permit filings, he emphasized the additional revenue.
“This expansion will now generate over $2 million dollars to the city’s revenue, hopefully leaving less of the burden on homeowners to pay an unnecessary increase in property taxes and allow businesses that are thriving to pay their fair share,” Gardiner wrote.
Similarly, neighbors have backed the expansion and previously told Block Club that it would help revitalize the area, bring in more money and provide more jobs.
“We have issues in this neighborhood with