Recently, it was brought to my attention that a Payday Loan store was coming to the community. The site at 8701 S Cottage Grove, which was previously a Michaels’s muffler will be the new home to Speedy Cash. Speedy Cash of Wichita Kansas currently has no locations in Chicago and this choice of locations is puzzling.
When a pawn shop or payday loan store want to open up they must apply for a special use permit. In April 2012, EZ Pawn, a national pawn shop company presented their case to the residents of the 8th and 6th ward at a community forum held at the offices of Michelle Harris, Alderman of the 8th ward and President Pro-tem of the City council. The community was not receptive and although the community said resoundingly NO they decided to plead their case to the City of Chicago Zoning board.
The case was continued until earlier this year and the Zoning Board denied the special use permit for EZ Pawn. The reasons they cited were:
Pursuant to Section 17-13-905 of the Chicago Zoning Ordinance, the Board makes the following
findings with reference to the Applicant’s application for a Special use Permit:
1. The application is not in the interest of the public convenience and will have an adverse effect on the
general welfare of the neighborhood in that the community is overwhelmingly opposed to the establishment
of a pawn shop at the Subject Property;
2. It is not compatible with the character of the surrounding neighborhood as it is incompatible with
the economic development in the surrounding area in that it will have a negative impact on other
3. The proposed project does not contribute or promote pedestrian traffic in that there are at least
four banks within the immediate vicinity of the Subject Property and a pawn shop at the Subject
Property will not contribute to the convenience of those residing in its immediate vicinity.
With the zoning board’s decision on EZ Pawn, why would Alderman Michelle Harris believe that a payday loan store would add to the community. There is an existing location located in the East 1200 block, one at the 8300 S Cottage Grove and three banks in the East 700 block and several church credit unions with a half mile radius.
So why didn’t Alderman Harris host a community forum on this site? Why wasn’t it published in any of her newsletters? Guess to find those answers we will have to wait for her updated D2 statements to be published by the State of Illinois Election commission to find out.