March 14, 2012 03:20 PM
Demonstrators Target Stone Park Village Board Over Proposed Strip Club
Club has neighboring convent, other residents up in arms, wondering why village officials “gave away the store” in approving project.
By The BGA and FOX Chicago News
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The controversy over a proposed Stone Park strip club is heating up, as roughly 100 demonstrators descended on village hall Tuesday night in the western suburb to protest the project, and the way elected leaders handled it.
The club – to be called Get It – is slated to open on Lake Street just feet from a Roman Catholic convent and near numerous homes, and nuns were among the demonstrators asking the village board to reconsider its previous approval.
The board voted against the club two years ago, then reversed course after the developer sued, alleging, among other things, that a friend of Mayor Ben Mazzulla tried to shake him down. The mayor and the friend denied that occurred.
Even so, following the lawsuit the village capitulated beyond any reason, said an attorney for the convent, Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society, a Catholic legal group.
"They agreed to repeal their ordinance 1,000 feet from a playground, to take it off the books altogether," Breen said. "They gave away the store."
Community members also criticized village officials for not doing more to alert people in the neighborhood to the project before it was approved.
The protestors invited the village to join them in a new lawsuit against the developer – or risk being named as a defendant. The municipal government in Melrose Park, which is adjacent to Stone Park and houses the convent and many of the homes that could be impacted by the club, also is considering suing to halt the project.
Demonstrators presented the village board on Tuesday with more than 2,000 signatures of community members opposed to the strip club, Breen said.
This story was written and reported by Robert Herguth, the BGA’s editor of investigations, and Dane Placko of FOX Chicago News. To contact Herguth, call (312) 821-9030 or email email@example.com