The Oak Lawn Planning and Development Commission wasn't sold on the sheen of a gold-buying store’s request for a zoning variance, deadlocking 4-4.
The public hearing for Midwest Gold Buyers’ zoning request for a special-use permit to open a second store in Oak Lawn was continued to Tuesday night, to give the co-owner and petitioner, Jake Sadoff, a chance to appear before plan commissioners.
According to Sadoff’s proxy, his boss could not attend the hearing earlier this month because he was at a family wedding. Sadoff was a no-show again at Tuesday’s hearing at village hall. The company is requesting a zoning variance for a second store at 6760 W. 95th St. because the area is now zoned for retail only.
MGB store operations director Jerry Lang presented signage mock-ups and photos of jewelry case, as well as a whole new branding concept for an all-in-one store to be named Gold Exchange. The plan was different than the one presented a few weeks ago.
Lang explained that in addition to buying gold, the store would carry high-end costume jewelry retailing for $25 to $35. Originally, the owners planned to start out buying gold before branching into selling fashion jewelry.
The village zoning code does not require a special-use permit to sell gold if retail merchandise is sold. At Tuesday's hearing, it was determined that the zoning code does not specify what percentage of the business must be dedicated to retail.
“You guys wanted to petition for special use because you were only going to start out as gold buying,” Radice said. “This is a way to buck the system.”
Lang said it was a misunderstanding.
“We will have jewelry from day one,” he said.
Pressed on the percentage of MGB’s 70 cash-for-gold stores’ retail sales, Lang guessed that jewelry would make up between 5 and 10 percent.
“It’s a gold-buying store, let’s face it,” Radice said.
“We pump a lot of money in villages and neighborhoods,” Lang said. “People get some money selling their gold and are able to go to all the other retailers to spend it.”
Lang told commissioners that his boss didn’t come to the hearing because, “I had already presented in front of you.”
“We just want the right to compete on that side of the village,” Lang said.
Commissioners reached a stalemate in their vote.
The measure is scheduled to go before the village board Sept. 27 without a stamp of approval from the planning and development commission.
MGB’s zoning request skips a village board meeting to allow the commission’s meeting minutes to be approved so village board members can review them.
Should the board grant a zoning variance, MGB’s Gold Exchange store would be the third gold-buying store within a one-mile radius.
How planning and development commissioners voted:
Steve Radice (chair) - No
John Eggert (vice chair) - Yes
Hasan Kishta - Yes
William Kushnerik - No
Bill Lundy - No
Rich Piazza - Yes
Tim Reilly - Yes
Dave Tebo - No
Commissioner Wayne Gray was absent.