EAST CHICAGO | The City Council has approved a resolution that will allow a Subway restaurant and America's Coffee and Donuts Ice Cream Parlor to open in a vacant building.
Because the building at 4901 Alexander Ave. is currently zoned as a residential property, the council had to approve a petition for use variance.
The council delayed a decision on the matter twice last month.
Third District Councilman Robert Battle had expressed concern over possible loitering in what he said is a high-crime area. Battle suggested opening only a Subway might be a better idea because a coffee and doughnut shop already operates within close proximity.
At-large Councilwoman Benita White-Arnold also said residents in the area were concerned about loitering and drug activity that might occur at late hours.
Battle, in whose district the business would operate, said the business would not be open past 6 p.m., except for a drive-through window that might operate an hour or two later.
White-Arnold said the council wanted to make sure nothing is sold at the location except for food. Council attorney Steve Bower recommended the council adopt language that states the variance is "for this petitioner, at this location, for this use only."
"It doesn't open it up to any other kind of commercial business coming in," Bower said. "If they want to come into that particular area, they're gonna have to come back before the BZA (Board of Zoning Appeals) for a use variance and back to the council."
The council approved the resolution with the added stipulation by a 7-0 vote. At-large Councilwoman Myrna Maldonado and At-large Councilman Juda Parks were not present.
Developer Allan Fefferman said obtaining the variance was the first step in the process and that the business likely will open in the spring.