Three massage businesses in Oak Park were shut down last week, at least temporarily, after Oak Park police and Cook County Sheriff's police collaborated on an investigation into alleged prostitution. Other charges included providing massages without a state massage license.
The investigation of the three businesses — on North Avenue, Chicago Avenue and Roosevelt Road — was spurred by complaints from neighbors, made suspicious in part by sexually suggestive signage.
Thanks to the two police agencies. Thanks to residents for keeping a close eye on their neighborhoods. Refusing to accept the creep of dubious businesses into our village is a healthy sign of the self-regard we have for our community.
"Our citizens are vigilant and keep close tabs on their neighborhoods," said Police Chief Tony Ambrose. "When an Oak Parker suspects something is out of the ordinary, they let police know."
Over recent years, Oak Park has sharply restricted the opening of pawn shops in the village. A thoughtfully considered rewrite of local zoning laws, soon to be voted on by the village board, will add protections against illicit massage businesses, too. The recent decision by Taco Bell to withdraw its application to build on Madison Street was based on the special-use permit required for any drive-thru location. And, of course, Oak Park has long been watchful over how package liquor sales are conducted in town, too.
While inevitably the current focus is on the possibility that village leaders might set aside height restrictions set by code at the Albion site on Lake Street, there are also many times when zoning is used effectively to manage the impact of businesses in our community.
Answer Book 2017
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