After the owner of UpRising Bakery in Lake in the Hills claimed discrimination, the village says they ordered the business, which was recently targeted in a hate crime, to stop holding events because they were “never permitted” to hold them.
Corinna Sac said she received a letter on Friday following a meeting with the Village of Lake in the Hills.
The letter ordered Sac’s business to stop hosting entertainment events, saying that UpRising was not zoned for them.
The village said they would pursue “appropriate enforcement actions” if the business continued hosting events.
The letter said that municipal code and zoning ordinance violations could be issued against Sac and her landlord. The village also said they could suspend or revoke business licenses.
“We’ve been holding events pretty much since the day we’ve opened. Live music, or paint and sips, cookie making classes and cake decorating classes,” Sac said.
“It is essential for UpRising to be able to host these events. It is what bridges the gap in our daily sales to ensure we can pay our rent, pay our taxes, and pay our employees,” Sac said.
Sac said she feels like this is “discrimination and a conspiracy to interfere with my business.”
In a lengthy statement, the Village of Lake in the Hills said, “This issue is about a business conducting activities it was never permitted to conduct. While the potential revenue from these entertainment events may be attractive to the business owner, the Village is seeking compliance with its zoning regulations.”
The village said in the statement that they received complaints from the property owner and tenants of Cedar Ridge Plaza, as well as nearby residences, regarding loss of business, parking, safety concerns and zoning violations, as a result of the business’ events.
“Ms. Sac stated she now sees the potential revenue from these entertainment events as being essential to her business. She was clear that her intent was to continue offering entertainment on a more frequent and extended basis. Her acknowledgement of this change to her business model, has required the Village to consider the zoning concerns, as the operation of an entertainment business is not a permitted use at that location,” the village’s statement said.
Sac’s acknowledgment of the change to her business model has “required the Village to consider the zoning concerns, as the operation of an entertainment business is not a permitted use at that location.”
Cedar Ridge Plaza is zoned B-2, Neighborhood Convenience Business District, which is defined as, “The B-2 District is established to meet the needs of the immediate neighborhood. It is intended to provide convenience shopping for persons living in adjacent residential areas. Permitted uses shall be those that are appropriate to satisfy basic shopping needs which occur on a frequent or daily basis.”
The zoning designation prohibits entertainment in part due to the close proximity to residential neighborhoods and shared tenant parking.
The village’s statement said they attempted to contact Sac through her attorney to confirm her intent to voluntarily comply with the zoning, which would allow her business to continue without entertainment, but they received no response and issued the compliance letter.
Lake in the Hills Village Administrator Shannon Andrews said the change is not because of the type of entertainment being offered, but the offering of “regular and extended entertainment events as an ongoing part of the business.”
ACLU Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Glenberg said in a letter that, “Village officials initially seemed inclined to support Ms. Sac and her business in the wake of this horrific event.”
“Unfortunately, they have chosen instead to give the person who attacked and vandalized UpRising exactly what he apparently wanted,” Glenberg said.
The ACLU said in a statement that the village “wants to use threats of violence by anti-LGBTQ+ organizations to curtail the bakery’s message of tolerance.”
“This retaliation by the Village is unconstitutional,” the ACLU said.
Late last month, UpRising sustained significant damage early in the morning on July 23.
Officers found broken windows and hateful messages spray painted on the building.
Lake in the Hills officers, along with the Algonquin police sergeant, took Joseph I. Collins, 24, of the 11700 block of South Ridgeway Avenue in Alsip, into custody.
Collins was charged with hate crime, a Class 4 felony, and criminal damage to property, a Class 4 felony.
UpRising was scheduled to host a family-friendly drag show later that same day. Sac canceled the event due to the incident.
Sac said that her business began receiving in-person and online threats earlier last month after they announced they were hosting the drag show where children were welcome to attend.
The Lake in the Hills Police Department said in a statement at the time that their priority is the “safety and constitutional rights of everyone.”
“The Police Department is disheartened this happened in our Village, remain steadfast in our commitment to public safety and have zero tolerance to crimes against all members our community,” the department said.
A GoFundMe account started by a customer of UpRising raised over $15,000 for the establishment following the vandalism.