The deadline to apply for a special use permit from Will County was today, and director Dan Stinnett said he doesn't have the money to do so. With The Hub closed for the summer, the issue shouldn't go further—into the courts—unless it reopens later, still without a permit.
However, private events that are booked at The Hub over the summer could bring action from the State Attorney's Office. Curt Paddock, director of Will County Land Use Department, said there are very strict uses zoned for that property.
Stinnett said a church rents out The Hub for Sunday morning service, and there are some private birthday and graduation parties already booked there this summer. If those continue, Paddock said he would send that information to the State Attorney's Office because the events would be in violation of county zoning laws.
"There are very explicit statements about the type of permitted uses," Paddock said. "The activity that would describe the use of The Hub is not one. And if we have any evidence of any type of private events we will be sending that to the state attorney."
For Stinnett, though, that's a problem—the application alone for a special use permit is $3,750. For this nonprofit—which struggles to makes ends meet as it is and sometimes even lets kids into concerts for free if they don't have money—that's a tall task.
"How can they expect me to pay for things they want me to do if I can’t have the events that I make money from?" he said.
However, it's not technically Stinnett's responsibility to pay for the permit, it's his father's. Stinnett's dad owns the property and rented space to The Hub, and Paddock said the property owner is responsible to adhere to zoning classifications and apply for special uses. And although Stinnett said his father could certainly afford the application, he doesn't want to get involved.
"I wouldn’t want to cross that line, he’s already done so much for us," Stinnett said. "We have to act as our own independent organization that can survive on its own."
If The Hub were to re-open in the fall with out permitted special use, it would likely go to the courts. However, if it opens again after submitting an application for the special use permit, Paddock said a judge would likely suspend a ruling until the permit was granted or denied.
Stinnett said he's sent letters to the Will County Board and county executives to ask for support and possibly extend an application deadline. In the meantime, though, The Hub will remain closed for the summer and the disputed uses will be any private events.
In the fall, Stinnett is hoping to organize fundraisers that would allow The Hub to apply for the permit and open again. He said there could be a charity golf event at Sanctuary Golf Course, though he's still finalizing details. Residents interested in making donations to The Hub can go to www.lwhub.org or call Stinnett at 815-717-8002.