Hookah bar in Edgebrook approved
by BRIAN NADIG
The Zoning Board of Appeals at its Aug. 16 meeting approved a special use to allow a hookah bar inside a cigar shop in Downtown Edgebrook.
The special use approval includes several conditions which Elite Cigar Lounge and Hookah Bar at 6416 N. Lehigh Ave. must comply with.
At the meeting, residents and projects officials agreed that an outdoor patio on the site would not be used and that a license to sell marijuana at the store would not be sought, project attorney Paul Kolpak said.
In addition, daily operating hours would be from 10 a.m. to midnight, with the stipulation that patrons cannot linger inside the shop past closing time, Kolpak said. The conditions were read into the record at the meeting, he said.
On Aug. 7 members of the Edgebrook Community Association met with the hookah lounge owners to discuss concerns raised by area residents. Some residents reportedly were worried about noise and the effects of secondhand smoke if patrons were allowed on the patio, but use of the patio was later dropped from the proposal.
The owners reportedly told residents that sales would be restricted to tobacco products and non-alcoholic drinks.
A cigar shop has previously operated on the Lehigh site, and hookah use was advertised on the front of the building and on an adjacent banner prior to the special use approval. Special uses are often required for types of businesses, including liquor stores and massage parlors, which typically generate community concerns.
The city’s zoning codes classifies cigar use and hookah use differently, as a special use is not required for a cigar lounge even though they are both forms of smoking, Kolpak said.
Hookah involves the use of a tube which is connected to a bowl of water or other liquid through which the smoke is drawn and cooled.