West Allis — City officials and the owner of Sammy's Taste of Chicago are all relieved that the three-month dispute over Sammy's request to move locations is now over.
Sammy Bohringer, owner of the restaurant that has been at 10534 W. Greenfield Ave. since 1989, asked in March to move the restaurant to 1234 S. 108th St. But the Common Council held up approval until Bohringer moved the driveway at his current restaurant farther from the corner and did some other property maintenance.
The city had ordered the driveway to be moved years ago, and some thought Bohringer was slow in complying not only with that order but with other city maintenance requests.
Alderman Gary Barczak was so miffed that he didn't think Sammy's should be allowed to move to the very visible location on Highway 100, fearing a lax response to any future city property maintenance requests.
Bohringer maintained that the delay in the driveway issue was due to missed communications and other factors that also resulted in missed court appearances and fines.
But as of today, the driveway is moved, all the city's requests complied with, the $13,000 in fines reduced to $1,000 has been paid — and the council has cleared the way for the restaurant to move.
"Yes, I am relieved, but I wish it wouldn't have taken so long," Bohringer said.
"He took care of all his obligations to the city in terms of property maintenance and the fine by the judge," said Alderman Michael May who represents the district where the restaurant is located.
Barczak, who also represents the district, wasn't at the council meeting where Bohringer got the go-ahead.
A higher standard
Because of the past difficulties, however, the city is requiring Bohringer to get a few things done at the new location before he can open. They involve taking down the stand-alone sign, installing landscaping and completing some parking lot work.
"I think I'm being held to a different standard," Bohringer said. Usually, businesses are allowed to open and are given time to get city-ordered work done, he said.
May tended to agree, but the higher standard was for a reason.
"Based on the past history of the property and noncompliance, we wanted him to fix up first," May said. "We don't want to waste taxpayer dollars to get him into compliance."
Bohringer admitted he is partly responsible for the stricter requirements he faces.
May said he is looking forward to the restaurant opening in its new location, predicting it will be an asset to the community.
Bohringer said he will open in September or October, but is shooting for Sept. 1.
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