Dance studio’s zoning dispute sparks uproar in Morton

Center Stage Academy of Dance
Center Stage Academy of Dance(WEEK)
Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 10:28 PM CST
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MORTON (25 News Now) - A Morton dance studio has an ‘uneven’ future after a new, second location sparked zoning concerns.

Center Stage Academy of Dance has operated for 20 years on Jefferson Avenue, which is zoned B-2 as a general business. The owner has opened a second location in September, just a few blocks away, also zoned as B-2.

The village now says the second dance studio cannot operate with that zoning classification.

Planning and Zoning Trustee Craig Hilliard says the first location is not in question because it has been there for 20 years.

Now, the village says the new studio needs a zoning change, or change how the studio is zoned, but that was voted down at the village’s last board meeting.

Monday night, more than 50 people came out the planning commission meeting to speak out.

“For me to be in a B-2 for 20 years and open a second location in another B-2, I don’t feel like I did anything wrong,” said owner of the dance studio, Amy Vance.

In Morton, there is no specific zoning for a dance studio.

“Our job as a zoning board, planning commission really what we are, is only for land use. So, we have to keep out all the other things because that’s something the village board can do, we don’t have that power,” said Phil Zobrist, member of the planning commission.

Planning commissioners say they want to specify how dance studios are zoned at their next meeting.

They’ll be discussing, among other things, rezoning the property to B-3 as a highway and service commercial district.

The next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 19.

Until then, Vance says she will keep doing what she loves to do in the meantime...teaching dancing.