The village of Lake in the Hills has ordered UpRising Bakery and Cafe to stop hosting any events just a week after the business was the target of an anti-LGBTQ hate crime.
Corrina Sac, the bakery’s owner, announced that upcoming events were being cancelled in a Facebook post on Saturday. She said that with a meeting with village officials on Thursday that the business was not zoned for events and no more could be allowed.
“We’ve been holding events pretty much since the day that we’ve opened,” Sac said in the post. “Live music or paint and sips, cookie making classes and cake decorating classes, what have you.” All events have been family-friendly with no issues. She said the events fill the gap in income on top of bakery and restaurant sales.
“At no time, up until Thursday of this week were we told that our building was not zoned to do any event,” Sac said. “And that there was a concern for how many resources that we are taking from the village. I feel like this is discrimination and conspiracy to interfere with my business.”
The event that created situation was a drag breakfast that had been planned for July 23. The village had received complaints about that. But instead of complaints of parking or noise, the complaints were about children being welcome to the drag event. The local police said that the drag breakfast was breaking no laws. The drag breakfast was cancelled after an alleged Proud Boy from Alsip broke windows on the food storage area and painted anti-LGBTQ graffiti on the shop. The alleged attacker has been charged with a hate crime.
In a press release in response to Sac’s post, the village said it was only enforcing existing village ordinances and that the business was never permitted to have events to begin with. The village also said it had received complaints from both the landlord and other businesses in the strip mall that houses UpRising Bakery. Complaints included loss of business, parking, safety concerns and zoning violations. If the bakery holds another event, they will be liable for fines.
According to the village, the shopping center is zoned B-2, which is for neighborhood convenience retail. With events like the bakery has done, officials say those would require entertainment zoning.
The ACLU of Illinois has issued a letter to Lake in the Hills urging the village to back off.
The letter noted that the village had been supportive of the bakery immediately after the hate crime, which Sac had been publicly thankful for.
“Village officials initially seemed inclined to support Ms. Sac and her business in the wake of this horrific event,” said the ACLU letter signed by Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Glenberg. “Unfortunately, they have chosen instead to give the person who attacked and vandalized UpRising exactly what he apparently wanted.”
The letter noted that the “sudden determination to enforce the code against UpRising or Ms. Sac based on their exercise of First Amendment Rights constitutes unconstitutional retaliation.”