CHICAGO (CBS) — “We are definitely being bullied out of town.” That’s how an Oak Park gym owner says she is feeling in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Constance Contursi says constant complaints from neighbors put her in a difficult and expensive situation.
People come to her Hit It! Fitness for a full body workout, but the police come because the neighbors keep complaining about their music during the pandemic. The battle has reached the village and could cause Contursi to lose her license.
“You name it there’s been a complaint about it,” she said.
They have been in the space for four years, but she said the complaints started when the pandemic did. She has been keeping the doors open for ventilation.
“I have tried to work with them directly in terms of music levels,” Contursi said.
With new rules officially in place Friday, the gym cannot host group classes anymore.
But group class or private class, she said the police show up responding to noise complaints almost every day. With offers to work with those complaining directly denied, she hired a professional audiologist to test their sound. That expert’s report found the gym is no louder than the traffic outside, or the train just feet away.
But Contursi said it did not help resolve anything with the village, and now she is in a battle for her business.
“They are talking about revoking my business license,” she said.
It’s a battle she is not sure she can afford.
“I’m losing at least 50% of my income,” she said. “I was in no way ready to spend this kind of money to try to fight for my business.”
CBS 2 went to talk with the two neighbors we’re told are behind the complaints that led to the formal notice. One did not answer the door. The other let a sign in the window do the talking.
With a hearing set on this, Oak Park’s commutation director said this is a typical process, and the goal is to bring a business into compliance, not shut it down.
“If times were different I would leave and go to another village and bring my money there,” Contursi said.
CBS 2 asked Oak Park if it is standard procedure for police to check on a business the way Contursi claims they have in her case. The village’s communication director said police respond to any and all call from the village’s residents:
“ Police respond to all calls from residents.
A referral from police is likely how a Village inspector became involved.
Please keep in mind that the goal here is to bring the business into compliance with local law, not close it down. Hearings of this kind are part of the official process to resolve issues between parties.
The purpose of the hearing is for the business owner to present evidence in support of their position. A hearing of this kind is routine for such matters.”