I invite you to attend a community meeting about proposals to renovate and expand two existing buildings located at 1710 W. Lunt and 1730 W. Greenleaf. Both proposals require zoning changes and approval of the City of Chicago Zoning Administrator under the City’s Transit Oriented Development Ordinance.
David Gasman, who owns a number of residential properties in Rogers Park, entered into agreements to purchase and develop both buildings contingent on receiving the requisite City approvals.
The Chicago Commission on Landmarks’ Historic Resources Survey gives both buildings an “Orange” designation. Orange-rated buildings are not officially deemed historic landmarks, but according to the Survey, “possess some architectural or historic association that makes them potentially significant in the context of the surrounding community.” About 9,600 Chicago buildings are designated orange.
Whenever an owner or developer seeks a permit to demolish or significantly alter an orange-rated building, it triggers an automatic 90-day “hold” while Landmark Commission staff evaluates the property to determine if it qualifies for landmark protection or if neighbors or preservationists can provide an alternative.
1710 W. Lunt
This building was constructed in the 1910s as an eight-unit residential building. The Landmarks Commission’s Historic Resources Survey reports the building possesses “Prairie and Sullivanesque” details. Most recently, Lutheran Social Services owned and operated the building as a sober living group home. The social service agency closed the group home last year and put the building up for sale.
The property currently is zoned RT4, which allows for a building with up to eight dwelling units. The developer is proposing to restore the building’s facade and construct a three-story addition to the back of the structure, expanding it into a 20-dwelling-unit building. Two garages behind the building would be demolished and replaced with an outdoor parking pad for five cars.
The developer, Mr. Gassman, is requesting a zoning change to B2-3, which would allow him to increase the permitted number of units on the site and apply for a reduction in the required on-site parking under the City’s new Transit Oriented Development (TOD) ordinance.
Ordinarily, City Code requires one parking space for each unit of housing. When a development on a B or C zoned property is within 1,320 feet of a train or “L” stop, however, the City’s TOD ordinance gives the City Zoning Administrator the discretion to reduce the parking requirement to encourage transit ridership while dissuading the ownership of automobiles. The Lunt property is located 762 feet from the Rogers Park Metra station.
The “one-for-one” parking requirement has been a part of City law since the 1950s when the auto-oriented culture in the United States gained prominence. Over the last twenty years, however, urban planners began to recognize the potential of “transit-oriented developments” to breathe new life into urban communities.
TODs aim to create walkable and connected communities where people own fewer cars and live closer to jobs, shopping, schools, and other destinations. To do this, TODs maximize the number of residential dwelling units allowed in areas located within a walkable distance of a transit stop, such as a commuter train or “L” station, and reduce the required number of parking spaces.
Increasing the supply of dwelling units helps keeps housing more affordable, and locating that housing near transit stops dramatically increases access to jobs via transit, reduces the cost of transportation, and provides low-income households with more options to get around. Local businesses benefit as TODs provide them with more potential customers, who walk to do their shopping, rather than drive to a shopping mall.
For more information on TODs and how they help promote housing affordability and spur economic growth, click on the links to the websites of two organizations that have been in the forefront of the TOD movement:
To view copies of the renderings, proposed elevations, and floor plans and site plans, click on the Google docs link below:
1730 W. Greenleaf
This two-story building was constructed in the 1910s as a commercial laundry. The Landmarks Commission’s Historic Resources Survey reports the building possesses “Classical and Sullivanesque” details. The Ethiopian Community Center of Chicago currently owns the building. Facing financial challenges, the organization put the building up for sale and plans to move to smaller quarters in the suburbs.
The property is located 593 feet from the Rogers Park Metra station and currently is zoned C1-2, which allows for a building with up to seven dwelling units. The developer proposes to convert the building from commercial to residential use. He proposes to restore the facade, add two stories and construct 30 dwelling units.
The proposal requires a zoning change to B2-3 and permission from the City’s Zoning Administrator for an exemption from the City’s onsite parking requirement under the TOD ordinance.
To view copies of the renderings, proposed elevations, floor plans and site plans, click on the Google docs link below:
I informed the developer that if I were to support the proposed zoning changes on one or both of the projects, I would do so only if they were “Type 1 Zoning Amendments.”
A Type 1 Amendment is a relatively recent addition to the City’s Zoning Code. It essentially provides the community with a guarantee that if the zoning change is granted, only the proposed project can be built regardless of whether the underlying zoning allows for a different development.
Under a Type 1 amendment, no permits can be issued except those that are in strict compliance with the density shown on the development plan approved by the City Council and in substantial compliance with the setbacks, floor area ratio, parking and building height shown on the development plan. If the developer wishes to make substantial modifications to the approved development plan, he must reapply for the zoning change.
Mr. Gasman, and his attorney, Tom Moore, will present the proposed plans and respond to your questions and comments.
I urge you to attend the meeting. If you are unable to do so, please feel free to share your comments by replying to this email.