I sponsored a community meeting Tuesday night to review a proposal for a zoning change that would allow for the construction of two six-unit rental apartment buildings at 7220 and 7226 N. Oakley. The buildings would be three stories in height and approximately 7,700 square feet in size.
The current RS3 zoning classification allows for two flats or single family homes only. Given the combined size of the lots, the current zoning allows for no more than four single family homes or two two-flats and a single family home on the property. Consequently, the proposed development requires a zoning change to an RT4 designation.
For a floor plan and rendering of the proposed development, click on the attachment below:
Two deteriorating, single family homes currently rest on the lots and would be demolished to make way for the new buildings. A previous proposal to develop town homes on the property fell victim to the economic recession and the single family homes have been vacant for over six years.
I downzoned the property six years ago as part of a ward-wide community process to examine the ward’s zoning classifications in light of the City’s new Zoning Code. I agreed to consider the proposal to rezone the property to its previous classification because of the ongoing eyesore the vacant homes presented and the lack of any alternative development proposals for the property. But I will not support a zoning change without the support of a substantial portion of the surrounding community.
Over fifty neighborhood residents attended the meeting. Just about everyone present offered an opinion on the proposal and all were strongly opposed. Most expressed concern about the development’s impact on the community, including an increase in density and an exacerbation of the on-street parking shortage. The developer did not help his cause, as he failed to provide a board rendering of the proposal and provided only a few copies of the floor plan for community review.
Ordinarily, I do not render a final decision on any land use proposal without first hearing from the 49th Ward Zoning and Land Use Advisory Committee, a group of neighborhood residents and representatives of the major community organizations who advise me on all zoning and land use matters. In this case, however, given the unanimous community opposition to the proposal, the fact that the property had just been downzoned as a result of our community planning process and the developer’s total lack of preparation for the meeting, I have decided to announce my OPPOSITION to the development proposal now.
The property will fall just inside the 50th Ward boundaries when the new ward maps take effect. 50th Ward Alderman Debra Silverstein attended the meeting at my invitation and concurs with my decision to oppose the zoning change.
If you have any questions or further comments about my decision, please feel free to reply to this e-mail.