I am writing about a proposal to add two new affordable dwelling units to the basement of a six-flat apartment building at 7255 N. Bell.
I hosted a community meeting on the proposal last May. The proposal was also reviewed by the 49th Ward Zoning and Land Use Advisory Committee, a group of neighborhood residents and representatives of the major community organizations in the ward that advises me on all zoning and land use issues that come before me.
After careful consideration of the opinions and suggestions of the 49th Ward Zoning and Land Use Advisory Committee and the residents who attended the meeting or corresponded with my office, I have decided toSUPPORT the proposal.
Below are the details of the proposal and my reasons for supporting it:
The new basement units are intended to provide affordable, below-market rate housing to families and individuals. A restrictive covenant will keep the units affordable for the next ten years.
The building rests on a 6,250 square-foot lot. The proposal requires a zoning change on the property from its current classification, RT4, which allows one dwelling unit for every 1,000 square feet of lot area, to RM4.5, which allows one dwelling unit for every 700 square feet of lot area.
For a copy of the proposed floor plans for the new units, click on the attachment below:
Approximately 10 residents attended the community meeting on the proposal, which was advertised through my electronic newsletter and with fliers posted in the surrounding community. Many of those in attendance expressed concern about the effect of the two new units on population density and parking in the area.
The 49th Ward Zoning and Land Use Advisory Committee voted unanimously to recommend that I support the zoning change to allow for the two new units because it would provide much-needed affordable housing to the community.
My Reasons for Supporting the Proposal
I agree with the Committee’s recommendation and support the zoning change. If our community is to remain economically diverse and home to people of all incomes, we must embrace creative proposals, such as this, that will add to our neighborhood’s affordable housing stock.
Though I certainly understand and empathize with the challenges of finding off-street parking in our neighborhood, the addition of these two affordable housing units will have little if any effect on parking. Given that these units will be made affordable to people of low income, it is doubtful any of the tenants will own an automobile.
Even if one or two of them happen to own a car, this negligible effect on parking is outweighed by the very real benefit of providing an affordable place to live to deserving individuals or families. For these reasons, I support the proposed zoning change.
If you have any questions or further comments regarding my decision, please feel free to reply to this email.