As part of my ongoing effort to enhance the transparency and inclusiveness of zoning and land use decisions in the 49th Ward, I am pleased to announce that beginning this month, the minutes of the meetings of the 49th Ward Zoning and Land Use Advisory Committee will be posted on the Zoning page of my website. The minutes of the May 8th meeting are now available, along with information on my decision-making process for zoning and land use issues, notices of upcoming community meetings and more.
I will also make supporting documents available on my website for proposed developments in our neighborhood, such as building elevations, surveys, site plans and renderings. These documents will be posted prior to community meetings on the proposed developments. I have always made those documents available for public review at my ward office, but I am pleased to now offer them on your desktop or laptop so that you can review them at your leisure.
Only a handful of Chicago aldermen have citizen committees who advise them on zoning and land use issues in their wards, and only two aldermen post the minutes of their committee meetings on their websites. To my knowledge, I will be the only alderman who posts the supporting documents for proposed developments on his or her website. It is only the latest example of my commitment to involving the public in every land use decision I am asked to make as alderman.
In making land use decisions, I rely heavily on the advice of the 49th Ward Zoning and Land Use Advisory Committee , a committee of representatives of the major community organizations, business owners, and ordinary neighborhood residents in the 49th Ward. The community organizations in the ward each appoint a representative to serve on the Committee and I appoint the remaining members and the Committee chair. The diverse viewpoints represented on the committee make for lively discussions and often result in much better developments than what was first proposed.
When someone comes to me with a land use proposal requiring special city approval, I refer the proposal to this committee and ask the proponent to show the Committee his or her plans, including building design, landscaping and parking, to make sure that the new project is a positive addition to our neighborhood. I encourage the proponent to listen carefully to the concerns and recommendations of the committee and incorporate them into the plans. The Committee will vote to recommend that either I support the proposal, oppose the proposal or support the proposal with modifications.
On all but routine proposals, I ask the applicant to also present the proposal to the community at large. Once again, I encourage the applicant to listen carefully to the concerns and recommendations of the community and incorporate them into the final plans. Comments and recommendations expressed at the community meeting are considered carefully by the 49th Ward Zoning and Land Use Advisory Committee before the Committee makes its final recommendations to me. Usually, the proponent changes his or her proposal based on Committee and community input, and several more Committee and community meetings are held before the Committee makes a final recommendation.
As a reminder, on Tuesday, May 15th we will host a community meeting regarding the reconstruction of the McDonald’s restaurant at Clark at Pratt. The proposed building elevations, site plan and a rendering of a typical building area are available as pdf files on my website.
There are more good things coming to our website soon, so please check it often and feel free welcome to send us your suggestions on the kind of public information you would find useful.
Very truly yours,