EVA agrees to Division moratorium lift; Congressman Quigley shares agenda

Rep. Mike Quigley speaks to EVA members at the Happy Village.

East Village Association membership meeting
July 10, 2017
Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott Ave.

By Michelle Hayward

Healthy Soil Compost; Openlands tree grants

Michael VanDam opened the July 10 meeting at 7pm at the Happy Village and introduced Business Minute: Healthy Soil Compost turns household compost into fine dirt. Firm provides bucket for organic waste, picks up weekly or biweekly.  $28/month for onetime pickup; $40 weekly. Firm diverts about 10 tons a month from landfills.

Megan Humphrey from Openlands gave presentation on neighborhood tree grants. Openlands is the oldest metropolitan conservation group in the country, focused on Chicago and Illinois.  In Chicago, it gives grants for planting trees.  Neighborhood associations can apply and Openlands will provide 40 trees to be planted within 2 or 3 blocks of one another. This area is a native oak and hickory forest.  Sites need to be in a parkway or a Chicago public school.  Applications should be available in the fall for spring planting.

Foxtrot Packaged Goods Moratorium Lift 

Mike LaVitola of Foxtrot introduced his plan for a store in Wicker Park, requiring permission to lift the liquor license moratorium on Division Street. The market currently has two locations:  West Loop and Lincoln Park. The premise is a corner store with in-house coffee program, craft beer and wine, and groceries.  The moratorium is currently on packaged goods. Foxtrot could not open a liquor store or wine shop, which requires commercial zoning. Packaged goods are considered an accessory.

A plan of operation from the Armitage location has been shared with the community. FoxTrot would request a loading zone.  Building under consideration would open Nov. 1. Wicker Park Association has voted to support the lift.  The Planning, Preservation & Development committee of EVA has recommended to not oppose the lift.

The EVA general membership unanimously voted to not opppose the lift and committed to sending a letter of support. 

Division Street liquor moratorium vote

Foxtrot is hoping to open a Wicker Park location at 1714 W. Division this fall. It's seeking the East Village Association's support in its request to the alderman to lift the packaged goods liquor moratorium between Milwaukee Avenue and Wood Street. Its presentation follows.

The agenda for Monday's membership meeting, at 7pm at Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott:

  • President's Welcome
  • Business Minute – Devon Kondziela, Healthy Soil Compost
  • Megan Humphrey from Openlands on trees and neighborhood tree grants
  • Mike LaVitola, Foxtrot
    • Introduction and Q&A
    • Vote on Division Street Liquor Moratorium
  • PPD Updates: St. Boniface
  • Schools/Polish Triangle
  • New Business


Foxtrot Market scouts Division Street site, seeks end to packaged goods moratorium

Foxtrot Market, 900 W. Armitage, is scouting Division Street sites where only restaurants have been allowed new liquor licenses.

East Village Association board of directors meeting
June 12, 2017
Vora Certified Public Accountants, 1708 W. Chicago Ave.

By Michelle Hayward

Liquor License Moratorium

Mike LaVitola of Foxtrot presented his concept for an upscale boutique grocery store. There are two locations in Chicago: Lincoln Park and Fulton Market. His request is for EVA to approve a lift of the the moratorium on new packaged goods licenses from Wood to Ashland on both sides of Division Street.

Foxtrot also seeks an incidental license to serve beer and wine on premises at night. A specific location for the market has not been named.

  • Serving coffee, beer and wine.
  • Selling packaged wines, beers and liquors.
  • Offering groceries and lifestyle goods.

Ald. Proco Joe Moreno and Foxtrot have discussed attaching a binding Plan of Operation to the license. The Planning, Preservation & Development Committee will make a recommendation to members once we have the plan, potentially for a vote at the July 10 membership meeting.

Sugary drink taxes treat obesity concerns

Ben Gould of the Illinois Public Health Institute outlines a potential state tax on sugary drinks with EVA members at Happy Village.

East Village Association membership meeting
June 5, 2017
The Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott Ave.

Food for thought was served al fresco from the Happy Village patio Monday. The menu included servings from a local restaurateur, a health-policy organizer and a public-safety volunteer.

The first course for EVA members was an introduction to chef Laurel Khan, owner of Curious, a Chef's Playground. The former chef at fine dining resturant Tru returned to Chicago from Chehalis, Washington, to serve for the past three months at 2020 W. Chicago Ave. The neighborhood's reputation drew Khan to bring her whimisical approach to comfort food here. Curious is an intimate space for 40 diners, open for now Tuesday through Sunday, and BYOB—though Khan says has plans for a creative wine list.

The main dish was served by Ben Gould, community organizing manager for the Illinois Public Health Institute, with details on a proposal to tax sugary drinks.

The Healthy Eating Active Living Act would tax beverage distributors at 1 cent per ounce. A Cook County penny-an-ounce tax on sweetened beverages takes effect next month.

Some EVA members argued these are stiff taxes, but Gould says they're meant to discourage consumption, which happened after taxes were levied in Berkeley, California, and in Mexico City. A state tax could fund $500 million in obesity treatment under Medicaid and $50 million in community health improvement programs.

Seventy organizations have endorsed the HEAL Act. Gould said the Illinois bill was crowded out of budget negotiations and likely would re-emerge next year.

Dial down single-family upzoning: EVA board

Proposed replacement for a single-family home on Thomas would be higher than either of its neighbors, inviting future teardowns.

By Michelle Hayward

East Village Association board of directors meeting
May 8, 2017
Bath House Cultural Center, 1019 N. Wolcott Ave.

Michael VanDam called the meeting to order. Agenda:

  • Presentation from 1538 W. Thomas (Planning, Preservation & Development)
  • Other PPD Updates/Marq on Noble
  • Inter-Group Candidate Forum (request from Lyn Wolfson at Chicago Grand Neighbors Association)
  • June Membership Meeting -- ideas
  • Safety/Security Update

1538 W. Thomas

EVA board was visited by attorney Stephen Barrios, developer Walter/Vladimir Zeleni, property owner Ernesto Rubio and Victor Drapszo of Red Architects.

  • Rubio is seeking to amend a zoning restriction for his property to be redeveloped in the middle of the block on Thomas.
  • Rubio purchased the property in 1998 and currently resides there. The single-family property is between a three-story and a two-story. He is seeking to sell the property to Zeleni for redevelopment and the contract is contingent on a zoning change.
  • Property is currently a RS-3 (residential single-family) seeking to go to RM-5 (residential multifamily) to build a 4-story brick building with 3 concrete parking pads in the rear.
  • Follow Up: The board asked whether the seller/developer might consider RT-4 (two-flat, townhouse, multiunit) zoning vs. RM-5.
  • Follow Up: Please send the list of neighbors that are in support.
  • Recommendation to PP&D, Ald. Brian Hopkins: Consideration for a multiunit building is OK at RT-4. Permitting much larger construction (RM-5) will be an incentive for other buildings in proximity to be torn down.

925 N. Damen

Zoning variance requested, according to notice received by board member Thomas Tomek. Brian Foote will reach out to Ald. Proco Joe Moreno to review details.

EVA joins in Noble-Walton objections

EVA members voted to support the Eckhart Park Community Council in its objections to rezoning for apartments at Noble and Walton.

By Michelle Hayward

East Village Association membership meeting
May 1, 2017
Happy Village
1059 N. Wolcott Ave.

President’s Welcome

Michael VanDam call the May 1 meeting to order. Michael announced his objective to engage local businesses in EVA. To that end, Michael invited several local businesses to discuss their summer camp offerings with the membership.

Business Minute: Summer Vacation Special Edition
  • City Epicurean Cake Camp: City Epicurean is run by Naomi Levine. Located at Grand/Oakland they focus on cake decorating vs. cooking with the goal of fun and engaging kids' creativity. $135 for 5 days, 9a - 5p. The camp will run weekly sessions for 8 weeks. Discounts for the second sibling and third. Two age groups: 4-9 and 9-18.
  • West Loop Soccer Club: West Loop Soccer club has opened a West Town location two weeks ago. They are offering spring camps at Commercial Park. The summer camps will run indoor during June, July and August from 9a-4p.
  • School of Rock: Representatives were present to share the programs run by the newly opened School of Rock location in Chicago. Summer camps will run 9-3p in July and running into August. Kids 8-18. Kids do need familiarity with their instrument. Camps will be a different theme each week. $450 for a week-long camp.
  • Eckhart Park: Eckhart Park offers quite a few camps this summer!
    • 6 week day camp ages 6-12 starting June 26-Aug. 4, 10a-4p
    • Leadership camp for ages 13-16 starting June 26-Aug. 4
    • Sports camps for ages 8-13 starting June 26-Aug. 4
    • Day camps for ages 8+
    Note: As camps are filling up quickly, registration is no longer open online. Please call the park. In addition Elkhart Park is offering general family activities and summer programs. May 11 is the fundraiser; July 1 is the bike parade. End of July into August, many family-friendly events to be announced.
  • Commercial Park: Offering several day camp options, including a basketball program starting at 4 years old.