1st Ward Aldermanic Liaison Report: Why Ald. Flores voted against city budget

by Greg Nagel

I met with Alderman Flores on 11/19/07 to discuss EVA business. Despite the Alderman’s lobbying for the Wood station lockup to be re-opened, this was not included in the city budget. Consequently, he did not vote to support the budget. However, he did do a ride along with the police last week and his takeaway was that the neighborhood was fairly quiet and things were improving.

I also spoke with the alderman regarding the proposed Walgreens at the Ashland Division corner as well. He indicated that Walgreens had floated a new proposal to him that did include an additional floor of retail with parking on the roof. This proposal is still short of what we as a community organization have been lobbying for, but it does show some movement by Walgreens.

The alderman and I also discussed the proposed zoning change at 1916-1924 West Chicago Avenue. The issue here is this property sits on in two different zoning classes so the developer, Ranquist wants a zoning change. However, the EVA has opposed this change as we are not in favor of the demolition of the two buildings for environmental conservation reasons. The Alderman shared with me that he is going to call for a compromise agreement where the smaller of the two buildings would be demolished, however, the larger building would be maintained and the developer would incorporate the remaining structure into the new design meshing old with new.

Furthermore, in exchange for this agreement to not demolish the larger building, which the developer Ranquist as a matter of right can do, they would get an up zoning to a dash 3, which would allow them to build a 5 story structure. As a community organization we need to have a dialogue as to whether we support this compromise.
Lastly, we discussed the enforcement of the Handbill ordinance. The alderman indicated that the Ward Superintendent is the person who has the authority to issue tickets. He indicated that his office has maintained a file of warning letters where each business gets one warning, and then the Ward Superintendent has issued tickets. I asked for a listing and the amount of tickets that had been issued, but that information was not have available. He stated that he is exploring setting up a task force to support the Ward Superintendent in issuing tickets on a much greater scale using our ward the a test case.