May 4 vote on Chicago Avenue restaurant


The East Village Association takes an advisory membership vote Monday, May 4, on a zoning change for 1916-24 W. Chicago Ave. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the Happy Village Tavern, 1059 N. Wolcott.

Billy Loumbardias, the prospective tenant, described the proposal before the March 2 membership meeting. Here Loumbardias summarizes recent changes to the plan:


The proposed Winchester restaurant, to be located at 1924 W. Chicago Ave., has been previously presented to this community. We are pleased to advise that the West Town Chicago Chamber of Commerce and the East Village Neighbors have pledged support to this exciting project.

On March 2, this project was presented to the East Village Association. Although some concerns were raised, we are hopeful that we have successfully addressed these concerns below and are happy to have the opportunity to address any remaining concerns again on May 4 at the East Village Association general meeting:

Noise Control

We pledge to use materials such as special rated drywall and special laminated
other materials designed for the soundproofing element to ensure that most noise will
be kept within the establishment. Furthermore, the Landlord is also requiring special insulation and sound proofing so that the residential occupants above the ground
floor will have quiet use and enjoyment of the premises as well.

Ventilation

We have addressed this issue by agreeing to: elevate the existing exhaust stack;
add brick to its construction; and install a stronger fan to ensure that the exhaust is taken up and away so as not to disturb patrons, tenants and passers-by. Furthermore, the bricking of the facade of the stack will not only improve functionality, but also appearance.

Parking

As an existing legal non-conforming use (this building was built around
1901) parking is not required by code. However, we will provide a full Valet Parking Service for patrons of the establishment.

Zoning

The property at 1916-24 West Chicago Avenue, has two separate zoning designations on a single parcel of land. For example, the majority of the subject property (the front two-thirds of the parcel) is currently zoned B3-2. However, the rear third of that same parcel is zoned RT-4.

It has recently come to our attention that the subject parcel, along with five other parcels with frontage on Chicago Avenue from 1900 through 1924 W. Chicago Ave. (from Wolcott to Winchester), have been incorrectly rezoned.

According to the City of Chicago, these parcels were rezoned in error, because a single parcel of land has more than one zoning designation on the same lot. Instead of changing the zoning designation along the alley line, as was done on either side of this block, the change in zoning from B3-2 to RT-4 occurs on the rear third of all the lots. We are requesting this zoning change to correct this error so that the property at 1916-24 W. Chicago Ave. has one complete zoning designation instead of two.

The zoning designation that we are requesting already exists on the front two-thirds of the parcel, a B3-2 zoning designation. This zoning designation already exists on the majority of the property, as well as on the other parcels up and down Chicago Avenue. The requested change in zoning will bring this property in line with what already exists on both sides of Chicago Avenue from Damen Avenue to Wood Street.

We are grateful to have the opportunity to address any remaining questions or concerns and look forward to seeing you at the May 4 meeting.

Stump the Recycling Expert!

The city’s Blue Cart recycling program may finally be mainstream, but many people still have questions about what can go in them. We all want to recycle as much as possible, but putting non-recyclable items in your blue cart can be worse than not recycling at all.

Marjorie Isaacson, the East Village Association’s recycling expert, will be on hand for a round of "Stump the Recycling Expert!" at the May meeting. This is your opportunity to ask questions or better yet, bring in items that you wonder whether are recyclable or not.

EVA meets Monday, May 4, in the Happy Village Tavern, 1059 N. Wolcott.

Can East Village think green year-round?

President Message by John Scheer 

Spring is time to think Clean and Green. Every year the city sponsors an event to inspire residents to clean up our local areas and encourage the greening of the season. The city provides tools and bags in support of the cleaning activities.
The Clean and Green date was April 25 this year. But everyone can continue to pick up trash, rake leaves and debris or remove personal signs from lamp poles and mailboxes.

EVA has approached Matt Bailey, the 1st Ward contact for the Clean and Green, in support of a more specific greening initiative for this year. The request is for coordination and support with the Department of Forestry to plant some trees along Augusta Boulevard.

Staying consistent with the Clean and Green philosophy, this planting would be a significant improvement, and the first step of what is a much larger plan published several years ago to redesign of the Augusta streetscape.
This whole project is considered too big for undertaking at this time, but planting some trees along this street is a good start. EVA board members have gathered a list of addresses along Augusta Boulevard as well as several other streets within EVA as part of this greening request.

Please consider what else you can do yourself to contribute to this annual event. Think about composting the leaves and last years plant material that has over wintered. Don’t forget to use the blue bins for all of the paper, glass and plastic that complies with the recycling guidelines.

And start the summer season off right by planting seeds and other bedding plants from any one of our neighborhood gardening stores. This can be a great support for our local businesses too.

Tax freeze for historic buildings

Significant remodeling work can earn a significant tax break in Ukrainian Village and East Village.

Many buildings in the two neighborhoods' landmark districts are eligible for 12 years of favorable tax assessments. Remodelers must spend at least 25% of the lowball figure the Cook County Assessor names as market value.

Ukrainian Village homeowner Dan Nehm told the East Village Association on April 6 how he got this tax break — which freezes assessments for eight of those years. As city assessments rise, taxes that get an assessment freeze edge lower.

Dan Nehm's handout outlines the process well. Nehm had more recommendations for future applicants:


  • Start early on one long piece of paperwork: It can take six months for the city to issue a waiver of building permit fees. Anyone in the landmark districts can get that break, and Nehm, a union carpenter, applies for the waiver every year just in case he works on his home. The permits prove the changes meet landmark-district requirements.

  • The major application, to approve the tax break, goes to the state. Take lots of before-and-after photos and organize your receipts. "You can't just send a shoebox full of records," Nehm said.

  • Plans must meet minimal energy efficiency requirements. Closed cell spray foam insulation is the most effective for old houses, in Nehm's opinion. It costs at least twice as much as fiberglass, but has higher “R” values and is not subject to mold.



Details on the tax break are available from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

Events on the East Village Association calendar

The next EVA membership meeting is 7pm Monday, May 4, at the Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott Ave.

Events on the East Village Association calendar are worth noting. Check the page and click on the dates for details.
April 8 and 14 -- 1st Ward recycling for multiunit buildings without city garbage pickup
April 11-- 1st Ward community meeting on Blue Line renovations -- your stimulus dollars at work
April 25 -- Chicago Clean & Green volunteer cleanup -- call 311 to volunteer

60622 post office needs forwarding address


Public-affairs officer Mark Reynolds (from left) and East Village Association president John Scheer listen to postal real-estate specialist Susan Bourgart and customer-service manager Gerrie Barnett-Campbell.


The Division Street post office will be packing up when its 50-year lease runs out Aug. 31.

The retail location likely will move within a few blocks, Chicago area postal executives told East Village Association members on April 6, but the rest of the operation at 1635 W. Division could go elsewhere. Negotiations with the current landlord are at an impasse.

Real-estate specialist Susan Bourgart said rehabbing another building will take two or three months, so the post office is under the gun to find new spaces this spring. With rent at the current location likely to triple, "it's 90% likely we probably will not stay there," Bourgart said.

Customer-service manager Gerrie Barnett-Campbell said the quick move will not disrupt service. But residents in attendance pressed the postal executives to do better. "I'm hoping the new facility leads to higher levels of service and accuracy," said EVA vice president Greg Nagel.

When Nagel called the station the worst in Chicago, operations manager Keith Pugh assured him that service was improving — and at least one unnamed city post office was worse.

New York transplant Barnett-Campbell admitted that the 60622 station has gone through several managers in the past year. "We're not trying to get just anybody," she said, "we're looking for a good fit." Meanwhile, absenteeism is a persistent issue "like any other business."

Division-Ashland-Milwaukee plaza open house

An open house March 21 and 22 in a Milwaukee Avenue storefront gathered ideas on Polish Triangle improvements.


Take a survey on the Division-Ashland-Milwaukee plaza.

Read a report on the open house from the Metropolitan Planning Council.