County Board rep confirmed for Monday meeting

Cook County's 1 percent sales tax increase, which raised the city's sales tax rate to 10.25%, stays in place after President Todd Stroger vetoed a repeal this month.

The county board came three votes short of overriding the veto. Partial rollbacks passed more narrowly and also were vetoed. East Village's representative to the board, Earlean Collins, voted "present" on the May 19 vote to to override the veto.

Collins voted for the tax last year to erase a $239 million deficit in the county's $3.2 billion budget. She told the Tribune the repeal vote was "totally unprofessional. ... Let's stop playing the games and get serious about what needs to be done."

Collins is scheduled to speak Monday to the East Village Association. She'll discuss county services and take questions. Plan to be present at 7 p.m. in the Happy Village bar, at Thomas and Wolcott.

What's on tap at Do-Division? OK, Pabst. What else?


Division Street closes to at least some traffic this weekend from Ashland to Leavitt for the Do-Division Street Fest and Sidewalk Sale.

This year's live music at Division and Damen features Montreal indie rockers Handsome Furs, Mizzou ska-clubbers White Rabbits, Oregon punk/funk/crunk artists Menomena and Chicago DJs Hollywood Holt and Flosstradamus. The main stage again is scheduled by Empty Bottle Presents, festival-booking extension of the Empty Bottle nightclub in Ukrainian Village.

A separate stage on west end of the street festival at Division and Leavitt will benefit LaSalle II Language Academy, 1148 N. Honore, and A.N. Pritzker School, 2009 W. Schiller St. The Family Fun Fest includes performances for children, a bounce house, face painting, crafts, cookie decorating, petting zoo and pony rides.

Division Street boutiques are to hold sidewalk sales. Concessions will feature Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.

Admission is $5. Hours for the West Town Chicago Chamber of Commerce event are noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The kids' stage closes at 6.

The emerging artists exposition Around the Coyote takes place alongside the festival, in the Splat Flats art space above Miller Lumber at 1815-25 W. Division, with more exhibit space at 1000 and 1234 N. Milwaukee. Tickets are $20.

East Village Association on Twitter @evachicago


A high-profile neighborhood vote was first reported not on newspaper websites or blogs but on Twitter.

Bulletins from the East Village neighborhood and the larger West Town community are available at http://www.twitter.com/evachicago. A May 4 message read, "After 1-hour Q&A on restaurant, EVA members voted for zoning change with stipulations (security, no deck) and only at 1924 Chicago."

Twitter is a social networking service for Web browsers, cell phones and instant-messaging systems. Its short-message format (roughly 25 words or less) lends itself to announcements of new articles as they are posted at the East Village Association website, eastvillagechicago.org, or the related evachicago discussion group on the Yahoo! website.

The May 4 vote on the zoning change was advisory to Ald. Manuel Flores (1st Ward).

The Twitter feed @evachicago also relays Chicago Police crime reports, property transfer listings and neighborhood news from local websites. The nonprofit everyblock.org search engine and a similar commercial service, outside.in, index articles that mention local addresses.

The neighborhood is underserved by local media. Chicago Journal, a free weekly newspaper, stopped circulating in the area in March, and Pioneer Press shut down a subscription weekly in 2005. East Village is bounded by Division Street, Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago Avenue and Damen Avenue.

The East Village Association also announces its activities on a Facebook page and a Google calendar.

Chicago defends landmark ordinance

1124 N. Damen, Ukrainian Village Landmark District

Chicago has filed an appeal with the Illinois Supreme Court to support the city's landmarks ordinance. It expects in June to hear whether the high court will hear the case.

Landmarks Illinois, Preservation Chicago, the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and other organizations and municipalities have signed a statement of amici curiae (friend of the court) to the Illinois Supreme Court in support of the city’s appeal.

This is a reprint of Landmarks Illinois’ February Preservation Brief regarding the Chicago Landmarks Ordinance lawsuit. For more information and copies of the rulings and appeals, visit www.landmarks.org.


Appellate court terms Chicago landmark ordinance “vague”
Answers to common questions


On January 30, 2009, the Illinois Appellate Court issued a decision, in the case of Hanna v. City of Chicago, that the Chicago Landmark Ordinance is unconstitutional because it’s too vague. While the decision did not overturn the ordinance, it did send shockwaves through the preservation community while drawing promise from property rights advocates.

Landmarks Illinois has received numerous inquiries regarding the impact of this ruling. Below, we address the most commonly asked questions.

Has the Chicago Landmarks Ordinance been overturned? No. The Appellate Court’s ruling sends the case back to the trial court that had previously dismissed the case. Before the case returns to trial court, however the City is expected to appeal the Appellate Court’s decision to the Illinois Supreme Court. In the meantime, whether the Illinois Supreme Court hears the case or not, all designated Chicago Landmarks and properties in Chicago Landmark Districts remain protected. The Commission on Chicago Landmarks will continue to conduct its business, reviewing building permits and studying other potential properties for local landmark designation.

How long will it be until there is a final decision in the case? Whether the case is next heard by the Illinois Supreme Court or the trial court, it will be a minimum of four to12 months before the trial court hears it again. The duration of a trial, and whether there are further appeals, means the case is not expected to be settled in less than a year-and-a-half.

How likely will the Chicago Landmarks Ordinance be ruled unconstitutional? At this point, based on national case law, it is unlikely the ordinance will be ruled unconstitutional. The Chicago Landmarks Ordinance has functioned constitutionally for 40 years and contains language commonly seen in landmark ordinances nationwide. In 1978, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled New York City’s landmarks ordinance was valid, upholding a municipality’s authority to regulate the protection of historic properties and rejecting a challenge to the ordinance based upon the vagueness argument. In the same way that municipalities have the right to determine appropriate zoning, a landmarks ordinance enables a community to protect the character of neighborhoods, as well as protect individual historic properties.

What is Landmarks Illinois doing to help? Landmarks Illinois’ legal advisors will continue to monitor the status of the case. When the City files an appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, we will provide a letter of support if the city deems it appropriate. Landmarks Illinois also is contacting other interested organizations, both local and national, to support this appeal process. Updates on the case progress will be made available via our website: www.landmarks.org.

Landmarks Illinois is now accepting donations for a fund that will support potential legal fees regarding this issue. Please send a check to Landmarks Illinois, 53 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 1315, Chicago, Ill. 60604.

Board meeting minutes for May 11, 2009

Submitted by Dana Palmer

Attendance
Board Members: John Scheer, Greg Nagel and Dana Palmer
Committee Members: Scott Rappe, Steve Crane, Rich Anselmo and Steve Rynkiewicz
Non-Board Members: Marjorie Isaacson

  1. Steve Crane was inducted into the Membership Committee role by Greg Nagel and John Scheer.

  2. Ways of promoting new membership to EVA were discussed. Rich Anselmo agreed to find out more about having a post card printed up informing neighbors of EVA and directing them to the EVA website. Greg Nagel discussed the possibility of attending Chamber of Commerce meeting in an attempt to make EVA more present and others aware of us. Greg Nagel also agreed to print out a report of new closures in the neighborhood as a way of finding out who our new neighbors are. The idea was presented that Steve Crane could obtain the attendance list from the previous EVA membership meeting and send and e-mail to the non-members asking them to attend the upcoming meeting and inviting them to join EVA. Dana Palmer agreed to continue sending out a reminder e-mail to current EVA members regarding upcoming EVA meeting and events.

  3. Scott Rappe presented is draft letter to present to present to the Alderman regarding “The Winchester” and the contingencies that the vote was made upon. Those contingencies included no roof deck, outdoor cafe to be closed at 11:00 p.m., outdoor cafe should not exceed 44 occupants at a time, doors and windows to building will also be closed at 11:00 p.m., an off duty officer should be posted daily from 10:00 p.m. until closing for the first 6 months of operation to ensure orderly departure by patrons and that construction will conform to drawings presented in proposal.

  4. Scott Rappe and Marjorie Isaacson also presented the idea of having a blog for complaints about outdoor cafes as a place to document neighbors concerns and monitor the problems that may be occurring.

  5. Greg Nagel expressed that he feels the alderman should be attending more EVA meetings due to his notice of the alderman or an alderman's representative attending EVN meetings. He expressed his concern that the Alderman is not as involved with EVA as he should be. John Scheer agreed to speak with the Alerman's office about being more involved with EVA meetings.

  6. John Scheer shared that for the June membership meeting he has confired that Cook County Commissioner Earlene Collins is coming and that he is working on having a master gardener to possibly present.
  7. Ideas were passed around regarding the upcoming July membership meeting and what presentations could be given. Greg Nagel suggested possibly the fire department or CPR presentation.

  8. Scott Rappe made a committee report regarding Planning, Preservation and Development that 920 N. Winchester has been posted for demolition as requested by members of the neighborhood due to lack of upkeep by the owner.

  9. Steve Rynkiewicz reported that EVA now has a twitter feed and that he is seeking articles for the next months newsletter.

Board meeting minutes for April 13, 2009


Plan for 840-842 N. Wolcott (Wrap Architecture)


Submitted by Dana Palmer

Attendance
Board Members: John Scheer, Brodi Cole, Dana Palmer, Scotte Rappe, Rich Anselmo, Stephen Rynkiewicz
Non-Board Members: Marjorie Isaacson and Brian Thompson


  1. Membership: Ideas were discussed regarding recruitment of new members. According to John Scheer, Greg Nagel is working on a welcome letter for all new EVA members. Rich Anselmo agreed to speak with a representative from Hoosier Mama Pie Co. regarding the possibility of donating pies for sampling at the next membership meeting as an incentive for existing and new members to come. Rich Anselmo also suggested the possiblity of a postcard to distribute to East Village residents regarding EVA and directing them to check out the website.

  2. The Winchester/Billy Loumbardias: Discussion was circulated regarding changes made to the previous proposal. Changes included more sound proofing, raised chimney, no PPA license at this time, exhaust system using ultraviolet filter and zoning change. Mr. Loumbardias is scheduled to return to EVA at next Membership Meeting for a vote on the zoning change. Scotte Rappe agreed to draft questions regarding the changes and the extent that the changes are being made. For example, the extent of the sound proofing or the location and actual height of the chimney.

  3. Ravi Ricker 840-842 N. Wolcott: A proposal for a new construction with an attachment to an existing building was reviewed. Landmarks is requesting EVA to review and comment to either oppose or approve of the proposal. Scotte Rappe agreed to draft a letter with EVA Board Members concerns with the project such as the reuse of the common brick from the garage, length of the setback for the new construction and number of windows on the front facade.

  4. Matt Bailey-greening of Augusta: John Scheer stated he spoke with Mr. Bailey who will discuss with the forestry department about the possibility of obtaining trees to plant along Augusta or other areas in East Village as a means to green the area. John Scheer agreed to continue communication with Mr. Bailey regarding the greening effort.

  5. Additional Communication regarding monthly membership meetings on the first Monday of the month: Dana Palmer has agreed to send an e-mail to all listed EVA members prior to the May Membership Meeting notifying them of the change from Tuesday to Monday and inviting them to attend.

  6. Agenda for May Membership Meeting: Billy Loumbardias with the Winchester Project. Ravi Ricker with the 840-842 N. Wolcott proposal. Stephen Rynkiewicz suggested the possibility of asking Jennie Felknor to speak regarding the work she does gardening and beautifying the East Village Neighborhood. Rich Anselmo agreed to try to line up a possible speaker for June regarding Liquor Licensing issues.

  7. Brian Thompson handed over gift certificates to John Scheer for Easy Bar. Idea was raised that gift certificates might be used as further incentives for new membership.

  8. Meeting adjourned.

Tweet this: Birdhouses raise cash for Pritzker School

A Lego birdhouse model of St. Boniface Church at Chestnut and Noble, by Kuklinski + Rappe Architects.


Artists and architects designed birdhouses are now being displayed at Alliance Bakery, City Soles, Stitch and other Wicker Park businesses. They'll be auctioned June 6 in a fundraising auction for A.N. Pritzker School, 2009 W. Schiller St.

The pocket aviaries, no larger than 20 by 20 by 48 inches, were created for the group Friends of Pritzker, which is trying to raise $40,000 to build a preschool and kindergarten playground. See all the entries here.

They'll be auctioned at a mixer from 6 till 10 p.m. at the studio of painter Wesley Kimler, 2046 W. Carroll Ave. The reception includes drinks and appetizers. Tickets are $25; $20 in advance.

The craft fundraiser reflects the project's creative bent. Playbround plans call for painting easels and a stage as well as the more conventional swings, slide and sandbox.

In a separate fund-raiser this weekend, the west end of the Do Division street festival at Division and Leavitt will benefit Pritzker and the LaSalle II Language Academy, 1148 N. Honore St.

The Family Fun Fest includes a bounce house, face painting, crafts, cookie decorating, petting zoo, pony rides from noon until 6 p.m. May 30 and 31. The West Town Chicago Chamber of Commerce is the organizer.

Winchester concessions, St. Boniface offering, sidewalk café checks

50 neighbors crowded the Happy Village bar for a presentation on plans for the Winchester restaurant, 1924 W. Chicago.


Planning, Preservation & Development Committee report by Scott A. Rappe

1924/1916 West Chicago Avenue
After a presentation by the landlord and tenant of the proposed Winchester restaurant at the last monthly meeting, a motion was made to not oppose the requested zoning change from RT-4 to B3-2 for the 1924 portion of the property. The motion passed by a vote of 17 to 9, subject to a number of contingencies regarding the construction and operation of the restaurant:

  1. The restaurant shall not include a roof deck.

  2. The outdoor cafĂ© shall close no later than 11:00 pm, regardless of whether the sidewalk café permit allows a later closure.

  3. The café shall have a permitted, and actual, capacity of no greater than forty four (44) people.

  4. Exterior doors opening onto the sidewalk shall close no later than 11 p.m.

  5. The Winchester shall employ an off-duty thirteenth district police office daily from the hours of 10:00 pm until closing for the first six months after opening. This officer shall remain outside the restaurant and be responsible for monitoring departing patrons to ensure order, peace and quiet on the adjacent residential blocks.

  6. Deliveries to the restaurant shall be made on Chicago Avenue and not on Winchester.

  7. The construction and operation of the restaurant will conform to the drawings and commitments made in the developer's exhibits: undated architectural drawings (site plan, south elevation, west elevation), JEF + Associates letter dated April 30, 2009 regarding interior sound control treatments, and attached product literature, Upfront Parking Inc. letter, dated May 1, 2009, Tri-City Equipment Co. letter, dated May 4, 2009/


A second motion was made to oppose the requested zoning change from RT-4 to B3-2 for the 1916 portion of the property; this motion passed by a vote of 19 to 8. A letter was sent to Alderman Flores summarizing the results of the votes.

St. Boniface Church & Rectory
Although a demolition permit has been issued, until recently the Archdiocese of Chicago and the City of Chicago had been negotiating a possible land swap.

The concept was to exchange the St. Boniface property for city-owned land that the archdiocese could use. This would facilitate a private developer’s plans to restore of the church and build elderly housing on the site. Unfortunately this scheme is looking less feasible for reasons having to do with the legality of such land transfers.

The latest word is that the archdiocese is once again proposing that it retain ownership of the land, allowing the building to be utilized under a long term (99 years) lease.


Sidewalk Café Permit Review

The EVA board recently discussed the idea of requesting the aldermen for an advisory role in the approval of annual sidewalk café permits. The recent negotiations with the Winchester restaurant clearly demonstrated the frustration of many East Villagers with nearby bars and restaurants.

While the give and take between residents and businesses can be fruitful, it is difficult to ensure that commitments are lived up to once the zoning change and liquor license are granted. The profitability of these businesses is directly tied to the number of tables they have and how quickly they turn; a sidewalk café increases the effective size of the restaurant during their busiest time season and directly impacts this profitability.

Having the ability to weigh in annually on the granting of these lucrative permits might encourage business owners to be more sensitive to the concerns of surrounding residents.

Restaurateur sets table for 1924 W. Chicago

Membership meeting minutes for May 4, 2009
Submitted by Dana Palmer



Guest speaker Bill Loumbardias, along with attorney Lisa Moreno, presented a proposal for The Winchester restaurant located at 1924 W. Chicago.

Mr. Loumbardias and Mrs. Moreno provided a revised proposal regarding neighborhood concerns raised at the previous March 2009 membership meeting. Among the concerns were noise, parking, garbage removal and storage, ventilation and the seeking of a Public Place of Amusement license:

  1. Noise: Many concerns were raised regarding the noise level of The Winchester due to the large capacity of seating, outdoor seating and drunken nuisances.

    1. Capacity: It was previously assessed that The Winchester would seat approximately 290 occupants. However, the new proposal assessed 190 indoor seats with 50 outdoor seats.

    2. Outdoor seating: Mr. Loumbardias stated that in the new proposal most outdoor seating will be directed towards Chicago Ave. versus the previous proposal having a large portion of the outdoor seating farther down along Winchester. He also explained that the new proposal has the outdoor area operating more as a cafe with a limited menu and that the outdoor area will be closed earlier that the indoor area.

    3. Drunken Nuisances: Mr. Loumbardias stated that he would agree to hiring an off-duty police officer to monitor patrons leaving the restaurant/bar late at night as a way of lessening the noise to neighbors of The Winchester.

  2. Parking: Previously many neighbors were concerned with the lack of parking available surrounding The Winchester.


    1. Mr. Loumbardias explained in the new proposal he has hired Upfront Parking Inc. Valet Service to provide valet parking services to patrons of The Winchester.

    2. A representative from Upfront Parking Inc. Valet Services was present at the meeting and stated that they have been able to secure 90 spots in four different locations, at 1747, 1752-1758 and 1739 W. Chicago as well as 710 N. Ashland.


  3. Garbage Removal: Concerns were previously raised regarding the small alley size and the inability of sanitation trucks to move down the alley for garbage pick up.

    1. Mr. Loumbardias stated that all garbage will be stored in the alley behind the business and will be picked up by sanitation trucks. However, he explained that the trucks will not be going down the alley to gather the garbage but rather the storage bins will be rolled out to Winchester to be emptied into the truck due to the small alley size.

    2. Deliveries: Mr. Loumbardias stated all deliveries will be made in the front of the business on Chicago Avenue and a loading zone spot will be allocated.


  4. Ventilation: Neighbors originally requested for the smokestack to be raised for ventilation to exceed the height of the adjacent building. Mr. Loumbardias and the architect with JEF & Associates, LLC, explained that the current structure will not support a stack of the height needed. Therefore, they are proposing the use of a new, high-tech. solution to ventilation called the Gaylord. The Gaylord was explained to be a pollution control ventilation system using ultraviolet technology. It was also explained to be designed to extract the majority of the grease produced from the restaurant.

  5. PPA license: Mr. Loumbardias stated that he is not currently seeking a PPA license but that he can not state that he will not seek one in the future.



After much debate, Scott Rappe, committee chair for Planning, Preservation and Development with EVA, made a motion to not oppose the zoning change from B3-2 to RT-4 of the property at 1924 W. Chicago with commitments of:

  • no deck on roof,

  • cafe to be closed at 11:00 p.m.; windows and doors to building to be closed along with cafe at 11:00 p.m.,

  • cafe will not exceed 50 people at any given time, and

  • off-duty police officer will be present to monitor crowd control for first 6 months.



Motion seconded by Brodi Cole and passed by majority vote by EVA members.

Second motion by Scott Rappe was made regarding property at 1916 W. Chicago to oppose zoning change. Motion seconded and passed by majority vote by EVA members.

Statement on zoning at 1916-24 W. Chicago

May 12, 2009

Alderman Manny Flores
2058 North Western Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60647
Re: RT-4/B3-2 Split Zoning
1900-1916 West Chicago Avenue

Dear Alderman Flores:

As communicated in a previous letter, the EVA membership voted to approve the requested zoning change for the 1924 W. Chicago Avenue parcel only. A separate vote was taken on the 1916 W. Chicago Avenue property because there was a consensus that each property should be evaluated on its own merits. It is worth mentioning that the general membership clearly validated this position by opposing the zoning change on 1916 by a vote of 19 to 8.

Similarly, in regards to the other 'split-zoned' parcels on this block of Chicago Avenue, we would like to retain the ability to review and approve zoning changes on a lot-by-lot basis. Thus, we respectfully request that you not pre-emptively change the zoning on the remaining split-zoned parcels.

We are aware that this creates an additional burden on the property owners, but there are larger issues at stake. Without EVA's input on the zoning of 1916-1924 W. Chicago Avenue two years ago, Ranquist Development would have demolished both the 1916 and 1924 buildings. This would have been a great loss to Chicago Avenue, which will now see at least one of the buildings renovated.

The Winchester Restaurant serves as another example. The need for community review of the requested zoning change created a forum for communication between neighbors and the
business. Without the necessity of a zoning change, the restaurant owners would have had little incentive to address these concerns.

Community input, in the form of zoning-change reviews, is an important element in ensuring that development on Chicago Avenue is positive and serves the larger good.

Thank you,
Scott A. Rappe, AIA
Chairperson
Planning, Preservation & Development Committee

Illinois tries to find you, and give you money

By Greg Nagel

Banks and businesses must turn over unclaimed property to the state Treasurer’s Office if they are unable to locate the rightful owner after five years. The laws that govern this activity are called escheat or unclaimed-property laws.

From my previous life in Corporate America I recall how common it was for companies to not issue checks for credits on accounts, but rather simply turn over this money to the state. Also, there was situations where payroll money also got turned over to the state when an employee's contact info became stale.

Nearly every state has a website to look up your name to see if you can claim any of that money. In Illinois this site is subtitled Cash Dash.

Simply go to this site, type your name and search. If the state has unclaimed funds in your name, you'll have to fill out a short form, get it notarized, and mail it to the state.

I collected a whopping $68 for myself. I hope you find your pot of gold!