Groups plan 1st & 2nd Ward debates, festival disclosures


East Village Association minutes for Sept. 8, 2014, submitted by Catherine Garypie

WEST TOWN ALDERMANIC DEBATES FOR 1st & 2nd Ward

Membership consensus: It's a good idea. Chicago Grand Neighbors Association, Wicker Park Committee and Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association (Niketopolous is recusing himself since he's running) are likely to work with EVA.

Discussion on dates: Best time believed to be end of February 2015 for two debates (one for each Ward), one week apart, maybe at Wells High School. Some controlled questions will be used. Questions in advance could be solicited from each neighborhood association.

Petitions are due on Nov. 24. Some candidates may drop out. President Neal McKnight will work on the logistics.

EVA also will invite aldermanic candidates to speak for 10 to 15 minutes at upcoming meetings starting in October, two candidates each month.

LIBRARY FUNDRAISER

Event will be Thursday, Sept. 25. Please register teams: $75 for a four-person team, $20 for a spectator ticket to fund kids chess & adult programming at the West Town Branch. EVA's dollars go very far at the local library branch. Chicago Sun-Times will be matching funds raised.

This is a test for the Chicago Library Foundation: It's the first time working with a neighborhood organization on a branch fundraiser. Donations are tax deductible.

Scaffolding is up on Goldblatt's Building because of repairs needed on windows; there's a delay with General Services. Please call 311 and the alderman to try to get windows fixed and scaffolding removed.

COUNCIL OF NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATIONS

Template of financial disclosures ("Festival Financial Disclosure Template") is being drafted. Council of Associations will give the template to Ald. Proco Joe Moreno and maybe later to city Office of Special Events. The issue is where the money's going.

Initially, the West Town Chamber was cooperative, but not the Wicker Park Chamber. Now we're being told they are legally prevented from sharing information, an alleged security issue. Signs stating that "Proceeds from Festival are being donated" means beer sales do not go to the charity.

Recent concern: Chicago Fashion Fest/ New Orleans Festival. Businesses near fest were not thrilled. Council of Associations would like the street fests to be local. Bucktown Arts Fest gave Council of Associations complete disclosure.

SSA APPLICATION

The West Town Special Service Area is being reconstituted. Its authorization has been repeatedly extended, and 20% of properties, counted by PIN number, have to agree to extend the SSA.

It appears that at this time SSA does not have enough PIN numbers. Why extend the application deadline? It's unclear. Who's running the application process? It will be a 15-year tax increase. 61% of the PINs in the proposed SSA are residential, which is just too much residential in an SSA.

The current SSA will expire at the end of 2014. In 2012, the City Council held hearings, residents testified & residential parcels on Damen were taken out, then the state legislature approved the SSA. The same process is not being followed this time. The West Town SSA is not being transparent. It was unclear when the hearing would be held.

PLANNING, PRESERVATION & DEVELOPMENT

1822 W. THOMAS: The landowner has three adjoining lots with two buildings. The owner wants to demolish the two buildings and build a triple-wide single family home. Owner is requesting a variance on all 4 setbacks. EVA is talking to the architect and zoning attorney to see if they can adjust their request.

In general EVA is supportive of single-family homes in the area. The question is whether there's a true hardship behind the request. The setback reductions being sought are for the rear yard (its a short lot), front yard (for a porch) and both sides to the amount required if building a two-lot rather than three-lot building. The structure will be an "L" shape. EVA is still considering the request.

1947 W. CHICAGO AVE.: The 8- to 10-year-old condo construction site is in bad shape. A new developer wants five units with commercial on the ground floor, which would need an upzone. EVA is talking to the developer about a historic facade easement that will run with the land and restrictions on certain commercial tenants (for example, no payday loans, tattoo parlors, dry cleaners, etc). CGNA is going to weigh in. Developer is not asking for a change to floor-area ratio. EVA is still considering the request.

1822-50 W. CHICAGO AVE.: EVA voted no upzone last spring. It was a close vote. EVA asked Fifield to build within existing zoning. EVA did not want the developer to buy out of affordable housing requirements. Moreno originally told EVA he did not want Fifield to buy out of affordable housing.

The alderman has approved the upzone and the buyout from affordable housing and didn't tell EVA, even though EVA repeatedly asked him about this. Fifield had told Ald. Moreno it would be a financial hardship. The recent plan was for 59 units with two affordable housing units. Fifield recently sold its K2 property for $215 million at a significant profit. Moreno is waivering on his commitment to affordable housing.

CAPS

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OTHER ISSUES

Potholes continue to be an issue in the city (see especially 1000 block of North Winchester and the intersection at Augusta/ Milwaukee/ I-90/94). ... A new neighborhood association is forming, bound by Damen, Western, Chicago and Grand. ... A new business south of East Village is Evolution Wines & Spirits, run by a former Sam’s Wines & Spirits executive. ... El Metro opens on the southeast corner of Chicago and Damen. ... Congress Theater is having difficulty in license transition. No membership meeting in August because of block party.

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