EVA Monday: Holiday treats

Complimentary pizza from Roots and baked goods from West Town Bakery will be served at Monday's East Village Association meeting, in the game room at Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott. The meeting starts at 7pm.

The agenda includes development updates on the Fifield Cos. apartment site at 1850 W. Chicago Ave., the former AAA Distributing site; the Smithfield apartments at 1815 W. Division St., the former Miller Lumber location, and the Forbidden Root brewery at 1750 W. Chicago Ave.

EVA's aldermanic meet-and-greet series continues with 2nd Ward candidates Cornell Wilson and Brian Hopkins. You're also welcome to submit your questions for our candidate debates, set for Jan. 29 in the 1st Ward and Feb. 15 in the 2nd Ward, at Wells High School.

Where is East Village crime?


East Village marked 417 violent crimes and 1,186 property crimes in the less than two years since 2013, according to an EVA analysis of Chicago Police statistics. Half took place on a sidewalk, street or alley; fewer than a quarter in an apartment or residence.

Two out of five violent crimes were reported on the four main streets: 18% on Ashland Avenue, 12% each on Milwaukee and Chicago avenues, and 10% on Division Street. Violent crimes include homicide, criminal sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault or battery.

Property crimes (burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft and arson) hit closer to home. Among 1,186 property crimes, 39% were in a home or apartment building, garage or yard. Streets and sidewalk accounted for 38%; 11% were on CTA trains, buses, platforms or bus stops.

Through Nov. 17, fewer crimes have been reported this year than at this time last year. Violent crime's down 11% in this tally; property crimes are 10% and lower lifestyle crimes (including criminal damage to property, narcotics and prostitution) were cut 3%.

Zoom in on the map to see crime near you, and click for case details. If you cannot see the map, click here. Maps use Chicago Police location markers; actual addresses aren't disclosed, and the markers are meant to be approximate.

East Village crime animation

For a bigger version of the animation, click here.

How to address a problem business


Trash pickups before 7am were discussed in a meeting of business owners and neighbors.

Getting action on a problem business in Chicago takes a track record: calls to 9-1-1 and 3-1-1.

Alley noise complaints led to a meeting this month with residents and business in the 2000 block of West Division Street. Ald. Proco Joe Moreno facilitated agreements to stop overnight trash dumping or pickups before 7am, to keep containers locked and close to buildings, and to clean the alley.

Police and inspectors check out complaints and can fine a businesses for violations. The owner also can be called in to City Hall for a "remediation conference” with the alderman, police and a city attorney. The meetings try to resolve problems and show how they put a business license is at risk.

Actions for neighbors are outlined in a flier from Chicago's Business Affairs & Consumer Protection department:

  • Call 9-1-1 to report illegal activity and nuisance behaviors: noise, fighting, drinking and loitering, public urination and defecation, drug sales, gambling, prostitution, and intimidating passers-by.
  • Urge neighbors to call 9-1-1. The number of calls logged in the city database tell police and regulators what's happening at a specific location.
  • Call 3-1-1 to report nuisance conditions and bad business practices: This includes outdated food,overcharges, unstamped cigarettes, sale of single cigarettes, sale of tobacco products to minors, sale of drug paraphernalia, unsanitary handling of food, insect or rodent infestation, overflowing dumpsters, trash and debris. Make sure to ask for the “SR #” so you can track what happens to your complaint. A database collects information from each call, which gives city regulators a better picture of what is happening at that business.
  • Document the nuisance issues: Take pictures of the nuisance conditions all around the business: trash & litter outside, windows covered with signage, loitering, etc. Make sure to note the time and date the photo was taken. This documentation can be used to bolster community reports of illegal and nuisance activity at that location.
  • Work with your alderman: Contact your alderman’s office to report and discuss the problem business. Make sure the alderman is aware of any illegal activities and nuisance issues surrounding the business in his/her ward. An alderman may contact the business or the police to discuss issues at that location.
  • Attend CAPS meetings in your community: Contact the district commander to inform them of the issues occurring on or near the premise. Many of these issues are addressed at CAPS meetings.
  • Request a community meeting with the City: Organize with neighbors to request the City’s Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection begin the public nuisance process regarding the business.
  • Letters from 5 residents or the alderman sent to the BACP commissioner or the Local Liquor Commissioner will initiate a BACP investigation of the business, to determine how the issues complained of will be best addressed.
  • Attend all community meetings and court hearings you receive notice for to make your voice heard. Be specific about conditions that affect you, your family, and your community’s safety and well-being.

Blue Line remodel, medical marijuana plans take shape

A "traditional" subway canopy can double the CTA's cost.


East Village Association board minutes for Nov. 10, 2014, submitted by Catherine Garypie

Aldermanic debate

Dates are Jan. 29 (1st Ward), Feb, 15 (2nd Ward). Andy Shaw of Better Government Association will host, Wells High auditorium is rented, other associations are on board. Shaw may have format ideas. Wells students can submit questions.

December meeting/holiday party

Neal McKnight will check venues for Monday evening Dec. 8.

Aldermanic speakers at upcoming meetings

Dec. 1: Wilson, Shaw, Hopkins; Jan. 5: Moreno, Pattison; Feb. 2: Pfingsten, Buenrostro.

Polish Triangle

An online survey drew 1,200 responses; the majority want a traditional entrance design for the Blue Line station at Division, keeping the fountain and placing canopies over the subway. The traditional design costs $600,000, twice the price of the "modern" choice. McKnight will propose that we get specifications for the canopy foundation to get art on top of the canopy.

Studio Gang has been invited to get involved. EVA board members will attend the next meeting with the CTA. The next meeting is with local businesses. A number of entities are involved, and it's unclear how much influence EVA will have in the process.

Red alert: EVA drafts demolition delay proposal


Preservation Chicago's Erica Ruggiero briefs EVA members at Happy Village.

East Village Association minutes for Nov. 3, 2014, submitted by Catherine Garypie

HISTORIC PRESERVATION: Erica Ruggiero, Preservation Chicago advocacy director

Chicago's demolition delay ordinance relies on properties identified in the 1995 Chicago Historic Resources Survey. The survey's original purpose wasn't to support the ordinance, yet that's how the city identifies properties to preserve. Buildings are identified by color:

  • RED properties possess some architectural feature or historical association that made them potentially significant in the city, state or nation. About 300 properties are categorized as Red.
  • ORANGE properties possess some architectural feature or historical association that made them potentially significant in the community. About 9,600 properties are categorized as Orange.
  • GREEN, YELLOW-GREEN, and YELLOW properties are generally considered either too altered or lacking individual significance to be included in the survey's database.
  • BLUE properties are constructed after 1940 and were generally not included in the database.

The problem is that many non-Red properties in the survey, as well as historically significant properties that did not make it onto the survey, are not being fully evaluated and are being lost.

Significantly, the Illinois Historic Structures Survey, an inventory of places of purely architectural interest completed in the early 1970s, included many Chicago buildings not included in the Chicago survey. For example, 1,100 properties in West Town were identified by the state, but not the city. Those properties are essentially unprotected.

Preservation Chicago has been working with the East Village Association and several other groups to craft a proposal to address gaps in current law causing loss of historic structures in Chicago. This is an effort to address historic preservation issues in the entire city, not just in East Village.

Ideas presented in the proposal:

  1. Increase the demolition delay period in the ordinance from 90 days to 270 days. This allows more time to locate land swaps or financial incentives for preserving the structure.
  2. Apply the delay to all properties 50 years and older, instead of just Orange properties. All other major cities in U.S. use the 50-year standard of the National Park Service (all buildings 50 years or older are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places).
  3. Expand Chicago Department of Buildings' green permit program. The current program offers qualifying new construction projects an expedited permit process and possible reduction of permit fees. The proposal would qualify both new construction and historic preservation or rehab properties.
  4. Restructure the “Adopt-A-Landmark” program. Currently, a developer can adopt a landmark within 2,000 feet of a new development and get financial incentives. The proposal would broaden the program to all historically significant properties in a broader geographic area.
  5. Increase demolition permit fee so homeowners and developers are on an even playing field. The average cost for a demo permit is now $200. Increasing the fee to as much as $50,000 is being discussed. At $50,000 developers may allow individuals to bid on rehabbing and preserving the structure.
  6. Require an Environmental Impact Statement if a development is impacting a historic property. Minnesota is leading the way in this issue, requiring a statement from not just government entities but anyone proposing a project with an impact on historic property. The burden's on the developer to prove the property is "not historically significant".
  7. Offer tax incentives in more Chicago enterprise zones under the Illinois Enterprise Zone Program.

Benefits of these proposals: new revenue streams for city, more systematic approach to preserving existing structure, greener, opportunities for dialogue, stabilize neighborhood, more residential & commercial development. Importantly, these are NOT an unfunded mandate – rather they will assist in preserving City resources.

Next step is create proposal to take to City of Chicago Historic Preservation Division, then to aldermen to bring to the City Council.

Is this going to preserve buildings that really should be torn down? Those demolitions are generally court-ordered. The longer delay would give the city adequate time to look at the building and either work to preserve it or release it for demolition - it allows a pause. The idea is to prevent the situation where a demo permit is issued and then historic preservation efforts begin.

Division Street bars, neighbors meet on trash pickup

Division Street bar owners and neighbors are meeting Wednesday to resolve noise issues from early morning garbage pickup.

The meeting's at 5pm in SmallBar, 1049 W. Division St. Ald. Proco Joe Moreno's lining up bar owners and their private trash haulers to attend.

Residents on Division Street and Haddon Avenue west of Damen Avenue want to limit pickups hours. City ordinance bans noise from loading or unloading garbage cans between 10pm and 7am. That includes dumping bottles and cans in the trash bins.

For more information, contact Kirby Daniels at (312) 714-4460.

Ward debate, CTA Blue Line plans


Andrew Hamilton and Steve Niketopoulos speak at the Oct. 6 meeting. Other 1st and 2nd Ward candidates will give presentations at upcoming meetings. EVA will organize a separate debate.

East Village Association board minutes for Oct. 13, 2014, submitted by Catherine Garypie

ALDERMANIC DEBATES

NOTE: EVA & EVA Board must be politically neutral. Individuals can support candidates in their individual capacity, but not as EVA reps. Talk to McKnight with any concerns on this as the aldermanic races heat up.

Wells HS (rents for $280/night)

Dates: 1/29 (2nd Ward) & 2/5 (1st Ward) btwn 6 & 9pm

Partners: CGNA (YES), UVNA (YES - Kim), New Group South of Chicago & West of Damen (YES), others? NOTE: Wicker Park Committee may join in. Invites will go out 60 days in advance (Nov 29).

Ideas for a moderator? Possibly Tony Sarabia from WBEZ.

May use these as a fundraising opportunity. The Winchester (restaurant) will hold pre-date cocktail party w/proceeds go to local charity ($10/person, everyone gets a drink with the $10 entry)

May use League of Women's Voters format. McKnight will circulate Google Doc.

Possible topics for the debate: candidate view of EVA's white paper on historic preservation; would you overrule a neighborhood organization that voted and gave you a recommendation for a decision you are charged with making? if yes, why? in what situation?; InnerTown Pub beer garden; routine damage to tree pits along Division & Chicago by sidewalk cafes (bricks, lighting, outlets installed in tree pits); management of menu dollars.

WELLS FIELD OF HOPE FUNDRAISER

10/20/14. Dinner at Homestead. Is this a political event? Moreno is a co-sponsor. The money goes directly to Field of Hope, but Moreno is listed as a co-sponsor. Board decision: EVA will send a contribution directly to Field of Hope in advance of event, but because of bylaws (EVA needs to stay politically neutral), EVA will not send members to attend the event. NOTE: EVA members may attend in their individual capacity. Tix are $200. EVA will donate $400.

ALDERMANIC SPEAKERS FOR GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS

November: Hopkins & Locke; December: Wilson & Shaw; January: Moreno & Pattison; February: Pfingsten & Buenrostro. Dates may change; some candidates may not make it on the ballot.

EVA accepts Chicago Christmas Crawl


Jess Loren, David Coleman at Oct. 6 meeting in Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott Ave.

East Village Association minutes for Oct. 6, 2014 meeting, submitted by Catherine Garypie

CHICAGO CHRISTMAS CRAWL

Jess Loren, SocialTechPop:

I am a former resident of this area. The event will be on Division between Ashland & Hoyne to have tasting and cocktail options for a "spirited event" ($3-$5 tasting menu, food). We don't expect to be a heavy-drinking event. Our ticket price ($35) targets an older crowd ("25 years old & up"). We're trying to focus on more of a foodie vibe. There will be no trolley – walking only. We have 6 venues committed. We're in talks with other venues. Other venues want to know what the community thinks before committing.

We believe this is a positive for the neighborhood businesses because we are going to bring business to these restaurants at a slow time of year. City doesn't require a permit for an event like this. But we'll go through the process for a permit. We are a 1st year event, we don't have a history, and we're not sure how many people to expect. Chicago Special Events is experienced and will be handling street cleanup immediately after the event. The event will run from 10am to 8pm. Security will end at 8:30pm. We are considering a date change to December 6 (Locke: That is the date of Do-Division Fest).

David Coleman, Extrity: I've been in security for 10 years. We handle security for Boundary. We'll have "roamers" - a rotating presence. Several people rotating from Paulina to Ashland. We may ask people to leave if there is undesirable behavior. We understand this is not Clark Street - it's a family neighborhood. We'll have off-duty EMTs and CPD as employees at the event. My company is big on hospitality. We don't like to be physically aggressive. Security will give anyone who is overserved to the CPD.

Neal McKnight, EVA president: One concern in this area is that fests can attract undesirable behavior which is essentially a tax on the community.

Q. How do we keep you to what you are promising? Will you put these promises in writing & back it up with contracts? Most of don't live right on Division. Will you extend cleanup to 2-3 blocks on either side of Division? Do you have a traffic plan?

A: All contracts will be attendance-based so we don’t know how many tickets will be sold at this time. If we get heavy ticket sales we will have the staff necessary present at the event. I will sit down and talk with EVA about contracts & staffing once we get closer to the event. We want this to be an annual event. We want to community to be happy with the event. Note also that we are working with charities which will benefit from this event.

Q: Can the charity be the Lasalle II school on Division?

A. We are targeting CFD Union, I'm for Kids & Chicagoland Dog Rescue

Q: We know our community. We have bars. With the fests, we see problems on the side streets, not on Division. Security on Division won't really help much. Also, we only get a response when we use the "liquor license" buzzwords with bars/restaurant. We don’t have that kind of control with your organization.

A: I will sit down and talk with EVA about contracts & staffing once we get closer to the event.

Q: When is your definitive time frame for reaching agreement w/the three neighborhood associations?

A: There is a 45 day buffer between the application & the permit issuing.

Q: Is Alderman in favor or opposed?

A: I have no comment on that.

VOTE: Yes Christmas Crawl or no Christmas Crawl? YES-11 NO-9. EVA does not oppose the Christmas Crawl.