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Showing posts from October, 2007

Higher Chicago taxes? Tell Alderman Flores

Higher taxes and fees are up for discussion at Ald. Manny Flores' two open meetings on the city's 2008 budget: Thursday, November 1, 2007 Goldblatt's Building , 1615 W. Chicago Ave. 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 6, 2007 Bucktown-Wicker Park Library , 1701 N. Milwaukee Ave. 6:30 p.m. Christopher Johnson, the alderman's community affairs director, also invites residents to send comments to Ald. Flores . The city's 2008 budget is posted on the Office of Budget and Management website.

November East Village Association meeting

Plans for a one-story (with mezzanine) Walgreens drugstore design for the corner of Division and Ashland are to be presented at the November 6 EVA meeting. Justin Schultz, from Interra-Vision Development, requested an opportunity to speak to the group. EVA has proposed a development of the size and quality of the MB bank building across the street. Bobby Burrelson, who is opening a Southwest-theme at the old Andy's Deli location, also is scheduled to make a presentation. Cook County Commissioner Roberto Maldonado has canceled a scheduled appearance, indicating a need to join a budget hearing in Maywood. The 8th District commissioner had planned to present some of the recent activities that he has been successful in initiating in the 8th District as well as countywide.

Zoning Change Request

Bob Ranquist & Jack Guthman will attend the October meeting to discuss Ranquist Development's request to change the zoning at 1916-24 2West Chicago Avenue The following is an excerpt, edited for brevity, from Ranquist Development’s submittal to the Planning, Preservation & Development Committee: Ranquist Development is requesting a technical amendment to the zoning boundary that currently divides the properties into two separate zoning classifications, the North section of the properties (approximately 20%), is situated in the RT-4 zoning district, the remaining South section (80%) is situated in the B3-2 zoning district. To remedy this highly unusual circumstance, we request that the zoning line be moved north to the existing alley, thereby placing the property entirely within the B3-2 zoning district, consistent with the existing zoning along Chicago Avenue to the west. Ranquist Development has a contract to purchase the property from the current owner. The project p

Special Service Area #33

by Scott A. Rappe Special Service Area #33 includes the commercial properties on Division, North, Western, Damen, and Ashland in the area roughly bounded by those streets and the Kennedy Expressway on the North. The property taxes paid by these buildings include an additional assessment which funds targeted community improvement projects within the area. Recently I met with SSA #33 Commissioner Claudia Skylar to discuss several issues where EVA and SSA interests overlap. The SSA has commissioned Philadelphia urban planning firm Interface Studio to prepare a commercial master plan. When completed next spring, this plan will serve as a roadmap to guide the SSA’s capital improvements. The importance of such an effort cannot be understated; for all its world-class recognition, Chicago has suffered greatly for the lack of comprehensive planning. This is demonstrated repeatedly by frequent zoning changes, major development battles and minor scuffles like the tree pit fiasco on Divi

West Town Library Update

by Aaron Bilton For the last two years the East Village Association has been working with community groups, park advisory councils, schools, and the chamber of commerce from the area in order to bring a much needed new branch library to the West Town neighborhood. These groups have formed the Coalition for a West Town Library. The Coalition has met on a regular basis with the four aldermen in the area in order to bring our concerns to City Hall. All of the aldermen (Ald. Flores, Ald. Burnett, Ald. Ocasio former Ald. Matlak and new 32nd Ward Ald. Waguespack) recognized the need for a new library and voiced their support for the library. Some time ago the aldermen met with the Commissioner of the Chicago Public Library, Mary Dempsey, to ask her to bring a new library to the neighborhood. They also brought this concern to Mayor Daley last winter, and the Mayor has expressed his support. The current plan is to consolidate the existing storefront branches at Eckhart Park and the 2300

Boundary Tree Pit Update

by Scott Rappe As reported in last month’s newsletter , Boundary, a new Division Street bar, has removed two tree pit fences and paved over the planting area. The tree pits contribute to a unified streetscape giving Division Street a cohesive identity and were installed during Division Street's low point as a shopping district in the hope that it would one day be revitalized.It is ironic that now that the area has become a 'hot'destination individual merchants, would erode this unity and consistency. In the ensuing uproar, I contacted Janet Attarian, project manager with the Chicago Department of Transportation. In order to prevent streetscape improvements being decimated by subsequent construction, CDOT has instituted moratoria in areas where such improvements have been made.Ms. Attarian confirmed that our stretch of tree pits on Division Street is one of the protected streetscapes. In cases where work is necessary, CDOT requires that the property owner sign a 're

Aldermanic Liaison Report

By Greg Nagel I met with the 1st ward Alderman, Manny Flores, at his Ward night on 9/10/07. First off, the Alderman indicated how impressed he was with the huge EVA attendance at the September CAPS meeting of Beat 1322.At that meeting there was a house that was mentioned where it was suspected drug activity.The Alderman reported back to me that he actually met with the owner of the home and relayed the community concerns. I also followed up with the Alderman regarding the issue with Jun Bar in that it was reported by EVA members that they were abusing their sidewalk privileges.Alderman Flores indicated that people from his office have spoken to the owner and have received a promise to follow the sidewalk café use regulations.Can anyone provide any feedback on whether we have seen an improvement? Lastly, we discussed the Division Street restaurant Boundary and the issue of the tree pits. agreed to request the owners of Boundary attend our next EVA meeting as guests to discuss their

East Village Association General Membership Meeting Minutes

This post contains corrected material. 7 PM September 4, 2007, Happy Village Tavern Wynona Redmond, Pubic Affairs Director for Dominick’s, was the guest speaker. She discussed what the store has to offer as well as some of the challenges they faced opening the store. Senior discount days are Wednesdays. She also took questions from the floor. East Village Members are invited to a grand opening reception on September 27th before they open to the public on September 28th. There is approximately $1700 in the general fund. There are currently 55 memberships (22 Individual, 23 Family, 3 Businesses, 7 Seniors). Pizza Hut/Wendy’s at Division and Ashland: The Scott Rappe and Greg Nagel are gathering information on the development. A Walgreens is proposed there. The planning and development committee plans to meet with the developer and the Ward 1Alderman to discuss its layout & density. Scott Rappe also reported that the building at 1916-24 West Chicago Avenue is scheduled for demoliti

East Village Association Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

6:30 PM September 10th, 2007, Happy Village Tavern Pulaski Park neighbors voiced their concern to us about the loitering in Polish Triangle Plaza, asking what we thought about removing the benches temporarily as a deterrent. The board agreed that that was not the best solution; however we will write a letter showing our concern. Mary Spur will write a letter to the Mayor’s office showing our concern for the recent shootings in the area. It was discussed that EVA will be a “conduit” to encourage people to attend CAPS meetings. Greg Nagel reported his discussion with the Alderman of the issue of the recent paved over tree pit on Division Street. It was discussed that even though the new tenant had met the landscape requirements, paving over the pit was not respectful to the nature of the streetscape. The owners of the restaurant will possibly come to the next general membership meeting to share their intents with the space. Mary will write a thank you note to Happy Village Tavern

Update on the Southwest Corner of Division Street and Ashland Avenue—Pizza Hut Site

by Mary Szpur As Scott Rappe, chairman of EVA’s Planning, Preservation, and Development committee, has reported, development plans for the former Pizza Hut site on Division Street and Ashland Avenue so far most likely continue to be a freestanding Walgreens. EVA’s Board, however, supports development with a denser, multi-story development on this site, more consistent with the MB bank building directly north across Division Street, to form a coherent “gateway” to the neighborhood. Walgreens could of course be part of that development. A mixed-use development, including residential, close to the concentration of mass transit available at this site, would be consistent with the city of Chicago’s planning goals for prominent corner sites. If development of this site interests you, please come to the October EVA meeting on Tuesday, October 2, to discuss the issue.

EVA Starts East Village Chicago Discussion Group

by Stephen Rynkiewicz Talk amongst yourselves. We'll give you a topic. East Village Association has started a discussion group on Yahoo!People who join can post comments or ask questions on items of local interest, at groups.yahoo.com/group/evachicago . You can receive notes from members as they're posted or in a daily email, or read them on the Web. This control over how much email you receive could be an important feature. Nearby in Logan Square, people post 600 messages a month in a similar Yahoo! group ( groups.yahoo.com/group/LoganSquare ). The back-and-forth comments recently have dealt with taxes, development and the burning of the Mega Mall building on Milwaukee Avenue. Members of the Logan Square group posted notices on activities and events, compared local shops and tradesmen, swapped job-hunting tips and in one case gave away a Pottery Barn desk. During the Mexican independence festivities, they asked each other why helicopters were hovering over Fullerton Ave

EVA President’s Message

by Mary Szpur The shootings that occurred over the last summer in our community spurred some East Village residents to come to EVA meetings looking for more information, for answers on how the neighborhood would respond, for an opportunity to publicly voice frustration and concerns, or for assurances from local authorities that these incidents were not being ignored. One outcome was that the EVA Board requested that EVA members attend the Beat 1322 September CAPS meeting to discuss these incidents—and indeed, many EVA members attended that meeting as a "show of force," to quote one EVA Board member. Both 1st Ward Alderman Flores and 32nd Ward Alderman Waguespack attended the CAPS meeting as well. Several neighborhood residents at the CAPS meeting offered suggestions for dealing with these problems on a grassroots level. Of note, Alderman Flores stated that our neighborhood is essentially safe, and that the events of this summer were an anomaly. Whether or not you agree

Planning, Preservation & Development Committee

by Scott Rappe Pizza Hut Property We have continued our advocacy for an appropriately scaled mixed-use development on the property formerly occupied by Pizza Hut. This month, the Committee learned that the property was sold for $4,850,000. Apparently the deal also included a portion of the Wendy’s parcel to the west, though the extent is not known at this time. Alderman Flores has seen one round of drawings for the proposed development, a free-standing Walgreens which, we are told, he rejected. In a meeting with the Alderman, committee and board members observed that the present developer does not ‘get it’ and requested that the Alderman spread the word to other developers that this site holds potential for a denser, mixed-use, transit oriented development. 1916-24 West Winchester Ranquist Development, Inc. has submitted an information package to the Planning, Preservation & Development Committee regarding its proposed new development on Chicago Avenue, at Winchester. (Bob Ran
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