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 proposed for 1916-24 West Chicago Avenue consists of the demolition of the existing antiquated structures on the site and construction of a new mixed-use building. Although the design concept is pictured in these materials, the final design is not yet available.

The building at Chicago & Winchester is being designed to enhance the streetscape and social interaction within the community. The Miller Hull Partnership, of Seattle, Washington, has created a unique building to fit that role. Expressed steel structure and glass allows the building to float above the harsh, solid street level of surrounding buildings and allows for softened landscaping.
Masonry elements to the North and East create a buffer between the Chicago Avenue thoroughfare and neighborhood.

PP&D Committee Commentary

While the request at hand is a straightforward technical zoning matter, it should be noted that it will result in the demolition of two fine buildings that contribute greatly to the character of Chicago Avenue.

The proposed building appears to be well-designed and of high quality, however nothing about it would require that it be built on this particular site. Under the proper ownership, the existing structures could be economically rehabilitated and remain a reflection of this classic shopping district’s history, while continuing to serve the needs of retail business and residents.

Ranquist Development has built some of the best new structures in the neighborhood in recent years, and many are better than the buildings they replaced. It should be commended for pursuing forward-looking contemporary design, rather than the tired historic pastiche typically condescended upon us by other developers.

However, the purchase of a property brings with it stewardship responsibilities. If the existing buildings do not meet the needs of the buyer, then perhaps the buyer should look elsewhere.
It is time we move beyond the attitude that these old structures are ours to destroy. The embodied energy, the vintage materials, the reflection of a moment in architectural history,and the place held in a community’s collective memory are too valuable to sacrifice without good reason.

Property ownership has an undeniable and revered legal status, but we live in a time when responsibilities to our environment and to our communities must transcend mere property rights.
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