Showing posts from February, 2008

Volunteers to draft 32nd Ward master plan

By Rich Anselmo Alderman Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward) has asked the East Village Association to participate in a "Master Plan/Developer Project." This is a good opportunity to establish a planning and growth path agenda. The project is similar to Ald. Tom Tunney's 44th Ward's Community Directed Development Council. Community group representatives and business leaders met in 2003 to talk about their vision for Lakeview. Groups worked individually the next year on subjects such as residential development, affordable housing, transportation, parks and city services, and their reports in 2005 were the basis for a master plan for the ward. The council continues to advise the alderman on zoning and other issues. The portion of East Village that is in the 32nd Ward is located at the southwest corner of the neighborhood — roughly Augusta, Honore, Chicago, Damen (the 11th precinct). Interested parties should check the 44th Ward's Web page for more on the that ward's c

It takes an effort to raise a village

President's Message by Mary Szpur I would like to reflect on East Village Association's accomplishments over the last year: Thanks to the efforts of our webmaster Steve Rynkiewicz, EVA has joined the 21st century and has a website! What a great pleasure and immense help it has been to have a constantly updated online website: . Thanks to Marjorie Isaacson for her assistance in helping with the initial setup of the EVA website and for helping set up the evachicago discussion group on Yahoo! Also thanks to her for her help with many EVA issues, this year and for the last 20 years. Thanks to Scott Rappe for his careful analyses of complex architectural, zoning, planning and development issues that the Planning, Preservation, and Development committee he heads dealt with this past year. These included: proposed Walgreens development of the former Pizza Hut site at Division and Ashland (a very important issue EVA is still working on), proposed devel

March 4 EVA election candidate profiles

In the last year our East Village Association community group has really revitalized and made great progress! We have made a real impact on development in our area, reformed the Planning & Development Committee, grown our membership, created a website and discussion group, and had relevant speakers come to our meetings. We need to keep this momentum going and build on this progress. So in our March 4 meeting we need to elect new officers. Each candidate has written a short biography. Please make sure to come to the meeting and vote. Please remember that only active members can vote on March 4, so please pay your annual membership dues. You can do this online at our website by clicking on the “Join EVA” orange button in the bottom-left corner or by bringing a check to the next meeting. EVA membership dues are $30 business, $20 family, $15 individual or $5 senior. John Scheer, candidate for EVA president My name is John Scheer and I moved to the East Village in 1995. That’s 13 y

Cook County Commissioner Earlean Collins to visit March 4 EVA meeting

By John Scheer Cook County Commissioner Earlean Collins ( 1st District ) has agreed to come to the March 4 East Village Association general meeting. Collins will present some of the recent activities in the 1st District and countywide. Additional information will be available on Cook County initiatives, and she will inform the audience of activities where they can contribute their support. Commissioners are trying to close a $239 million deficit in the county's $3.2 billion 2008 budget. Information about the committees that Collins chairs and the map of the 1st District can be found on her Web page Please submit your questions and topics of interest for Commissioner Collins to address.

Put your money where your house is

By Brian Thompson and John Scheer, EVA membership committee It is time for EVA members to pay their 2008 dues. EVA members can pay dues online via PayPay or credit card. Simply go to the EVA website ( and click on "Join EVA/Pay EVA Dues" in the lower left corner, then follow the prompts. It is that easy! Paying your dues is important because only members in good standing can vote in the March, 2008 elections. As a reminder, those new members who joined EVA at the August, 2007 BBQ are already paid up for 2008.

Library shelves plan, checks out Goldblatt's as West Town branch

By Aaron Bilton For the past several months, the effort to bring a new library to the West Town neighborhood has been in a holding pattern. We have been waiting for the city to enter into an agreement to purchase the AAA Distributing Co. building, 1830 W. Chicago Ave. Throughout we have been receiving updates, mostly stating that negotiations were continuing but they would still have to get the money to go forward. Late last fall, the City Council passed a property tax increase, part of which was to be for new libraries. We were informed that the West Town library was high on the list of proposed libraries. After the increase passed, the updates changed slightly but basically stayed along the lines of “negotiations are continuing.” That was true until recently. Due to the inability to reach an acceptable purchase price, along with an opening at another location, the city has broken off negotiations with the owners of the AAA building. The new plan is to locate the West Town branch

East Village businesses blossom with liquor moratorium; EVA election March 4

President’s Message By Mary Szpur The liquor moratorium currently in place in East Village was implemented approximately 15 years ago, and was an effort to promote business diversity and a pleasant neighborhood ambience. The catalyst for the moratorium was the fact that East Village was being bombarded by requests for liquor stores and bars. EVA members surveyed the neighborhood and found that the neighborhood was already well served by approximately 75 licenses (package, incidental, tavern, and public places of amusement) at the time. Community members thought that the restrictions of the moratorium would be a useful planning tool that would lend some diversity to local business development and would promote the establishment of florists, hair salons, bookstores, food stores, clothing stores, home stores and other services that we needed and wanted. East Village has changed, and West Town Chamber of Commerce has written a letter of support for lifting the liquor moratorium in East Vi

EVA leaders support East Village liquor moratorium

This letter is from the East Village Association (EVA) board and is being addressed to our two alderman, Manny Flores and Scott Waguespack, West Town Chamber of Commerce Chicago, the EVA membership, and EVA newsletter readers. It is drafted with the purpose of conveying the reasoning behind our stance to support the existing moratorium by providing some history. Furthermore, it is meant to a response to the West Town Chamber of Commerce Chicago letter published in January of 2008. Liquor Moratorium – what is it? An ordinance voted on by City Council A limitation on the issuance of new liquor licenses Limitation is specific to liquor licenses for ‘consumption on premises’ and ‘package sales’ No impact on existing liquor licenses for continued operations No limitation for ‘incidental’ licenses in support of restaurant sales Why is there a liquor moratorium in and around the East Village neighborhood? It provides the residents with a tool to manage the quality of life in their neighborho

Liquor moratorium exceptions: What is the law? What is alderman’s position?

Report and commentary By Greg Nagel As described in detail in last month’s newsletter article written by John Scheer, over eight years ago a liquor moratorium was put in effect in East Village covering both tavern and packaged sales licenses. The East Village enjoys several 2 block moratoriums that run from Chicago Avenue to Damen to the south side of Division to Ashland. At our last membership meeting ( January 2008 ) Eddie Ratwan, owner of Damen & Augusta Foods at 1001 North Damen, was a guest speaker and requested the membership for support and signatures for granting him a Packaged Sales liquor license. However, the actual law does not provide a mechanism for allowing a single existing business that does not currently have a liquor license to gain one without the Aldermen removing the entire moratorium for the entire moratorium area. Therefore, a change for one business would be a neighborhood change that requires a lot more consideration. And when an alderman is considering m

Alderman Flores: Boundary tavern's tree pits to be fully restored

Aldermanic liaison report by Greg Nagel Alderman Manny Flores says parkway green space at The Boundary lounge will be restored to its former size. As Scott Rappe reported in previous newsletters , the new bar at 1937 W. Division St. removed two tree-pit fences this summer and paved over the planting area. "The tree pits contribute to a unified streetscape giving Division Street a cohesive identity," Rappe wrote , "and were installed during Division Street's low point as a shopping district in the hope that it would one day be revitalized.” The Boundary did this with full permission and proper permits. “During the normal building permit process, the Department of Zoning reviews all projects," said Rappe, who chairs the East Village Association's Planning, Preservation & Development Committee. "It regulates the Landscape Ordinance and has jurisdiction over things like the installation of trees and tree grates in the parkway. Zoning is supposed t

City planners shift support to Division-Ashland plan

Planning, Preservation and Development Committee Report by Scott Rappe Pizza Hut/Walgreens We can add the Chicago Department of Planning & Development to the growing list of organizations and individuals that support our position that the former Pizza Hut site should become a dense, multi-use, transit-oriented development. In a letter recently sent to Alderman Flores, the DPD states its official position that the proposed Walgreens does not meet the 2002 Near Northwest Side Community Plan and cannot be built as currently proposed. This conclusion was arrived at after a detailed internal review and represents a welcome shift in position. In an earlier letter to EVA, the DPD lamented their “limited ability to influence the development plan” because of the “correct zoning for a retail project.” This is a positive development, but the battle is long from over. Although Walgreens will not be allowed to build what was presented at the November EVA meeting, that does not get us any closer

East Village Association General Membership Meeting Minutes

7 PM January 8 , 2008, Happy Village Tavern: Submitted by John Sekowski. Attendance: 25 (members and non-members) Guest Speaker was Mr. Manny Gonzales from the 1st Ward Street and Sanitation Department. He took questions from the floor, many of which were related to recycling. He also touched based the green alley program (permeable pavement). One member expressed disappointment in the enforcement of the recent handbill ordinance (eliminating/controlling flyers on the streets & sidewalks). He encouraged all to call whenever we have a complaint, question, or need a bulk-pick-up. The current owner of Damen and Augusta Foods, Eddie Ratwan, came to the meeting seeking support to obtain a license to sell packaged liquors to keep up with local competitors on Division and Dominick’s who do sell wine and beer. It was mentioned that a liquor moratorium (a cap) on new packaged liquor licenses is in effect in his two-block section as well as multiple other two-block sections in the neighborho

Recycling at Feb. 12 EVA meeting

Recycling is the topic of the next East Village Association meeting. Representatives from the city departments of Environment and Streets and Sanitation will speak. EVA meets on the 2nd Tuesday (Feb.12) this month due to Tuesday's Illinois primary election , from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Happy Village Tavern, 1059 N. Wolcott. Don't forget to vote.
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