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Showing posts from January, 2009

No more 24/7 parking bans in 1st Ward?

All-day parking restrictions may be scaled back in a 1st Ward initiative. "We're trying to help out local businesses," said Raymond Valadez, chief of staff to Ald. Manuel Flores . "If there's no arterial parking, where do people park to go shopping?" A community meeting in late February will propose new hours for the parking bans, Valadez said. The East Village Association board began discussing the prospect in January after at the request of Valadez. Board members had some concerns that lifting daytime restrictions would clog side streets with commuter parking. Tax help at Clemente Volunteers from the nonprofit Tax Counseling Project will give free tax preparation assistance to families earning less than $45,000 and individuals earning less than $20,000. Help is available Saturdays mornings and Tuesday evenings at Roberto Clemente Community Academy, 1147 N. Western. Bring all 2008 W-2 and 1099 forms, Social Security cards for all household memb

Your EVA membership breaks the ice

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President Message by John Scheer  The new year 2009 is already starting to mature within the first month. And with the cold weather and snow, what better things can we do but get involved with our neighbors in support of our community? In this first month, EVA has seen the membership exercise its voice on a couple of zoning topics, each of which will have an impact on the neighborhood. Renewing your membership, or signing up as a new member, is one of the best ways to get involved in your community and to make a difference. The more neighbors who get involved and participate in the decisions that form the future of our neighborhood, the better the planning and improvements for all of us. Most recently, you may have been aware of the community support that EVA and its members contributed back to our neighbors. In December, the members donated warm clothing as part of our holiday celebration to direct some resources to our neighbors in need of some basic comforts. EVA also provided

Vote with your feet: Are proxies fair?

By Marjorie Isaacson There is no substitute for your participation. For that reason, I am proposing that EVA amend its bylaws to remove the paragraph in Article VI referring to proxy voting. EVA made a controversial change in voting procedures in 1999, controversial because it was in opposition to long-established parliamentary procedures. (I can already see people reading this sentence, yawning or rolling their eyes, and moving on to the next article, but please bear with me). The change was to amend the bylaws to allow voting in absentia – that is, being able to vote on an issue without being present at the meeting. I was opposed to the change at the time, and from observing the practice in the years that have followed, my opinion has not changed. For that reason, I am proposing that our bylaws be amended to remove the proxy voting and in so doing, again bring our organization’s procedures back in accord with the vast majority of large and small democratically run organizations

Landmark shield urged for St. Boniface

Please call Ald. Walter Burnett today at 312-432-1995 and ask him to landmark St. Boniface. The city is weighing whether it can acquire St. Boniface Church, Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. told neighbors. In a meeting Jan. 22 in the ward office at 1463 W. Chicago Ave., the 27th Ward alderman suggested that the Archdiocese of Chicago was open to trading the parcel at 921 N. Noble for another city property. The challenge would be to find money to maintain the property, Burnett said. A report on the community website saintbonifaceinfo.com was verified by EVA members in attendance. The East Village Association board on Jan. 15 asked Burnett to recognize the church's historical and architectural significance with landmark designation. The case for St. Boniface is made in earlier East Village Association posts . Architect Scott Rappe, chair of EVA's Planning, Preservation & Development Committee, sent Ald. Burnett this statement: A decade ago, the East Village Association was

East Village bids for tax benefits as national landmark

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The city will recommend East Village for the National Register of Historic Places . Federal landmark status does not put more restrictions on property owners, according to the city Zoning and Land Use Planning department. But it would extend federal tax incentives to renovation work in a wide area from Damen to Hermitage avenues, including the side streets between Division Street and Chicago Avenue. A city landmark district was created in 2006. It recognizes specific addresses that qualify for tax breaks. Through the Property Tax Assessment Freeze Program, the assessed valuation of the historic property is frozen for eight years at its level the year rehabilitation began. The valuation then is brought back to market level over a period of four years. Chicago nominates its landmark districts for the National Register to qualify property owners for a federal tax credit, Deputy Commissioner Brian Goeken said today in a letter to Aldermen Manuel Flores (1st Ward) and Scott Waguespack (

January 2009 minutes

General Meeting minutes for January 6th, 2009 Membership Meeting Submitted by Joe Hunnewinkel Attendance 21 Members: 19 Non-members: 2 Introduction and welcome to Guest Speaker Frank Perez, deputy commissioner for the Cook County Board of Review 1. Mr. Perez stated that recent lower sales prices should make it easier to appeal tax bills in 2009. 1. The city and county still need to raise the same amount of cash from tax bills. Commercial property owners likely will pick up the slack for falling home prices. 2. Dana Marberry of the Cook County Assessors office confirmed the prospect of lower tax assessments when Chicago properties are reevaluated this year. 3. Homeowners should pay attention to their assessed value. Careful review of tax bills for appropriate exemptions was recommended. 4. Board staffers helped members fill out tax appeals. Bringing your appeal directly to the board of review was highly recommended. 2.

NYC's East Village inspires hotel rehab plan

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A furnished-room apartment building and the Pump shoe-salon site would be converted to an upscale restaurant and boutique hotel under a plan to be outlined for East Village Association members for a Feb. 3 vote. A proposal for 1659 W. Division from Third Coast Construction compares the project to the Ace Hotel in Portland, Ore., and Lafayette House in New York's East Village. The EVA planning committee on Jan. 12 voted unanimously to not oppose the special-use zoning that the hotel would need to proceed. The restaurant also would require an incidental liquor license. Ald. Manuel Flores (1st Ward) must approve the project. East Village residents can make their own recommendation at the Feb. 3 EVA meeting. Anyone age 16 or older who has been an EVA member for the past month may vote on the proposal. Members who do not attend but wish to vote must submit their votes in writing to a board member. Dan Sheehy of Third Coast Construction will present the plans at the 7 p.m. at the Hap

Polish Triangle study counts on East Village ideas

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A great place needs at least 10 reasons to go there, according to the nonprofit Project for Public Spaces . Does that count at the Polish Triangle — the intersection of Ashland, Division and Milwaukee? We're about to find out. The Metropolitan Planning Council , which five years ago studied East Village housing and development, will be keeping an eye on the Triangle for recommendations on improving the park and its surroundings. The Wicker Park & Bucktown Special Service Area , which finances street improvements in the area, is helping to organize the process, and the steering committee includes the CTA and other agencies with Polish Triangle development stakes. The Chicago Plan Commission last month approved development plans further north along Milwaukee Avenue in the Logan Square neighborhood. The Polish Triangle study will adopt the Project for Public Spaces' "Placemaking" method, which includes an evaluation workshop, a working group to sketch out a plan, a p

Peabody, Carpenter on school shutdown list

Peabody Elementary, 1444 W. Augusta, would be closed for low enrollment in the school restructuring plan announced today. Carpenter Elementary, 1250 W. Erie, would be phased out. Enrollment at Peabody and four other schools are less than 40% of capacity, according to the Chicago Public Schools announcement . Carpenter, which is 23% full, will not take new students and staff will be cut. Last year, Andersen Community Academy, 1148 N. Honore, was set for phaseout but with the multilingual LaSalle Language Academy curriculum replacing the Andersen program. Public hearings and community meetings will begin Jan. 26, and the school board could act on the plan as early as Feb. 25.

What’s your vision for the Polish Triangle?

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By Karin Sommer , Metropolitan Planning Council The Special Service Area for the Wicker Park and Bucktown neighborhoods and the Metropolitan Planning Council are teaming up to transform the Polish Triangle at the intersection of Ashland, Milwaukee and Division Streets into a great public place. And we need your help! Over the next year, a steering committee led by WPB and MPC and consisting of Aldermen Flores, Waguespack, and Burnett, as well as community organizations and city agencies, will collect ideas from neighborhood residents through surveys, outreach, and community meetings. We will keep you informed about these upcoming events through email blasts and the WPB website, wickerparkbucktown.org . You can also become a part of the action by joining an online Placemaking network at theplacemakingmovement.ning.com . Check out the Polish Triangle group for project updates. This collaboration is part of MPC’s Placemaking Chicago project. Placemaking is an approach to the creati

Will taxes fall with home prices?

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   Perez takes on tax appeals at the Happy Village pingpong table. With Chicago property values slipping in advance of the March tax due date, will homeowners get a break? "Unfortunately, your taxes will go up," said Frank Perez, deputy commissioner for the Cook County Board of Review . But Perez said recent lower sales prices should make it easier to appeal tax bills in 2009. "We're in a unique year where the market has changed," Perez said. "We might be able to help you." Perez and other board staffers helped East Village Association members file tax appeals at Tuesday's monthly meeting at the Happy Village tavern. Dana Marberry, community relations manager for the Cook County Assessor , confirmed the prospect of lower tax assessments when Chicago properties are reevaluated this year. "This is the first time we've seen a reduction of values," Marberry said. However, the city and county still need to raise the same amount of ca
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