Marshfield-Paulina alley bid rebuffed

The East Village Association sent this letter on May 21 to Ald. Proco "Joe" Moreno regarding development on the 800 blocks of Marshfield and Paulina.

We were disappointed to learn that the City will not facilitate a land swap to reestablish the original alley between and running parallel to Marshfield and Paulina. However, with your support and the developer’s cooperation, we believe we can still achieve some of what the alley swap would have accomplished.

The East Village Association supports the following approach:

  • Change the existing B1-2 zoning to RM-4.5 to reflect the property’s intended residential use. We recognize that the developer bought a property with a higher FAR [floor area ratio] than the surrounding RT-4, and believe this is a fair compromise. Despite the developer’s assertion that he will build under the current zoning as-of-right, ground floor residential use would require the zoning administrator’s (and your) approval. B class zoning is intended for business use and does not call for yard setbacks or allocation of rear-yard open space; it is inappropriate for new residential development, particularly when the dwelling units will be established in the ground floor.
  • Require the developer to build the alley to CDOT [Chicago Department of Transportation] standards and then dedicate the right of way back to the City. We acknowledge that there is some additional cost associated with this, but believe it will relieve the future property owners, and their condo association from the burden of maintenance, security and liability for the private road. In the long run this will improve the salability of the units and may add to neighborhood stability.
  • Close the north alley between Marshfield and Paulina from vehicular traffic once the original alley right-of-way is reestablished. This would eliminate the redundant curb cut across the sidewalks on both streets and improve pedestrian comfort and safety. At an appropriate time, and when funds are available, the pavement of the City-owned north alley could be removed to create two community gardens.
This approach equitably balances the community’s interests with the developer’s and will be a net benefit to both; we hope you will agree.

Scott A. Rappe, AIA Co-Chair Planning, Preservation & Development Committee
Cc: Raymond Valadez, Neal McKnight
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