Forbidden Root alternatives brewing

East Village Association board meeting minutes, January 13, 2014
Submitted by Meghan Quinn

Planning, Preservation & Development: Forbidden Root, 1746 W. Chicago Ave.

Representatives approached Neal McKnight with their proposed brewery-taproom on Chicago Avenue. They need a liquor moratorium lifted, and the zoning changed from B to C to open at that location. McKnight discussed the project with Scott Rappe and Peter Locke of the PPD committee, and they all agreed that the project would be fine if they kept within the existing zoning of the site.

Rich Anselmo stated that he and EVA fought for B zoning there, as well as along much of Chicago Avenue to keep out unwanted uses such as dry cleaning and auto services. Additionally, from an urban planning standpoint, commercial zoning adjacent to residential zoning and spot zoning are not ideal practices. There are some existing C zoned areas close by on Grand Avenue that would work well for such a project.

EVA worked extensively with Forbidden Root’s attorney, Rolando Acosta, to establish the transit-oriented development ordinance that allowed for the 1611 W. Division St. site to be developed. It is possible that an innovative strategy can be explored in this case as well to maintain the protections available to East Village residents.

Forbidden Root will hold a community meeting on Jan. 23 at 6pm in the proposed brewery site in order to discuss their project.

Miller Lumber

There have been rumors that developers want to change the original plans, but they would have to vacate the planned development ordinance. Permitting is in place.

1822-50 W. Chicago Ave.

Steve Fifield went back to Ald. Proco Joe Moreno with the new project proposal, and has not yet received an approval or denial. EVA is still considering the opportunity to expand Commercial Park onto the property instead, as this is the last large undeveloped property in the neighborhood.

Ronda Locke previously had a freelance landscape architect draw up plans for the park expansion. She has also been speaking with the Chicago Park District regarding the possibility of this, and they are amenable to it. Ald. Moreno has written a support letter and has said he could help with impact dollars. Neal McKnight suggested EVA write a support letter, as this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

West Town Chamber of Commerce/SSA

McKnight would like to develop some guidelines as to expectations of the chamber as the delegate agency of the SSA. He would like to see more transparency, and would like to request that the people who run it live in the neighborhood. Additionally, he believes the chamber and SSA should support residents and property owners just as much as businesses. McKnight will compile a list of things to ask for.

February meeting speakers

Epic Spices will present a business minute at the Feb. 3 meeting. Gladys Anselmo suggested that we have any of the grad students who has been studying the neighborhood present some of their findings. Other suggestions are welcome.

Meeting commenced at 6:35pm, adjourned at 7:05, Attendance: Board members Neal McKnight, Meghan Quinn, Gladys Anselmo, Stephen Rynkiewicz, Rob Schickel. Other attendees Ronda Locke, Rich Anselmo.


  1. I would just like to clarify that the West Town Chamber is not a delegate agency of the West Town SSA. The WTCC is a delegate agency of the City of Chicago. It is also the Sole Service Provider for the SSA. These two roles are are completely separate. Every year, the SSA Commission approves the West Town Chamber as the Sole Service Provider of the SSA. There are many qualifications that a Sole Service Provider of an SSA has to have, and the West Town Chamber is the only agency in SSA's district that is qualified to do so.

    Also, the SSA is completely transparent. We have never received any requests from McKnight regarding any SSA related materials. Not only are our Commission minutes, budgets, work plans, and audits available on our website (, we are also available M-F, 9am - 5pm to fulfill any requests for materials. There is always the option to send a FOIA request, but we don't feel this is necessary since we are completely available to answer these requests ourselves and there is no need to waste time or tax payer money having the information siphoned through the City's law department.
    I would also like to add that every SSA Commissioner is a stakeholder in the SSA. So the request for only "people in the neighborhood" to run the SSA is already being utilized. As for the Chamber and SSA to support residents and property owners just as much as businesses - Meghan Quinn (an SSA Commissioner), who sits on the board of the EVA is a resident and property owner in the SSA. Darci O'Connell (the 2012 & 2013 SSA Chair) is a resident, property owner & business owner in the SSA & WTCC boundaries. Tara Heibel (the WTCC Board President in 2012 & 2013) is a property & business owner in the SSA and a resident in the WTCC boundaries. Julie Ghatan (the 2014 WTCC Board President) is a business owner in the SSA and a resident in the WTCC boundaries. These are only a few examples of residents and business owners that are active on our SSA Commission and WTCC Board of Directors. Again, all this information is available on our websites - ( & ( Before spending time compiling a list of requests, please take time researching our websites, as it seems we have already met all the requests outlined above.

    - Katharine Wakem
    West Town SSA Program Manager

  2. Kace no need to be so defensive. You may want to see our ideas before you respond. Hey we still would like you to present to EVA. I know you had a conflict last time but you must have forgotten that on January 7 we asked if you could present, see below

    On Tue, Jan 7, 2014 at 10:05 AM, Neal McKnight wrote:

    Are you up to giving a presentation to EVA on January 13, 2014 at 7:00 pm regarding the SSA renewal? We meet at Happy Village. It might be nice if you do it in conjunction with Meghan Quinn.

    Neal McKnight
    McKnight, Kitzinger & Pravdic
    117 N. Jefferson Street
    Suite 301
    Chicago, Illinois 60661

  3. Neal,

    When one makes accusations such as "not being transparent", it would be in our best interest as an agency to state facts proving these accusations false - which I did so above.
    Also, as you can see in the letter you copied below, you asked me to attend and present at a EVA membership meeting at the same time as one of our SSA Community Meetings. I would also like to note that I have not seen in information announcing our Community Meetings to your membership, encouraging them to attend.
    As I informed you before, it takes many people to present the SSA information fully and accurately to the public. If you would like to set a separate meeting with your members, who are also stakeholders in the SSA, I would be happy to put together key members of our Advisory Committee, SSA Commission, SSA Reconstitution Consultants, City of Chicago Department of Planning & Development officials, & WTCC Staff to attend this specialized meeting. I recommend setting aside at least 2 hours for this meeting, as our presentation takes 45 min to an hour, and that should leave time for questions and answers.
    Feel free to let me know if you are interested.

    Katharine (Kace) Wakem
    West Town SSA Program Manager

    West Town Chicago Chamber of Commerce
    1819 W. Chicago Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60622
    Phone: 312-850-9390
    Fax: 312-850-9414

    SSA Website:
    Chamber Website:

  4. Kace,

    This is a really cumbersome way to communicate. I sent you a couple of emails today and now you answer me on the webpage. I suspect we would still have the same size audience if we just emailed each other but that is OK. I guess this means you can't accept our invitation to come to the next EVA Board meeting. I also guess this means that you are not taking us up on our offer to host another meeting for the group on Milwaukee Avenue. I will keep trying.

    Our minutes didn't say the SSA was "not being transparent" We said we would like to sees more transparency. I also acknowledged that you had a conflict the last time I gave you an invite. We understood, I mean after all here at EVA we are volunteers and we know how community service can create time conflicts.

    Let me know when you would like to present. I can set aside the full time at our next Board meeting.



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