What is EVA's Damen Avenue zoning vision?
Damen Avenue's strip-mall zoning does not reflect the apartments and small shops on East Village's western border. How can EVA support a new vision?
EVA's January meeting continued a discussion of Damen Avenue zoning. Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) has encouraged a proactive zoning review for the former 2nd Ward stretch. A 2019 plan fizzled for a tavern at at 820 N. Damen Ave. surrounded by apartments. Renovation of the former Grace Auto Body stopped at least six months ago.
EVA board member Neal McKnight suggested downzoning Damen from Chicago to Division while extending the current Ukrainian Village and East Village landmark districts. Both commercial and residential zoning for Damen had advocates in the January member disucssion.
McKnight summarized November's zoning discussion with the Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association. Most of Damen is in a B3 "community shopping district," which includes shopping centers and large store. Current zoning might suspport national retailers or strip-center uses such as the 7-Eleven at 1508 N, Damen Ave.
Chicago also has B2 mixed-use and B1 reighborhood shopping, both of which allow ground-floor retail. Mixed-use zoning can limit the uses adjoining residential or R-zoned lots.
Damen uses are largely residential, and Villegas' staff indicates that the alderman would support downzoning thata does not conflict with current uses. Landmark districts restrict not use but street-level appearance; the Chicago Historic Resources Survey lists 21 Damen addresses between Chicago anad Division with historic and architectural importance.
A member vote is likely to precede a recommendation to Villegas and Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st), whose ward extends north from Augusta Boulevard.
A brief public safety discussion ended the meeting. Both aldermen are concerned about property use in connection with gang activity. A March 19 primary referendum in the 36th Ward reportedly will seek reopening of the Chicago Police 13th District.