LOGAN SQUARE — An extended-discussed plan to dam dense improvement in gentrifying Logan Sq. and Avondale has resurfaced after greater than a 12 months and is headed to a key metropolis committee for a vote.
The plan, crafted by Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (thirty fifth) and his staffers, requires slashing zoning on 14 properties alongside Milwaukee Avenue between Kedzie Boulevard and Central Park Avenue.
The town’s Zoning Committee is scheduled to vote on the plan at its Dec. 1 listening to, Ramirez-Rosa mentioned.
Ramirez-Rosa mentioned a pattern has emerged in Logan Sq., Avondale and different elements of town: Builders and property house owners sit on properties “that would in any other case be used productively” and anticipate the suitable particular person to come back alongside to construct tall, dense improvement — types of land-banking and actual property hypothesis.
The aim of the rezoning plan is to curb this observe and to “protect the present constructed surroundings” alongside the Milwaukee Avenue stretch, he mentioned in an e-mail to residents final week.
Reached by telephone Wednesday, the alderman declined to offer particular examples, saying, “Clearly we don’t make zoning choices to focus on people,” however, “There are situations we’ve heard of property house owners turning away business tenants as a result of they are saying, ‘I could redevelop it.’ Or, ‘I’m going to maintain it empty and promote it to somebody who will construct one thing bigger.’”
Ramirez-Rosa’s “downzoning” plan has roused heated debates amongst neighbors stretching again to 2017. Over the previous three years, some have argued the plan will impede financial development within the space, whereas others have mentioned it’s a wanted device to protect affordability and small companies within the sizzling neighborhoods.
An amazing majority of the residents who crammed out a remark card at a contentious 2017 meeting mentioned they help the alderman’s plan.
The plan heading to the Zoning Committee is a scaled-back model.
The unique model, which surfaced in 2017, known as for slashing zoning on all 99 properties alongside the Milwaukee Avenue stretch, a “blanket downzone,” in response to some neighbors.
After some property house owners and residents put up a combat, Ramirez-Rosa and his staffers took a step again and assessed every web site alongside the stretch.
They decided 14 parcels have zoning designations that will permit a developer to come back in and construct a tall, dense improvement and to demolish an current constructing, they usually reworked the plan to solely embody these parcels.
That plan was launched in Metropolis Council over the summer season in a collection of proposed ordinances, nevertheless it by no means went up for a vote.
“Due to the brand new [mayoral] administration, the brand new Zoning Committee chair after which COVID-19, we’re simply now getting round to have the ability to transfer ahead with” this, Ramirez-Rosa mentioned.
This winter, Chicago is going through a brand new set of challenges: the coronavirus’s second wave right here and the ensuing financial fallout. However Ramirez-Rosa mentioned the rezoning plan has solely develop into “extra necessary” amid the disaster.
“By aligning a parcel’s zoning with [its] current use, we hope to spur funding and financial improvement by signaling to the market that what you see is what you get,” the alderman mentioned within the e-mail to constituents. “In so doing, we hope to restrict hypothesis and disinvestment in these properties.”
Ramirez-Rosa isn’t the one Chicago alderman to make use of “downzoning” to regulate improvement. Many have used the device through the years to various levels.
The technique is usually criticized for being a blunt instrument that promotes stagnation and offers already-powerful aldermen extra management over what will get constructed of their wards. However proponents of the device argue it’s a proactive measure that fosters extra considerate conversations round improvement.
The thought to rezone Milwaukee Avenue started with a group of Avondale property owners and business owners who worry the constructing increase in Logan Sq. will encroach on their neighborhood. Lately, large residential developments have been built in Logan Square, notably close to the California Blue Line station.
Ramirez-Rosa mentioned the rezoning plan is only one of some instruments stakeholders are utilizing to make sure the Milwaukee Avenue stretch thrives in years to come back.
Ramirez-Rosa mentioned he and the opposite aldermen who symbolize the world — Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st) and Ald. Scott Waguespack (thirty second) — just lately despatched a letter to town asking officers to conduct a broad examine on the successes and challenges of Milwaukee Avenue.
Group leaders are additionally working town officers who run the Small Enterprise Enchancment Fund to convey new companies to the world, the alderman mentioned.
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