Park Ridge zoning commission considers multifamily development in Uptown – Chicago Tribune | Trending Viral hub


The Park Ridge Planning and Zoning Commission granted a continuance at its recent meeting for a developer’s plan to convert two surface parking lots in the Uptown area into multifamily housing units. Some commissioners, however, expressed a desire to see the developer offer more benefits to the community.

The developer is planning two buildings, scheduled to be built at 29 and 31 South Fairview Avenue, that will have a total of 2,600 square feet in commercial space and 12 apartments on the three floors above the commercial space.

For the development to be approved by the Commission, the developer, John Flaherty, had to demonstrate the benefits of the development in some tangible way to meet the zoning requirement. Some of the commissioners felt his proposal fell short of that.

“It doesn’t seem like a real benefit to the community,” Commissioner EJ Paprocki said when explained how converting a parking lot into a planned unit development could reduce traffic. “It seems more like a benefit to this development, which I understand makes this project work the way it was designed, but I don’t see it as an explicit benefit to the community,” he said.

Some other commissioners were concerned that by introducing the development as a planned unit development, Flaherty was trying to obtain extraordinary exceptions to the city’s zoning code by building housing in an otherwise commercial district.

“I’m concerned that using (planned unit development) is simply a workaround for the underlying basic principles that are already in place… You can’t come in and ask for all the variations you asked for, right? They’ll probably take you down, right? said Commissioner Clayton Hutchinson. “So you come in with a (planned unit development) and we have this kind of exchange.”

“So if the point of discussion was that we want to come in and have an argument because of a horse trade, we’re losing that trade,” Hutchinson said.

The variances Flaherty was requesting included exceptions for a building to have more than three stories, allow the development to have more than nine units, and allow less than 75% of the ground floor to be used as commercial space, because his planned development for part of the ground floor to have closed interior parking for the use of residents.

Flaherty also needed other exceptions to the city ordinance that commissioners didn’t mention as much, such as exceptions to the city’s landscaping plan, the width of entrance walkways and fencing for trash containers.

Planning and Community Development Director Drew Awsumb said he has heard from commissioners and other members of the public about the lack of commercial space, but said today’s commercial tenants don’t need more than the 2,600 feet of commercial space that the developer already offers. .

“They never really explained to me what the 75% (the ordinance) is supposed to represent. …When you walk down (Uptown streets) we want facades with glass doors, we want active uses, we want retail, we want restaurants, we want things that activate life on the street,” Awsumb said. “I don’t know if you need 75% or any particular depth (of a development). You just need one tenant to fill that space.”

“Therefore, a vibrant 2,000-square-foot commercial space on the first floor is arguably achieving our goals more than a chronically empty 6,000-square-foot space for which there is no market,” Awsumb said.

Commissioners approved a motion to continue with a second public hearing of the development on May 14 and review the development as a mixed-use development, rather than a planned unit development.

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