EDGEWATER – A North Side city councilor rejected a proposal to turn a vacant parking lot into a five-story apartment building after neighborhood groups said it was too big for the area and undermined an effort to long time to reduce developments on part of Broadway.
Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) has rejected a developer’s request to rezone the former car dealership at 5828 N. Broadway to make way for a 20-unit building, he announced in his weekly newsletter on Friday. Osterman said he chose not to support the project in part because five neighborhood clubs united to oppose it.
Fifteen years ago neighbors led a charge to reduce the area on the west side of Broadway from Foster Avenues to Devon Avenues, limiting new buildings to four stories. Neighbors overwhelmingly approved the zoning change in a community referendum in 2006.
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Developer Joe Lyons’ building, which also included ground-floor parking, was the first project on the west side of Broadway that sought to exceed the four-story limit and would have required rezoning, Osterman said. Lyons said building a four-story building on the site would not be financially feasible.
The building would have included 12 one-bedroom apartments and eight two-bedroom apartments, with rents of $ 1,300 to $ 2,100. There would have been parking for 11 cars and 12 bikes.
Because rezoning was necessary, the project should have included four affordable units, which would have been rented at $ 900 for a one bedroom and $ 1,100 for a two bedroom.
At a community meeting on the zoning request, neighbors said the proposal went against previous zoning and – by building five stories and without retail space – set a bad precedent for the side. west of Broadway.
Five local block clubs signed a letter opposing the project, including: Broadway-Ardmore-Ridge-Glenwood-Early (BARGE), Edgewater Glen Association, Every Person is Concerned (EPIC) Block Club, Edgewater North Neighbors and Lakewood Balmoral Residents Council.
“There is nothing so particularly unique or compelling about this project other than the fact that this is a live offer on the table, which is worth undoing the zoning for which we have worked so hard to get it, ”said resident Steve Bishop.
The east side of Broadway, which abuts the Red Line lanes, is better suited for larger development, neighbors said.
Osterman said the “majority” of neighbors who contacted his office about the project objected. The alderman said he would look to a project that better responds to what neighbors want to see along that stretch and in the current zoning.
However, development in accordance with existing zoning would not necessarily trigger the city’s requirement for affordable units. Osterman said he would “work to ensure affordable units are included” in future plans for the site.
“Many residents who supported the zoning change did so based on the affordable units that would have been part of this building,” Osterman, chairman of the city’s housing committee, wrote in the newsletter. “This site is currently a vacant used car lot and has development potential.
This is the second time that Lyon has sought to develop the vehicle fleet.
In 2019, Lyons and his company J&P Contractors attempted to purchase the land and the adjoining building that houses Ardmore Glass & Mirror, 5826 N. Broadway. But the glass store was not interested in leaving and the project was scrapped, Lyons said at the community meeting. He moved forward with a project just for the automotive lot.
Osterman said his office would hold a series of meetings early next year to develop a vision plan for Broadway that addresses issues such as development, infrastructure and pedestrian safety.
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