Saturday, April 1, 2017

Big, Bigger, Biggest: Coming to a block near you!

Last week, residents asked for a development moratorium along Lawrence avenue, at least until a master plan was developed. Long-time residents expressed fears that increasing density is out of character with the neighborhood, and that commercial traffic and apartments will be too close to the idyllic single family homes and two flats that adjoin the Lawrence Avenue corridor.

In response, Alderman (and Gubernatorial Candidate) Ameya Pawar made it clear that there already was a plan, and today he released the details, and it turns out the master plan does address the concerns, but not in exactly that some residents were hoping.  Instead of keeping development away from single family homes, the new development plan flips that around: the single family homes will be kept away from the newly dense Lawrence Avenue.

This building proposed for 2247 W. Lawrence will look like a 
tiny shack compared to what's coming next.

The new plan released today calls for a major ramp up in density, much faster than previously proposed. It calls for the addition of up to 1,500 net new housing units in the neighborhood over just two years.  To provide enough space for the new development, the entire area between Ainslie and Leland (i.e. a full city block north and south of Lawrence) from Ravenswood to Western Ave, will be rezoned as B3-2 TOD (Community Shopping District / Transit Oriented Development); and all lots fronting on Lawrence will be zoned C1-5 (Neighborhood Commercial).  By up-zoning the blocks surrounding Lawrence from R-3 (Residential), planners hope to create the buffer that residents want between the higher density development along Lawrence and single family homes elsewhere in the neighborhood.

The city hopes to avoid using eminent domain to force out single family home owners, as it is a controversial and expensive tool, but it isn't ruling it out either. "I am invested in making sure that, in the long run, the community is happy" with the Lawrence Avenue streetscape, said Alderman (and Gubernatorial Candidate) Ameya Pawar. If that means "a few unhappy people need to be displaced, that's unfortunate, but really it's going be better this way. Hopefully they'll move completely out of the state, too.  I hear Indiana is great for car lovers."

To help finance the rapid displacement of single family homes on these blocks, funds will be made available via a new TIF district to be created that encompasses the side street blocks being up-zoned.  (As a side benefit, the new TIF will also help bolster the future for Chicago Public Schools, by helping to replenish what is apparently the only reliable source of funds necessary to stave off insolvency.)  Applications for development projects can be submitted immediately, and will be fast-tracked for approval by the full city council as long as construction can be completed within the two year time window ending April 1, 2019.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Winter is Coming

Good news, everybody!  Winter is coming!

Of course, that means it's also the return of street litter season, when plenty of otherwise generous community-minded folks suddenly decide that they should leave their worthless junk out in the street blocking the public way, instead of in the alley next to their trash can where it belongs.

Instead of littering, I invite you all to join me in being extra neighborly this winter: don't just shovel out your own car when it snows, but clear out all the snow and street litter from a couple of extra street parking spaces nearby too.  Your neighbors who come home after a long day's work and need a place to park will appreciate it, and I'm sure they will be out there helping clear out another few spaces the next time it snows.

Three parking spaces in the neighborhood, conveniently cleared of snow 
and other debris, and ready for anybody to park in.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Fall Winnemac Block Party Scheduled for 10/22

Mark your calendars for the Winnemac Block Party - October 22nd!

We will have a celebration on the block of Winnemac between Oakley and Levitt.

Don't live on our block? Come stop by and say hello.

Kids will be playing, neighbors chatting, and enjoying a fun fall afternoon.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Where in the Square? Historic Site Scavenger Hunt this Saturday 10/1 10 - 1pm begins in Welles Park

Come join your neighbors and learn more about the history of our neighborhood!

Bring your family and friends and come out to play- you'll learn a bit about each site, and then enjoy celebration and prizes after hunt.
Event is $5.00 for adults and kids 14, kids below 14 are free.

Event registration:

More information:

Forward Chicago website:

Friday, July 29, 2016

Seen in North Center

I'm and sucker for a red door and ivy. Let's hold on to more of these buildings Chicago.

posted from Bloggeroid