Rogers Park residents view block plans

Alderman Joe Moore (49th Ward) sponsored a meeting Wednesday to get community input on a condo development at 1839 W. Touhy. Michael Land moderated the meeting which introduced the developer and the architect to the attendees.

About twenty-five people came to Pottawatomie Park to view the planned five unit structure that will replace a single family home presently on the site. The zoning change necessary for the structure had already been approved. The property will be approximately 35' high --- nearly 10' higher than neighboring graystones.

The structure was met with mixed reviews. One woman asked the architect if he had ever visited the site before designing the building. He admitted he hadn't. She asked if the first thing an architect should do before designing a structure would be 'to check and see if it would be in accordance with the neighborhood so it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb?' He said, 'No', then quickly said, 'I mean yes.'

They then discussed the façade and neighbors requested that it be altered to better blend in with the surrounding properties.

One woman questioned the zoning change that was granted and pointed out that a petition had been signed by everyone on the block against the R-3 rating. Mr. Land informed attendees that the Alderman knew of this project eighteen months prior to the down zoning of the rest of the block to R-2 and this property had been excluded from the petition.

After the meeting John Majic of KIT Development discussed the façade changes with residents as well as concerns about garbage can placing and collection. He acknowledged that this was the third design and agreed to work with the architect to better blend the building with the existing structures.

Many residents expressed concern that the building had been vacant for eighteen months prior to the zoning change and were surprised that Moore's office had known about the plan. They wondered how they could ever control development in the area when it appears plans are solidified with no request for their input.