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North Clark Street Burger King Proposal OK'd by Alderman's Advisory Board

By Benjamin Woodard | March 5, 2013 12:41pm

ROGERS PARK — A Burger King magnate's plan to open up a drive-through restaurant on Clark Street is a step closer to becoming a reality.

Ald. Joe Moore's (49th) zoning and land use advisory committee, a collection of appointed community members, voted to support Adam Velarde's proposal for his 29th Burger King location.

Moore said he's waiting for Velarde to make more "commitments" about how he plans to use the property located at the Gateway Centre, a planned development, before throwing his support behind a zoning change.

"I plan to sit down with Mr. Velarde and make sure I obtain from him firm commitments regarding upkeep of the property, security and community hiring," Moore said.

 The empty lot is operated by Gateway Centre, which also houses a Dominick's grocery store.
The empty lot is operated by Gateway Centre, which also houses a Dominick's grocery store.
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DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard

Some community members — such as Steve Hueffner, who collected 193 signatures on a petition in opposition to the restaurant — aren't happy with the proposal.

Hueffner said he and other community members who gathered at a public meeting last month felt a "lack of response" after they raised concerns ranging from increased traffic and pedestrian safety to animal rights and children's health.

"Maybe our concerns weren’t fully taken into consideration," Hueffner said.

Velarde did not respond to requests for comment.

Jim Ginderske, a member of Occupy Rogers Park and a former 49th Ward aldermanic candidate, said he was the only member of the committee to oppose a February committee meeting.

After the vote, Ginderske resigned from the committee.

"The issue with the Burger King is that there wasn’t enough time to delve into the impact of this proposal," he said.

He and Occupy Rogers Park took issue with the claim that the business would bring decent jobs to the neighborhood.

"We’re just perpetuating a cycle of not making a living wage," Ginderske said.

The group also raised concerns about animal cruelty and unhealthy eating habits often associated with fast-food restaurants.

Velarde said at last month's meeting he'd hire about 40 part-time employees from the area, install security cameras around the building and be sure outside trash is picked up.

"I am involved with my business," Velarde said then. "I truly care about it. I've had to work for everything I do."