GOLD COAST — Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) and Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) both attended the Tuesday Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards meeting, where the plan to build a 10-story Loyola business school and adjacent residences was approved.
But according to Fioretti, Reilly's presence at that meeting is one of the only gestures the 42nd Ward alderman has made toward representing resident interests in Loyola's proposed Quinlan School of Business project.
"He abuts it, just like all these aldermen," Fioretti said Wednesday. "They're saying, 'I don't want to service the area that I don't have to deal with anymore.' "
The neighborhood surrounding the proposed building site at the northeast corner of State and Pearson streets is part of the 42nd Ward until the new ward map takes effect in two years, at which point it will join the 2nd Ward.
That means the stretch of the Gold Coast surrounding Loyola's property won't be Fioretti's responsibility until 2015. But Fioretti said he was forced to take action after what he called Reilly's failure to address Reilly's current constituents' concerns — first blowing off a meeting scheduled to discuss the project and then failing to offer platforms for community dialogue.
"In August we were trying to do a joint meeting with the developers of Loyola," Fioretti said. "They couldn't get it on Ald. Reilly's schedule, and then it languished, and then all of a sudden I had to be conducting the meetings and conducting everything, even though his ward is across the street from the project."
Reilly's office did not respond to requests for comment.
Fioretti says his office worked with the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents to organize two community meetings attended by "about 100 people," the most recent on March 16. Area residents voiced concerns about the height of the building and its effect on traffic congestion and security on the surrounding blocks.
Fioretti said his office then "worked with [Loyola] on many of the objections raised, to the point where I think we've gotten many of them worked out."
The final proposal that passed through the zoning committee Wednesday included 13 changes as a direct result of community input, the alderman said.
"I am going to represent the old 2nd Ward and everybody in the new 2nd Ward because many of the aldermen have abrogated their responsibilities there," Fioretti said.
Fioretti said that Reilly's not the only alderman he sees abandoning the sections of their wards that they'll lose after the next election.
"I'm not bashing [Reilly]," Fioretti said. "He's just doing what some of these other aldermen are doing: They're all abrogating their responsibility. They were elected to represent a certain segment until 2015, and now everybody's petting their new owners and forgetting who elected them."
"It's not fair to the citizens," Fioretti said. "It's a violation of [the aldermen's] constitutional and fiduciary responsibilities. And if somebody files a lawsuit, we'll see."