HYDE PARK — Residents upset with plans for a 13-story tower are taking their fight to the city.
Citizens for Appropriate Retail and Residential Development on 53rd Street sent a letter Thursday to Andrew Mooney, commissioner of the city’s Department of Housing and Economic Development, requesting a meeting to outline their objections to the plans for 1330 E. 53rd St.
“The proposed development is grossly out of proportion to the neighboring structures on 53rd Street, as well as the residences immediately to the north,” says David White, a leader of the community group, in the letter.
The letter also says the project by Chicago-based Mesa Development would create traffic and parking problems in the area.
A representative from the Department of Housing and Economic Development was not immediately able to comment on whether Mooney received or planned to respond to the letter.
Such an appeal is unorthodox and the department rarely scuttles developments when the alderman approves.
Ald. Will Burns’ (4th) office declined to comment on the project, but he is expected to be meeting with members of the group, who are hoping he will decline the developer’s request for a zoning change.
The zoning change has already been submitted to City Council and was scheduled to be reviewed by the Committee on Zoning Landmarks and Building Standards on Tuesday.
The alderman’s office declined to specify whether the change would remain in committee or go to the full Council for a vote.
The project is seeking a special zoning designation as a planned development to build 267 apartments and 30,000 square feet of retail space across from Nichols Park. Planned developments must be reviewed by the Chicago Plan Commission, but the project has not appeared on the body’s agenda in the last six months. The Department of Housing and Economic Development was not immediately able to say whether the project was reviewed by the body.
The property is owned by the University of Chicago, which announced the contract with Mesa Development in January at a community meeting of the 53rd Street Tax Increment Financing District advisory council.
The design of the building has been praised by residents, but panned for its scale at more than 130 feet tall.
The developers have not asked for TIF funding, but the advisory council plans to review the plan at a committee meeting in April.