IRVING PARK — Less than two months on the job, Ald. Deb Mell is already shaking things up in the 33rd Ward.
Speaking at Wednesday night's meeting of The Residents of Irving Park community group, she announced her intention to create a zoning advisory board.
"We're going to want input from you," Mell told the approximately 30 attendees who turned out on a stormy evening.
Her office has identified key community organizations within the ward, from which it would recruit representatives for the board, she said.
No timetable was given for the board's formation.
Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) has a similar zoning advisory committee, which reviews zoning applications on a monthly basis, meets with developers and makes recommendations to the alderman.
Economic development was top of mind with neighbors, who are concerned about vacant lots and the mix of businesses along Irving Park Road and Montrose Avenue. The Residents of Irving Park have continually worked to block pawn shops and liquor stores from opening in the area.
"What I would like to see stop are the car washes, the automotive," added Mell, earning agreement from the crowd.
She hinted at a couple of potential new business scouting the ward for locations, including a brewpub.
Said Mell, "We're already seeing some really interesting things."