CITY HALL — The Plan Commission approved the latest alterations to the Wrigley Field renovation Thursday despite complaints about lost parking spaces along Sheffield Avenue.
The latest Wrigley plans cleared the Landmarks Commission earlier this month and would push the Wrigley Field outer wall back 10 feet on the sidewalk on the west side of Sheffield Avenue, in addition to adding a "branding arch" across Clark Street in place of an abandoned pedestrian bridge from a planned hotel to the stadium.
The Plan Commission followed Landmarks in approving the plan unanimously Thursday.
Yet area residents raised complaints. Chester Kropidlowski, chairman of East Lake View Neighbors, said his group "strongly opposed" the alterations over the "unconscionable" loss of parking spaces on the east side of Sheffield on the block across from Wrigley. He cited how Mayor Rahm Emanuel, not Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), submitted the latest plans for approval, adding, "Our mayor is going to feel the wrath of our community."
"The mayor has proved to be the Cubs' most valuable player for 2013," added Jim Spencer, a Wrigleyville resident. He cited the loss of 56 parking spaces on Sheffield, in order to keep the street two lanes wide with the lost space on the sidewalk on the west side of the street. He asked the Plan Commission to "tell the Cubs they got enough and no more."
"This is the third, fourth, 95th revision," said Robert Roberts, a resident at Sheffield and Waveland Avenue. He compared the Cubs to "a rich kid who wants more and more and more" and urged the commission to "do the right thing and protect the people of the city."
While recusing himself from actually voting on the project, Tunney endorsed it, saying it had been "thoroughly negotiated" and that "as with everything on Wrigley, there's been give and take on all sides."
Yet Tunney acknowledged, "The Sheffield experience is going to be different" and that "the loss of parking is going to be a concern." He added that the Cubs had offered "viable alternatives."
Mike Lufrano, the Cubs' executive vice president of community affairs, said the team had offered to let local residents use its local parking lots on days without games. They would need to acquire a permit from the team or Tunney's office to use the lots.
The newly approved plan also addresses other previously negotiated concessions, such as the planned hotel across from Wrigley having its main entrance on Clark Street and not having a deck above the entrance. What Lufrano described as a "welcoming arch," perhaps advertising the name of the hotel, will span Clark Street, replacing a pedestrian bridge rejected by Tunney and local residents.
The plan now heads to the City Council Zoning Committee for final approval.
Lufrano said moving the wall out would make for less blockage for rooftop views across Sheffield given a sign the team intends to install on the right-field edge of Wrigley.
He added that he hoped for construction to start soon, but said the team continues to negotiate with rooftop owners to avert any lawsuits as a precondition, adding, "We're encouraged by some of the discussions we've had of late, but no, nothing really is new."
The Cubs and Wrigley Field are 95 percent owned by a trust established for the benefit of the family of Joe Ricketts, owner and CEO of DNAinfo.com. Joe Ricketts has no direct involvement in the management of the iconic team.