DUNNING — Opponents of a proposed four-story apartment building to be built near Harlem and Waveland avenues, which needs special permission from city officials, is too big for the area and too close to nearby homes.
Zitella Development Corp. has asked city officials to cut by half the amount of space it is required to leave between the proposed 30-apartment building and the single-family homes behind it on Oconto Avenue.
Attorney Mark Kupiec, who represents Zitella, said a 15-foot setback rather than a 30-foot setback is sufficient because the first floor of the building will be set aside for 32 indoor parking spaces, and the portion of the city's zoning ordinance that requires the rear setback applies only to residential uses.
“It won’t be a big difference,” Kupiec said.
The proposed building will be similar to the condominium complex built by Zitella next door at 3630 N. Harlem Ave., Kupiec said.
"This is a good development for the area," Kupiec said.
The apartment building will be separated from the Octonto Avenue homes by their garages, Kupiec said. There is no alley between the homes and the one-story Deville Tire shop, which is slated to be torn down to make way for the development.
Ald. Tim Cullerton (38th) said he would not support the request for the exception from the zoning ordinance because of complaints from Dunning residents.
The city’s zoning board of appeals is expected to consider the matter at its July 18 meeting.
Several residents of the area told the alderman they consider the 122-foot by 131-foot lot too small for the proposed development, which they said would create too much traffic.
In response to the complaints, Cullerton has proposed changing the zoning for the entire area between Waveland and Addison avenues along Harlem Avenue to prevent a similar project from being proposed in the future.
The change will prevent another “reoccurrence” of this sort of project, Cullerton said.
“This is a way to use zoning as a tool to protect the community,” Cullerton said.
Although the proposed development is now in the 36th Ward — represented by Ald. Nicholas Sposato — it will be in Cullerton's 38th Ward when the new ward map takes effect after the 2015 aldermanic elections.
Although the new map has been challenged in court, city officials have begun following it in matters of zoning.
Sposato said his office has recieved two complaints.
"If I were in charge I would have a community meeting to see how the residents felt," Sposato said. "But it is a moot point."
Sposato said he would wait for the courts to rule on the council map before deciding whether to challenge Cullerton for his seat on the city council.
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