NORTH CENTER — Over the objections of Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) and some members of the community, the Cubs have received approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals to continue operating a remote parking lot in North Center — with strings attached.
"Obviously we're disappointed. Obviously we're very upset. We fought very hard for the last few months," Pawar said of the ZBA's decision.
Pawar appeared before the ZBA on Friday, arguing against a special use permit requested by the Cubs to operate the lot at 3900 N. Rockwell Ave., which the team is leasing from Basic Wire and Cable. The property sits adjacent to homes, Revere Park and the Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club.
According to reports, the special use permit will be issued with a number of conditions that must be met by the Cubs, including a ban on idling buses and the addition of barricades on Western Avenue intended to deter Cubs fans from driving on residential streets.
Other conditions reportedly include towing cars left in the lot two hours after the game ends and that portable bathrooms be moved away from homes and cleaned after every Wrigley event.
In the past, the Cubs offered remote parking at DeVry University, which held 500 cars and cost users $6 to park. This year, as one of the stipulations written into the neighborhood protection ordinance that granted the team permission to hold more night games, the Cubs are required to operate a free lot that can hold up to 1,000 cars in order to ease congestion around the ballpark.
"We were never consulted, never asked our opinion" by the Cubs about the North Center location, said Pawar.
"I think the ZBA genuinely heard what we were saying," the alderman said, referring to the added conditions it placed on the parking lot use. "I think they had serious concerns about the Cubs and the process."
The decision, he said, came down to finding legal grounds to deny the permit.
Cubs spokesman Julian Green said the team was "happy that we can continue to operate what has become a very successful parking operation for our fans."
The Cubs will continue to strike a balance between fulfilling the terms of the night game ordinance and addressing quality of life issues raised by North Center residents, he said. He would not comment on the new rules the team will have to follow to operate "until we see the actual nine conditions."
"We're going to look at every condition laid out in the permit and make sure they follow it to the 'T,'" said Pawar. "We're going to keep a very close eye on compliance."
He's also working with residents to re-form the Revere Park Advisory Council.
"We're going to make sure it's functioning and active," Pawar said. "Having a group in the community helps build better process."
The Cubs lease on the parking lot runs through 2018.
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