LOGAN SQUARE — Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) stood his ground and firmly declined after 900 signatures urging him to postpone a city hearing scheduled for the “Twin Towers” this week were presented at his Tuesday ward night.
“If you don’t like the answer, I can’t help that, but I can give you an answer,” Moreno told a group of 10 residents who met with him at his Tuesday night ward meeting, including members of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association and Logan Square Preservation.
“I’m not postponing it, so we can agree to disagree,” he added. “It’s moving forward as planned.”
The request to postpone Thursday's Chicago Plan Commission meeting by one month, in addition to holding one more community meeting is a sensible one, according to the neighborhood association's Housing and Land Use Committee co-chairman Daniel La Spata.
After gathering nearly 500 signatures online, in addition to more than 300 by knocking on doors in the neighborhood, La Spata hoped public opinion would sway the 1st Ward alderman.
But a second petition emerged Monday and had gained 122 signatures as of Tuesday night. This petition, urging Moreno to “move forward” with plans for the tower, is a direct counter to the first petition urging him to slow down.
The dueling petitions summarize the larger points on both sides of the argument and can be read (and signed) at the links below:
Signatures pushing back against the towers were dismissed at the ward meeting — a meeting peppered with raised voices, finger pointing and passionate arguments against the 11- and 12-story development proposal planned for the former Max Gerber site at 2293 N. Milwaukee Ave.
The transit-oriented development is a “national model for using density to provide for affordability” and will establish a vital tax revenue stream on the currently vacant lot, Moreno told the small group gathered Tuesday. But the group didn’t appear sold on the idea.
“It’s amazing to me that he will not postpone this even one month,” Lupe Marino said, calling the move “political suicide.”
“The reason [35th Ward alderman] Vilma Colom got voted out of office is because she said the very same things he said here,” she added.
“We feel like the public process was not nearly as comprehensive or open as it needed to be,” La Spata said Sunday night ahead of the petition delivery to Moreno’s office. He reiterated that while the Logan Square Neighborhood Association is not directly opposed to development on the Gerber site, the two public meetings held in October 2014 and March of this year were not enough.
According to Moreno chief of staff Raymond Valadez, developer Rob Buono applied for and was granted a Plan Commission hearing for the towers around January.
The next Plan Commission hearing and agenda is open to the public and will be held on the second floor of 121 North LaSalle St. at 1 p.m. Thursday, April 16.
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