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Buena Park Neighbors Vote in Favor of New Apartment Building

By Evan F. Moore | December 10, 2015 5:46am | Updated on December 10, 2015 9:31am
 46th Ward Ald. James Cappleman speaks with the Buena Park Neighbors before the vote on the West Belle Plaine project.
46th Ward Ald. James Cappleman speaks with the Buena Park Neighbors before the vote on the West Belle Plaine project.
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DNAinfo/Evan F. Moore

BUENA PARK — Developers of a new Buena Park apartment complex say they're "tickled pink" that neighbors approved the project after several months of back and forth. 

Buena Park Neighbors, a 46th Ward-based community association of residents, business owners and nonprofit organizations, voted 41-30 Tuesday night in favor of an apartment building being built at 931 W. Belle Plaine Ave.

The vote, which took two previous meetings to hammer out, took place at Brenneman Elementary School, 4251 N. Clarendon Ave.

Chioros Properties Inc., the developers involved in the project, were seeking approval to build a apartment building that is bigger than most of the buildings on the block. The building would be built on an existing parking lot, which means some neighbors would lose parking spaces on an already congested block.

In June, the stakeholders involved thought that a deal was already in the works.

According to the presentation given by Jean Dufresne, Chioros’ architect, the new zoning would only allow for a maximum of 17 units in the building and would be about six feet taller than its neighbors.

Michael Chioros, of Chioros Properties, was elated to hear that the vote went in his favor.

“I’m tickled pink and excited that people see the value in new construction and new people along with a new page in Buena Park,” Chioros said. ”I remember this neighborhood 30 years ago and the difference to where it is today, nobody would touch this neighborhood. The growing pains of success shows that there was so much work to get a new building built.”

Chioros said the changes he and other developers made along the way, along with keeping the lines of communication open, may have won over the voters.

“We gave it a lot of thought and there was a lot of discussion between the alderman’s office and the architect,” Chioros said. “My development team sat down and said, 'What is it going to take to make this work and also make sense for us?' "

Buena Park resident Kathleen Hogan voted "yes" on the project because she believed the developers took the community's thoughts into consideration.

“I voted for it because the neighborhood needs new development and I think the developers did a good job of meeting the community's requests,” Hogan said. “I think the concerns the neighbors had to do with losing the parking. The parking is going to go anyway. It’s just a matter of when.”

Buena Park Neighbors’ Board President Lisa Von Drehle. echoed Hogan’s sentiments.

“Buena Park neighbors welcomes the democratic process and as a result of that, we welcome the new construction," Von Drehle said.

Scott Kruger owns a building on Belle Plaine. The Buena Park resident says he voted "no" because the building wouldn’t match up to what was already in the neighborhood.

“This building is twice as large as the other buildings on the block,” Kruger said. “It’s out of character and out of the uniformity of the block.”

Ald. James Cappleman (46th) says he was pleased by the amount of participation of his constituents.

“Democracy works. I was going to accept the vote regardless of the outcome,” Cappleman said. “I’m glad people participated. They asked great questions and I support their decision.”

Cappleman stated before the vote that 75 percent of the people who live in the 46th Ward were renters. He was pleased that the developers were sensitive to the needs of his constituents.

“They address the concerns people had and I’m glad they did because that’s why I brought them back,” Cappleman said. ”When they showed their revised plans, I thought they changed it enough to revisit it.”

Chioros Properties says construction on the Belle Plaine Avenue property is scheduled to start in the spring.

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