EDISON PARK — A plan to build 30 condominiums, shops and a 159-unit parking garage was roundly criticized Thursday night by a room full of residents who said the four-story development would be a bad fit for Downtown Edison Park.
The plan was greeted with a wall of opposition from residents even though Troy Realty President Hubert Cioromski dropped his initial plan to build a mixed-use development with 44 apartments at 6655 N. Oliphant Ave.
The building, designed with an Italian Renaissance flair including a large dome and ornamental flourishes, would include 4,700 square feet of commercial space along with 30 parking spots reserved for residents and another 129 spots for diners, shoppers and commuters traveling via Metra.
The condominiums, ranging from one-bedroom units to four-bedroom units, would be listed for between $350,000 and $450,000, said Jim Banks, the zoning attorney representing Cioromski.
Because the development requires special permission from city officials, at least one of the condos must be set aside for low-income residents, as required by the city's affordable housing ordinance. That unit must be sold for no more than 60 percent of the market price, according to the law.
Instead of setting aside two more units for low-income residents, the developer would instead pay $250,000 into the city's affordable housing fund to be used to finance other projects as the law allows, Banks said.
Critics said the project was too dense and would create traffic gridlock and a parking crunch while overburdening already overcrowded schools in Edison Park schools. Not one member of the audience said they supported the proposal.
"It is a beautiful building but it has no place in Edison Park," said Edison Park resident Dan Moynihan, garnering loud applause and cheers.
But two members of the the 41st Ward Zoning Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations to Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st) on whether projects should be granted special permission by city officials, voiced support for the project.
Committee Chairman Mike Emerson, a Norwood Park resident, said the development would benefit Edison Park by increasing its tax base.
"This is a gateway project," Emerson said. "This would be a much nicer way to greet visitors than a car wash and a parking lot."
"What do we care what other people think?" Heneghan said to loud cheers and applause.
But Frank Icuss, who represents Edison Park on the committee, said he didn't think the project was too dense for Edison Park and said he would work to give the development a "fair hearing" at a future meeting of the Edison Park Community Council to consider the project.
"No one can deny it is a beautiful building," Icuss said.
The meeting turned contentious at times, with members of the audience shouting at the committee and suggesting approval of the project was a done deal because of campaign contributions.
Cioromski gave Napolitano $1,000 in June 2015, according to Illinois State Board of Elections records.
Napolitano said he would not allow the project — which needs his support — to be built over the objections of residents.
"If the community does not want it, I do not want it," Napolitano said. "I would never do that to you."
The initial proposal created a firestorm of controversy in June when Napolitano said Heneghan made it seem like low-income apartments would be built in the heart of Edison Park in an attempt to boost his political prospects in the next aldermanic election.
Heneghan is widely expected to challenge Napolitano in 2019.
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