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Edison Park Condo Proposal Still Faces Heat From Community, Despite Tweaks

By  Alex Nitkin and Heather Cherone | November 11, 2016 5:42am 

 The newest version of a plan to build condominiums and a parking garage in Downtown Edison Park was roundly criticized Thursday night.
The newest version of a plan to build condominiums and a parking garage in Downtown Edison Park was roundly criticized Thursday night.
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Troy Realty

EDISON PARK — A controversial proposal to build 30 condominiums on top of offices and a 124-space parking garage will continue to drag through a lengthy public approval process after a contentious meeting Thursday evening.

For the second time in two months, Troy Realty President Hubert Cioromski fielded questions and concerns about the project from members of the 41st Ward Zoning Advisory Committee, who expressed mixed opinions about the proposal for 6655 N. Oliphant Ave.

The 65 other community members who showed up to the meeting, meanwhile, were fierce and unequivocal in their opposition to the project.

"Do you live here? Do you have any idea how much traffic affects us around those train tracks?" demanded Ruth Bride, who lives in the 6600 block of North Ottowa Avenue, addressing Cioromski. "I don't know if you really care about us, or if you're just trying to get money in your pockets."

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 94 pay-to-park spots for diners, shoppers and commuters traveling via Metra.

The proposal was scaled down from 44 apartments earlier this year, after community members pilloried it for its potential to exacerbate street congestion and school overcrowding.

Developers came forward with further tweaks Thursday, saying they'd add an extra driveway coming out of the building on Oliphant Avenue to "spread around the traffic."

The condominiums, ranging from one-bedroom units to four-bedroom units, would be listed for between $350,000 and $450,000, according to 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.

That didn't sit well with Mary Sullivan, who lives two blocks away from the proposed development, in the 6600 block of North Ogallah Avenue.

"I'm paying massive taxes to live here, so I want people who are living the same way as me," Sullivan said. "I want people who are invested in the community, and who are going to live here a long time."

The resistance still wasn't enough to deter John and Maggie Harter, who are looking to sell their house in suburban Niles and move into a condo now that their kids are grown up.

When Maggie Harter stood up at the meeting to say she was "interested" in the development, others shouted her down with calls of "Move to Logan Square!" and "You're not even from here!"

John Harter was frustrated by the angry voices, he said, but he vowed to keep advocating for the construction of his potential next home.

"Look, all they're trying to do here is bring in 30 new taxpayers, and we want to be part of that," he said. "I understand there are some older people who have concerns about traffic, but people here just aren't making logical arguments."

The developers will go back to the drawing board and continue to tweak the proposal to better appease community members, they said. They'll present the next version of their plan to the committee in January.

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