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16 Apartments Near Montrose And Cicero Granted Final Approval

By  Alex Nitkin and Heather Cherone | March 20, 2017 2:36pm 

 A long-vacant lot near Montrose and Cicero avenues would be transformed into a 16-unit apartment building.
A long-vacant lot near Montrose and Cicero avenues would be transformed into a 16-unit apartment building.
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45th Ward Office

CITY HALL — A proposal to build 16 apartments near Montrose and Cicero avenues was green-lit by the city's Zoning Board of Appeals Friday, ending a year-long public approval process and setting the stage for construction to begin this spring.

Having already cleared the planning and zoning process, developer Dominic McGee ran into a "snafu" after realizing that one of the walls was planned so close to an adjacent building to necessitate a special-use permit from the board, according to Owen Brugh, Ald. John Arena's (45th) chief of staff.

After the proposal was unveiled last spring, Arena delayed the zoning change that would allow it to move forward, citing concerns from neighbors that the building would snarl traffic in the alley behind the property.

But the alderman changed his tune in August, saying that after monitoring traffic and parking in the area, he didn't "believe the configuration would be an issue," Brugh said at the time.

A three-story apartment building is directly west of the 14,200-square-foot parcel, and a Citgo gas station is directly east. The Montrose stop on the CTA Blue Line is a short walk, as is the Mayfair station on Metra's Milwaukee District North Line. Both the Montrose and Cicero avenue buses stop nearby.

The project includes 16 parking spots. If approved, two of the apartments would be set aside for low-income residents under the city's affordable housing ordinance.

The alderman is "eager to see [construction] finally get done," Brugh said.

"Right now it's still an empty lot, and something we still get complaints about people dumping on," he said. "It's going to be good to have a brand new building there, instead of an ugly, dilapidated parking lot."

But Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association president Robert Bank objected to the waiver at Friday's hearing, calling it an ill-conceived case of “spot up zoning.” If the building couldn't be built within standard spacial constraints, it shouldn't be built, he argued.

Construction will likely begin this spring, and McGee is aiming to wrap it up by the end of the year, Brugh said.