Downzoning eyed for Elston Ave. site


by BRIAN NADIG

Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th) is planning to downzone a redevelopment site at Elston Avenue and Pulaski Road where a new facility for First Chicago Bank and Trust will be built.

First Chicago is planning to build a branch on an approximately 16,000-square-foot parcel at 4325 N. Elston Ave. After the new branch is constructed, the existing facility in a 95-year-old two-story building at 4343 N. Elston Ave. will be demolished for an undetermined retail project.

The downzoning will not affect plans to begin construction of the new branch this fall, but it may require the developer for the project to seek a zoning change depending on the size of the retail development and the type of the businesses.

"It is nothing more than a planning tool," Laurino spokesman Manuel Galvan said of the downzoning. "It is to make sure that the alderman and community have input."

Laurino’s proposal calls for the site to be rezoned from B3-2 Community Shopping District, which allows construction of a 50-foot-tall building, to B1-1 Neighborhood Shopping District which limits height to 38 feet. Businesses which are allowed under B3 but not B1 are restaurants with a bar, coin-operated laundries, electronic data storage centers, auto accessory stores and veterinary clinics.

A ground-breaking ceremony for the new bank was held last week. The existing bank was once the headquarters of Labe Bank.

The downzoning ordinance was introduced at the Oct. 16 meeting of the City Council, and the council’s Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards is expected to hold a hearing on it this fall.

At its Oct. 10 the committee meeting approved an institutional planned development allowing a charter school at 4540 W. Belmont Ave. Intrinsic Schools plans to reuse some of the existing buildings on the former industrial site and to build a new administrative building. The tallest building will be 40 feet, and 27 parking spaces are planned.

In addition, a zoning application recently was filed to legalize an existing three-flat at 4737 W. Warwick Ave. The application calls for the site to be rezoned from RS-3 single-unit to RT-3.5 multi-unit. The owner acquired the building in 2011.


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