Advisory board approves Wendy’s plan
by BRIAN NADIG
The 41st Ward Zoning Advisory Board at its Feb. 5 meeting approved a plan to replace the Wendy’s restaurant at 5472 N. Harlem Ave. with one of the chain’s new prototype models and endorsed a preliminary plan to build a home at 7130-32 W. Highland Ave.
Breaking with protocol, the board decided to vote on the Wendy’s proposal at its February meeting without waiting a month so that board members would have time to report back to the community organizations which they represent. The board makes recommendations on zoning issues to Alderman Mary O’Connor, who has appointed a representative from about 10 groups in her ward to serve on the board.
Board chairman Kevin Walsh said that voting on the proposal after one meeting was appropriate because the proposal calls for replacing an existing facility with a building of similar size and that no objections were raised. Wendy’s plans to start construction in July and to open the new restaurant by early October.
A portion of the rear of property is zoned for residential use, and the proposal calls for the entire site to be zoned B3-1, which allows restaurants. In addition to the rezoning, a special use for the restaurant’s new drive-through facility must be obtained from the Zoning Board of Appeals before a construction permit can be issued.
Project officials told the board that about 70 percent of the restaurant’s business comes from its drive-through customers and that about 100 vehicles use the existing restaurant’s drive-through lane between midnight and 4 a.m. each day.
The restaurant will have a fireplace and Internet access, and its exterior will feature corrugated panels, face brick and a red metal blade with the company’s logo. The number of parking spaces will be reduced from the existing 48 to 33 in order to meet the requirements of the city’s landscape ordinance.
Also at the meeting, no objections were raised during the polling of board members on a plan to build a two-story house on the Highland property, which is vacant except for a shed. A developer plans to present formal plans at a future meeting, but he asked the board for feedback at its February meeting before he acquires the property.
The site consists of two 3,125-square-foot lots, one of which is zoned RS-2 for single-family homes and the other B3-1 for retail use, and plans call for the entire site to be zoned RS-2.
The property is adjacent to PNC Bank, 6401 N. Harlem Ave., and is across Highland from A-Trendz Auto and Truck Accessory Shoppe, 6333 N. Northwest Hwy. A split-zoned property at 7133 W. Devon Ave., which the board agreed to have rezoned entirely to RS-2 to accommodate a planned addition last fall, is adjacent to the property to the north.
Project attorney Paul Kolpak said that a detached garage would be constructed on the western half of the parcel on Highland, serving as a buffer between the house and the bank site. Plans call for the house to have four bedrooms and a basement and to be priced between $550,000 and $600,000.
Kolpak said that while the house would be larger than the typical one-story home on the block, its side setback from the neighboring house to the east would be several feet wider than the average setback on the block. He said that all of the lots on the block are nonconforming because they are significantly smaller than the required minimum lot area of 5,000 square feet under RS-2.
Kolpak said that multi-family construction was considered for the property but that it would require a less restrictive zoning classification than RS-2 and that his client felt that a single-family home would be the best fit for the property and the neighborhood.
It was announced at the meeting that Oriole Park Community Club member Liz DeChant recently was appointed to the advisory board. The board’s next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 5, at the Olympia Park fieldhouse, 6566 N. Avondale Ave.