Panel to hear plan for Olympia project
by BRIAN NADIG
The 41st Ward Zoning Advisory Board rejected a plan to build a four-flat at 6686 N. Olympia Ave. in 2012, but at its Jan. 7 meeting the board will consider a revised proposal for the 7,068-square-foot lot.
The new proposal also calls for construction of a four-unit apartment building, and the developer is seeking the same zoning change, from RS-3 to the less restrictive RT-3.5. Since the board voted 6-2 against the project in September of 2012, a two-flat on the property that the city was seeking to have demolished due to its poor condition has been torn down.
"The design is totally different," project attorney John Pikarski Jr. said of the new plan. "The building is more compact. The building is designed so that it matches the character of the surrounding neighborhood."
The parcel is located between an 80-year-old nine-unit brick apartment building and a 99-year-old frame single-family home.
The original plans in July of 2012 called for construction of a six-unit building and for the site to be rezoned to RT-4, and at the time some board members said that the project would be too dense. The board members said that the typical zoning in the neighborhood is RS-2, which is intended for single-family homes, or RS-3, which allows homes and two-flats.
Pikarski said that the neighborhood has several nonconforming buildings which do not comply the zoning of the property and that one lot on the block has been used to store a landscaping company’s vehicles.
Each of the two apartments on the first floor of the building would have a basement and would measure about 2,500 square feet, while the second-floor units would measure about 1,350 square feet, Pikarski said. The building would have eight parking spaces in the rear of the lot, he said.
Also on the agenda for the meeting are a proposed six-unit condominium building at 6430 N. Northwest Hwy. and the a proposal to demolish three houses in the 5500 block of North Neva Avenue to allow the expansion of a parking lot that serves storefronts at 7138-48 W. Higgins Ave.
At the time of the board’s last meeting on Oct. 1, the developer of the parking lot owned only two of the three houses on the west side of Neva, but he has since acquired the third home, according to Lisa Ryan, for Alderman Mary O’Connor’s chief of staff. Under the proposal, the number of parking spaces would increase from 22 to 46, and the additional parking should help the effort to find tenants for the longtime vacant storefronts on Higgins, Ryan said.
The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. today at the Olympia Park fieldhouse, 6566 N. Avondale Ave. The board makes recommendations to O’Connor on zoning issues.