Panel rejects hookah bar, approves transitional residence;
by BRIAN NADIG
The Zoning Board of Appeals at its March 20 meeting denied a request for a special use that would have allowed a new hookah bar to open in Mayfair but approved a proposal to open a transitional residence for women in the convent at Saint Pascal Church.
The hookah bar was proposed for a former carpet store at 4614 W. Lawrence Ave. Last year city inspectors issued a stop work order because renovations reportedly were being done without a permit.
At meetings of the Mayfair Civic Association, residents expressed concern that the hookah bar would create noise and parking problems. Several other hookah bars exist on Lawrence Avenue in Mayfair and Albany Park.
The zoning board granted a special use to Aid for Women for a transitional residence for 14 women and two staff members in the convent, 3954-58 N. Meade Ave. The convent has been primarily used as a meeting place for parish organizations in recent years.
Aid for Women assists young women who are faced with unplanned pregnancies and encourages them to forgo abortion by providing resources and training to help them care for their child. The group has five locations, including Heather’s House at the Maryville Academy campus, 1150 N. River Road, Des Plaines.
“These women have to go to work, go to school or pursue a career, and the baby is in day care,” said Alderman Timothy Cullerton (38th), who supports the project. “It is a transitional place to help get them independent.”
Some residents have expressed concern that the fathers could cause security problems. Male visitors will not be allowed at the shelter, and there will be a 10 p.m. curfew, Cullerton said. He said that there have been no problems with fathers reported at Heather’s House.
Saint Pascal Parish pastor the Reverend Paul Seaman said that improvements to the convent are planned and that the typical length of stay for a woman in the shelter will be six to 12 months. “It’s going to be a well-managed operation and a quiet operation. I don’t think people are going to know it is there,” he said.
Cullerton also reported that he had a hold placed on the business license application for the planned Family Dollar store in the former Irving Park Bowling Lanes, 5708 W. Irving Park Road.
Residents have objected to a plan which would allow vehicles exiting the parking lot to use a rear alley, Cullerton said. Existing driveways on Irving Park could be used, he said.
Cullerton said also said two new restaurants are planned for the Irving Park-Austin commercial district, where streetscaping improvements are planned.
The Six Corners Association reported that the Chicago-based Condor real estate development team recently purchased buildings at 4029-37 N. Milwaukee Ave. and 4047-55 N. Milwaukee Ave., including the former Mr. Steer Steakhouse, 4033 N. Milwaukee Ave. The storefronts, some of which have been boarded up for years, are for lease.