41st Ward panel hears plan for two homes on Newcastle, revisions to planned apartment complex on Bryn Mawr

The proposed construction of two homes on a 60-foot-wide property near Newcastle and Foster avenues and revisions to a planned apartment complex at Bryn Mawr and Delphia avenues were discussed at the July 1 meeting of the 41st Ward Zoning Advisory Board.

Plans call for two two-story homes to be built on an approximately 7,400-square-foot parcel at 5128-32 N. Newcastle Ave., where a 72-year-old house would be demolished.

The house has been vacant for about 20 years, according to project officials.

In 2013, the advisory board approved a similar project for a neighboring property at 5134-36 N. Newcastle Ave., where two houses recently were constructed on the 60-foot-wide property. That property was  rezoned from RS-2 to the less restrictive RS-3, and plans called for the property to be rezoned back to RS-2 after the project’s completion.

RS-2 zoning also is being requested for 5128-32 N. Newcastle because the planned houses would not meet the minimum lot size and side-yard setback requirements under the existing RS-2, which requires a minimum 5,000 square-foot lot and 9-foot combined side setbacks.

Project representative Peter Sterniuk said that the planned 30-foot-wide lots and 6-foot combined side setbacks are typical for the block, where nearly all of the lots are nonconforming to the zoning code. The setback on each side of the proposed houses would be 3 feet.

Board member Liz DeChant expressed  concern that project would result in "spot zoning" in the predominantly RS-2-zoned area but said that "the precedent has already been set (in 2013)."

The proposed houses would include four bedrooms, a basement and a garage. The board could vote on the proposal at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5, at the Olympia Park fieldhouse, 6566 N. Avondale Ave.

Also at the July 1 meeting, it was reported that the developer of a 394-unit apartment complex at 8601-23 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. is seeking changes to the planned development ordinance which the Chicago Plan Commission approved for the site in 2013.

Plans had called for one building, but the developer, Interpark Investors LLC, is now seeking to construct two 79-foot tall buildings, one with 200 units and the other with 194 units. The complex would be constructed in two phases, with the building on the western half of the parcel being built first.

The project also includes a restaurant, a pool, a fitness center and a 327-space parking garage. Six one-story office buildings are being demolished for the project, and the developer has not ruled out building a similar retail-residential project on a neighboring office center site.

Project attorney Jack George said that the changes are not considered significant enough to require the City Council to approve an amendment to the planned development ordinance which governs the site’s zoning. He said that the city Department of Planning and Economic Development is expected to approve the revisions through an administrative review.

Alderman Anthony Napolitano said that since an amendment is not required, project officials were not required to address the board at its July 1 meeting but that they agreed to do so as a courtesy. Board members did not raise any objections to the planned revisions.

The board approved the project by a 5-3 vote in 2012. Residents living near the site expressed concern that the complex would worsen parking and traffic congestion in the area, but project officials said that proximity of the Cumberland Blue Line CTA station would attract renters who rely on public transportation for their commute to work.