Residents oppose project to build two homes on Gregory




by BRIAN NADIG

Most of the 18 residents at a May 5 community meeting that was held by Alderman John Arena (45th) expressed opposition to a plan to build two single-family homes on vacant lots at 6223-27 W. Gregory St.

Plans call for each of the proposed houses to have a two-car garage, but concern was expressed that the homes would increase parking congestion on neighboring side streets. Parking is not allowed on Gregory.

Several residents said that many families, especially those with older children, have more than two cars and that in some instances existing garages in the area go unused because the occupants of the house park on the street. "There is no parking on Gregory, so people are going to park on my street, one block over," a woman said.

Arena said that he would talk to the developer for the project and the city Department of Transportation about the feasibility of allowing driveways on Gregory for garages in front of the homes, with additional parking on the driveways.

Arena said that the department may have concerns about allowing new curb cuts on Gregory because of the volume of traffic on that street, from which motorists can access the Kennedy Expressway. He said that whether or not the project is approved, he will seek to address problems with parking and traffic in the area.

The zoning code usually requires alley access to new garages for properties which abut an alley, but the proposed RS-3 zoning for the project allows an exception when a property is being improved with a single-family home. The site plan for the project shows that a detached garage for each home would be accessible from the rear alley.

Several residents said that they would prefer that the developer build under the existing RS-2 zoning of the site, which allows one house on the 6,000-square-foot site.

About 30 people have signed a petition opposing the zoning change. The proposal also calls for a second-floor addition to a house on the block.

Project attorney Paul Kolpak said that except for a few double-lot properties, "99 percent of your homes could not be built under their zoning" because the properties are too small. Kolpak said that RS-2, which is the prevailing zoning in the area, requires a minimum lot size of 5,000 square feet and that the area presumably was downzoned after the most the houses in the neighborhood were built decades ago.

"The neighborhood is basically single-family," Kolpak said. "We’re asking to build two new single-family homes. Will it change the neighborhood? Absolutely not."

Each of the two-story, 1,600-square-foot houses would have larger side yards than typically are found in the neighborhood, Kolpak said. Under the existing zoning, a house as large as 3,900 square feet could be built, and that would be out of character with the neighborhood, he said.

The asking price for each house would be about $360,000, according to project officials.

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