Plans to build homes on Gregory St moving forward





by BRIAN NADIG

Alderman John Arena (45th) is supporting a plan to build two homes on a vacant parcel at 6223-27 W. Gregory St., across from the eastbound lanes of the Kennedy Expressway.

At a May 5 community meeting, several residents complained that the proposal would worsen the area’s parking congestion in part because of parking restrictions on Gregory, and about 40 people have signed a petition against plans to rezone the 6,000-square-foot site from RS-2 to RS-3. Only one house can be built on the property under RS-2.

It was reported at the meeting that parking is not permitted on Gregory, but it is allowed on the north side of the street, according to Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh. “It looks like it is actually legal to park on Gregory on the expressway side, although I’ve never seen anyone park there. If parking were to become an issue, we could look at shifting that parking to the house side of the street,” Brugh said.

Area resident Steve Neidenbach said that drivers are taking a risk if they park along that stretch of Gregory due to a curve in the roadway and speeding. “It’s like the expressway, but higher (speeds),” he said. “I would not park my car there.”

Parking restrictions on Nagle Avenue, 1 ½ blocks to the west, also add to the parking congestion on area streets, according to Neidenbach.

Arena said at the meeting that he would talk to 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. Plans call for the homes to have two-car garages which would be accessible from a rear alley.

“We talked to CDOT about front-loading garages, but Gregory takes a turn there, and CDOT was concerned about the garages emptying onto the turn. So we deiced to stay with the garages on the alley, as they are in most of the rest of the city,” Brugh said.

Each of the proposed two-story, 1,600-square-foot houses would have larger side yards than typically found in the area, according project attorney Paul Kolpak.

At the meeting Kolpak said that the project would not change the character of the neighborhood. He told residents that except for a few double-lot properties, “99 percent of your homes” could not be built under the prevailing RS-2 zoning in the neighborhood and that the area presumably was downzoned after most of the homes were built.

Earlier this month residents received notification from Kolpak that his client would be filing a zoning application with the city. The developer also is building a second-floor addition to a house on the block.

Residents would like Arena and the developer to hold a second community meeting on the proposal, Neidenbach said.

At the May 5 meeting Arena did not take a stance on the proposal but said that whether or not he decides to support the project, his office will try to address existing parking and traffic concerns in the neighborhood. Now that Arena supports the project, it is expected that the City Council will approve the proposal later this year.

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