Less parking possisble for Edison Park project, but residents still object to its density
by BRIAN NADIG
The developer of a proposed 30-unit condominium building with 159 parking spaces at 6655 N. Oliphant Ave. said he would consider eliminating half of the parking in response to residents’ concerns, but many area home owners continue to oppose the project.
The change would reduce the building’s height from four to three stories, leaving one level of parking and two floors of living units. The 35,000-square-foot parcel, where a car wash recently closed, is located near Edison Park Metra Station.
The parking is intended to serve the condominium owners, commuters during the daytime, and area bars and restaurants at night. However, several of the residents at the Edison Park Community Council’s Nov. 3 meeting expressed concern that the parking component of the project would bring additional traffic to an already congested area.
“If you’re asking if I’d be willing to take away some of the parking, absolutely,” project developer Hubert Cioromski of Troy Realty told residents. Eliminating a floor of parking would make the project more cost-effective, he said.
At the request of public officials, a large amount of parking has been included to help address the area’s parking problems, especially on side streets where home owners sometimes complain about loud bar patrons returning to their car, Cioromski said. The garage, with its lighting and security cameras, would provide a safe place to park, he said.
Edison Park Chamber of Commerce executive director Melissa McIntyre said at the meeting that due to the high parking demand, the chamber owns and maintains two parking lots to help area businesses. The chamber has endorsed the proposal.
Concerns were raised that the only access point to the garage would be an existing driveway on Oliphant, where traffic backs up due to a railroad crossing. The possibility of a driveway on Avondale Avenue is being studied, project officials said.
The condominium units would range in size from 1,050 to 2,500 square feet, with an asking price of about $350,000 for the smallest units and $500,000 for the larger ones, said project attorney Nicholas Ftikas.
“What we want to do here is to dispel the notion this is low-income, Section 8 housing. It is not,” Ftikas said in reference to concerns raised at previous meetings.
All of the units except for one would be sold at the market-rate, Ftikas said. One of the units would be offered at a below-market rate due to the city’s affordable housing guidelines, and that rate is based on an area’s medium income, he said.
Several residents objected to the density of the project and expressed concern that the building would set a precedent for the predominantly single-family neighborhood, and their comments were greeted with applause from most of the 80 people at the meeting. “Is this going to be condo city?” one man said.
Several residents said that the height and density of the project would be more appropriate if it would located north of the railroad tracks on a street like Olmsted Avenue or Northwest Highway, where multi-family construction is more common.
Dense projects are not appropriate for the neighborhood given the overcrowded conditions at area schools, a woman said.
Cioromski said that the typical condominium buyer would an empty-nestor who no longer wants to maintain a single-family home or a young professional who grew up in Edison Park.
Concerns also were raised that the European-influenced design of the building would not be a good fit with the area’s existing architecture. “It looks like something in Paris,” a woman said.
A single storefront is being considered for the west end of the building, said Cioromski, who told residents that he is planning to live in one of the building’s units.
Community council members said that residents’ concerns would be conveyed to the 41st Ward Zoning Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations to Alderman Anthony Napolitano. The committee will discuss the project at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, at the Olympia Park fieldhouse, 6566 N. Avondale Ave.