Parking reduced at Montrose-Cicero site at alderman’s request


The number of parking spaces for a planned 16-unit apartment building at 4812 W. Montrose Ave. has been reduced from 16 to 11 to allow for green space.

Several residents who live near the site said that they were surprised to only recently learn of the reduction given the parking and traffic concerns which the community has raised over the years about the site’s redevelopment. The reduction was included in a zoning ordinance for the property which the City Council approved last September.

One resident said that Alderman John Arena (45th) should have held a second community meeting on the project so that residents could give feedback on the revision. “They didn’t tell us anything,” the woman said.

Normally one parking space per unit is required under the zoning code, but the project’s developer was able to get a reduction because of the site’s proximity to the Mayfair Metra and Montrose Blue Line stations. The code allows for parking reductions for developments near transit centers.

At a community meeting last spring, project officials said that they would not be seeking a reduction in parking, but plans were later revised at the request of Arena, according to project attorney John Pikarski Jr.

“We believe the parking being built is adequate for a location in close proximity to multiple transit options,” said Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh. “Our office several times surveyed the parking around the site and didn’t find an issue. If a parking issue develops, we have tools to manage that, like residential parking restrictions.”

The site’s B2-3 zoning does not require green space, and under the previous plan two eight-car garages would have been constructed in the rear of the property. Under new the plan, 11 exterior parking spaces are being installed along the alley at the north end of the site.

The change allows for a landscaped backyard.

Several nearby home owners have said that on-site parking should be designed so that drivers can turnaround and not have to back out into the alley due to problems of speeding, cut-through traffic. Motorists use the alley to avoid the Montrose-Cicero intersection.

Residents also have reported that vehicles trying to maneuver in the alley too often hit garages and fences and have said that one parking space per apartment would be insufficient because on-street parking is already congested.

Arena has said that he toured the area last spring and did not see the parking and cut-through traffic problems which residents reported.

Arena also has said that parking demand in the area should be eased when the city Department of Water Management facility, 4900 W. Sunnyside Ave., is relocated to the Mayfair Lumber site, 4825 W. Lawrence Ave. The city is condemning the former lumber yard property, but the owners are challenging the city’s purchase offer.

“We believe the current plan strikes the right balance between providing parking and creating a quality building at a site that has been a vacant parking lot for at least a decade. The new plan does include a reduction in parking from what was originally proposed, while still providing three more parking spaces than what is required under the TOD (transit-oriented development) ordinance,” Brugh said.

A permit to start construction of the 3 ½-story apartment building on Montrose is pending. The site is located between a gas station and a three-story apartment building.