Residents receptive to animal hospital proposal


A proposal for an animal hospital received a warmer reception than a planned self-storage facility at the June 7 meeting of the 41st Ward Zoning Advisory Committee.

The owner of the Abbell Animal Hospital, 6032 N. Northwest Hwy., is planning to relocate his business and is proposing to build a new two-story facility at 5990 N. Northwest Hwy., where a vacant industrial building would be demolished.

Plans call for a residential-style building with a pitched roof that would include a second-floor apartment for a worker who would be checking on animals at night.

There also would be a second commercial space on the first floor which would be used for a related animal business, such as a dog grooming shop, or an eventual expansion of the hospital, according to project officials.

The proposal calls for the approximately 11,000-square-foot parcel to be rezoned from M1-1, which is intended primarily for manufacturing to C1-1, which allows a variety of commercial above-ground residential uses.

Several committee members said that they were glad the clinic would be remaining in Norwood Park and that the planned 11 parking spaces would be a welcome amenity for pet owners.

"We really appreciate this project. It’s a great investment in the community," committee chairman Mike Emerson said. The committee is expected to vote on the zoning request this summer.

The committee also discussed a plan to build a three-story storage facility at 6250 N. Northwest Hwy., where a micro-threading business once operated.

Under the site’s existing zoning, an 88,000-square-foot warehouse would be created by carving out a basement and adding a second floor and a partial third floor to the existing building, project officials said. The second and third floor would be set back 15 feet from the street.

An alternative plan calls for the demolition of the building and the construction of a new three-story structure, but that proposal requires the site to be rezoned from M1-1 to the less restrictive M1-2.

Project officials told the committee that they are prepared to proceed with either plan but that the rezoning would allow for a nicer looking building.

However, some residents objected to the exterior design of the proposed steel and concrete building. "It’s a concrete vault," a resident said.

"What we’re hearing is people don’t want to see a box," committee member Marc Pelini said. "Make it a little more pedestrian-friendly."