Storage facility in 41st Ward approved by group


The 41st Ward Zoning Advisory Committee at its July 19 meeting unanimously approved a revised proposal to build a self-storage facility at 6250 N. Northwest Highway in Norwood Park.

The committee took the vote without getting feedback on the revised plan from the community groups which the 11 panel members represent. The committee, which makes recommendations on zoning issues to Alderman Anthony Napolitano, voted 7-1 to override its normal procedure and take a vote at the meeting.

"We don’t want to be meeting potential developers and investors to death," committee chairman Mike Emerson said.

Recently the committee has been making decisions on most proposals within 3 months, compared to a 3- to 6-month period 10 years ago. The ward committee was formed about 25 years ago.

In June, residents expressed concern about the exterior design of the proposed three-story storage building, with one resident calling it a "concrete vault." Plans call for an existing one-story industrial building on the site to be demolished.

Several committee members said that Cse Development addressed most of the community’s concerns by adding brick and more glass to the design. The committee also is requiring that decorative elements be added along the top of the facade, near the roofline.

The M1-2 zoning mandates the proposed 92,000-square-foot building be setback 15 feet from the street, allowing for the installation of trees.

Project developer Jonathan Lunn told the committee that the zoning ordinance would include language that would limit the height to three stories. Some residents expressed concern that M1 zoning does not generally include a height restriction.

Lunn said that the site’s current M1-1 zoning would accommodate an 88,000-square-foot warehouse by adding a second and third floor to the existing building and digging out a basement.

However, he said that the rezoning would allow for a nicer-looking building and would be more conducive to the climate control and other planned amenities.

"On a new building, it’s going to have the newest technology. That’s why I didn’t want to rehab (the existing structure)," Lunn said.

The warehouse would have about 800 storage units, typically ranging between 25 and 100 square feet with an 8-foot ceiling. "Our customers come from a two-mile radius," Lunn said.