Changes set for church on site of Monastero’s
by BRIAN NADIG
A proposal to build a church on the site of Monastero’s Ristorante, 3935 W. Devon Ave., is undergoing changes to the site plan and the building’s design.
The Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church, 4850 N. Bernard St., is seeking to relocate to the Devon site. The Monastoro’s family is closing the restaurant, which opened 55 years ago, in November.
Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th) said that the changes would address concerns raised by residents at a community meeting in June and that the church officials are hiring a consultant to conduct a traffic study for the project.
The City Council Zoning Committee at its July 21 meeting approved rezoning the site B1-1 to B1-2 to accommodate construction of the church. Laurino has issued a letter of "no objection" on the proposal to the zoning committee.
Laurino said that she expects the church will address the community’s concerns but wants to review the traffic study and a final site plan before she gives her full support. She said that even with a zoning change, the project couldn’t proceed until special use permits for religious assembly and accessory parking are obtained from the Zoning Board of Appeals later this year.
Plans call for access to the 170-space parking from a driveway and alley along Devon near the east end of the site. A site plan presented at the community meeting mistakenly showed that there would be access to the lot from an alley off Pulaski Road, but the presumed alley is actually part of a parking lot for an adjacent business, according to a Laurino aide.
Changes also are being made to the faade of the 50-foot-tall church, including the installation of more windows, the aide said.
Under the proposal, the existing restaurant and banquet facility would be demolished. The project would include the site of an adjacent landscaping business on Devon.