Meeting set on zoning change





by BRIAN NADIG

A recent zoning proposal calls for a doctor’s office on the first floor of a 2 1/2 story building at 5647 W. Lawrence Ave. to be converted into a residential unit.

There is an existing apartment on the second floor and in the basement, and if approved, the zoning change would restore the building to the three-flat that it reportedly was when it built 40 years ago.

"The office was previously an apartment, and no changes would be made to the exterior of the building. This change will allow the building to return to its previous state, with the same use and similar appearance as the other three-flats on the block," according to a recent letter that Alderman John Arena (45th) sent to area property owners.

Arena will hold a community meeting on the proposal at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, at the Jefferson Park Library, 5363 W. Lawrence Ave. The proposal calls for the property to be rezoned from B1-1 to B2-2, which allows for first-floor residential use in a business zone and up to three residential units on the site.

The existing building represents a nonconforming use under B1-1, which allows no more than one residential unit on the property. The property was downzoned after the building was built, according to Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh.

Former Alderman Patrick Levar once sought to have the block upzoned due in part to the high number of nonconforming properties there. It is not unusual for owners of nonconforming properties to run into problems when seeking a construction permit to make changes to their building.