Sauganash association gives update on projects
by BRIAN NADIG
Local development issues, a possible bus service for the new Taft High School freshman academy and airplane noise were discussed at the May 15 annual meeting of the Sauganash Community Association.
Association president Dave Seglin reported that the group has made design recommendations to a developer who plans to demolish a home in the 5800 block of North Kenneth Avenue to build three new homes on the property, which includes a large wooded side yard. While some residents may prefer that the side yard remain, the site’s existing zoning allows for three houses, he said.
Initial designs shown the association did generate some concerns, and the association is hopeful that changes will be made, Seglin said.
"We told him we have a variety of housing stock, and we don’t want three cookie-cutter designs," Seglin said. "We told him to put a home there that looks like it belongs in the neighborhood."
It also was reported that an approximately 1-acre vacant parcel at 4362 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. is for sale for $1,499,770. The parcel, which runs south from Bryn Mawr, is adjacent to LaBagh Woods and is often mistaken for Cook County Forest Preserve District property.
The parcel was recently rezoned from a public open space designation to RS-1, which is intended for single-family homes. Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th) has said that the open space designation, which is intended for government-owned land, was in error.
It is the association’s understanding that it would be difficult to build more than one house on the site due to the unusual shape of the parcel and limited access to roadways, Seglin said. There had been a proposal to build 18 townhouses there, but the association opposed the project and the proposal was later withdrawn, he said.
The association has looked into the possibility of the county purchasing the property, but the county typically pays $70,000 to $80,000 for an acre of land, significantly less than the asking price, Seglin said.
A resident recommended that a zoning advisory board be created for the 39th Ward, similar to the one in the 41st Ward, where representatives of community groups vote on proposals. The votes serve as a recommendation to Alderman Anthony Napolitano.
Also at the meeting, Taft principal Mark Grishaber said that the school is working on a plan to offer a possible bus service from Sauganash, Edgebrook and Wildwood to the planned Taft freshman academy at 4071 N. Oak Park Ave. The freshman campus is expected to open in the fall of 2019.
The transportation fee would be approximately $1,000 a year, which is similar to what students pay to ride the CTA to and from school for a year ($5 roundtrip per day), Grishaber said.
Taft offers a wide variety of academic programs, including the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program and Advanced Placement courses, Grishaber said. "Last year 100 percent of our kids were accepted to college," he said.
Sauganash School principal Christine Munns reported that "almost half of our (graduating) class went to the Taft IB program." She added that Sauganash also was "one of the two highest" schools in terms of the number of selective high school students which it produced.
Meanwhile, Fair Allocation in Runways coalition member John Kane said that jet noise is expected to get much worse in Sauganash when the new Granville runway opens in 2020 and the Thorndale runway is extended in 2021. These changes will allow for more cargo and larger passenger jets to fly over Sauganash, he said.
Laurino reported that a group of Northwest Side aldermen would be meeting with the Chicago Police Department in an effort to get more officers in the 17th (Albany Park) Police District.
"We have retirements in the 17th District that seem difficult to keep up with," Laurino said. It was recently announced that the department is opening bids for 10 new officers in the district.
Laurino also said that the names of "some major retailers" would soon be announced for the Edens Collection shopping center being constructed near Foster Avenue and the Edens Expressway.
Other speakers at the meeting included 39th Ward Democratic committeeman Robert Murphy, 39th Ward Republican deputy committeeman Barry Bebart and Jim Dunbar of Mosquito Joe. Dunbar said that one of the keys to mosquito prevention is reducing areas where water can build up in yards and that holes should be punched in tires that are used in swing sets so that water cannot collect there.
Also speaking were representatives of U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (D-5) and Cook County commissioner Bridget Gainer (D-10).
Seglin announced that in the past year the association raised about $8,500 for schools and other groups and is looking for volunteers for its annual Fourth of July parade and picnic. Those interested in volunteering are asked to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seglin said that the parade will kick off at 9:30 a.m. and the picnic around 10:30 a.m. Parade participants are asked to start gathering at 9 a.m.