Committee approves Edgebrook condos
by BRIAN NADIG
The 41st Ward Zoning Advisory Committee at its June 5 meeting approved a three-unit condominium project at 5306 W. Devon Ave. despite the group’s Edgebrook representative preferring to delay the vote.
"I’d like to vote ‘yes,’ but I have to get more community input," said committee member Christine Rosenberg, who also serves on the board of the Edgebrook Community Association. The zoning proposal was approved 5-1, with Rosenberg abstaining from the vote.
Some audience members who serve on the ECA board reported that the board did not have enough time at its last meeting to make a decision on the proposal.
Advisory committee member Frank Icuss, who called for the vote, said that project developer Tim Pomaville of Ambrosia Homes had revised the proposal so that it is "in compliance with what the neighborhood" had suggested when the initial plan for the vacant lot was made in 2016. At the time, a four-story, eight-unit building was planned.
"In my opinion, he has answered all the concerns," Icuss said. Icuss is the Edison Park Community Council’s representative on the committee. "These condos are all up and down Northwest Highway."
At the meeting, seven Edgebrook residents supported the project and six were opposed.
Pomaville said that he did not plan to make additional changes to the proposal and that he "absolutely" wanted the committee to take a vote at its June meeting.
Pomaville, an Edgebrook resident, said that he has tried to address all "reasonable" concerns by holding an open house on the proposal at the Edgebrook Library and by giving out his cellphone number on social media so residents could call him.
The proposed building would become the first three-story, all-residential building on Devon Avenue in Downtown Edgebrook, which consists primarily of one- and two-story commercial structures with some second-floor apartments.
Each of the proposed condominiums would sell for about $310,000 and would include two bedrooms, two bathrooms and either a rear deck or patio, Pomaville said. There also would be three sets of tandem parking spaces in the rear of the lot that would accommodate up to six vehicles.
Plans call for the 3,000-square-foot-foot lot to be rezoned from B3-1 to B2-2, which permits up to three residential units on the property and allows for residential use on the first floor.
To address concerns that the new zoning could set a precedent, the committee recommended that the site be downzoned to the more restrictive B2-1.5 at the end of the project. Under the downzoning, the building would become legally nonconforming since B2-1.5 would allow no more than two residential units on the site.
Rosenberg expressed concern that the frame construction of the building, which would include a pitched roof, would look too residential in nature and not fit in with the business district. She also recommended that the first-floor unit be designed to allow for the flexibility of a work/live unit on the first floor.
Pomaville said that city requirements for work/live units would result in too small of a living space on the first floor.
"All of a sudden, I have a building I can’t sell," Pomaville said. "I’m here to sell condos. They have to be 1,250 square feet, two bedrooms."
Pomaville said after the meeting that construction for the project may not start until next spring, given the time needed to obtain the zoning change and a construction permit.
The votes of the advisory committee, which includes representatives from community groups in the 41st Ward, serve as a recommendation to Alderman Anthony Napolitano.