Panel okay zoning for sale of firewood
by BRIAN NADIG
The Chicago Plan Commission at its Dec. 20 meeting approved a zoning change that would allow for the retail sale of firewood at an industrial site at the northwest corner of Northwest Highway and Bryn Mawr Avenue.
No physical changes are planned to the existing building on the parcel, which in the past has housed a cement business and was used as storage for a food distributor.
"This site had been vacant for quite some time" Alderman John Arena (45th) told the commission.
As early as January, the City Council is expected to approve rezoning the parcel from M1-1 Limited Manufacturing/Business Park District to C3-1 Commercial, Manufacturing and Employment District.
Chicago Firewood moved into its current facility at 5600 N. Northwest Hwy. about six months ago and has been operating on a contingency basis while it awaits a business license, which it cannot obtain until the property is rezoned, Arena said. No objections to the proposal were raised at a community meeting last summer, he said.
Large stacks of firewood are being stored on the property, which has been kept clean, Arena said.
In response to a concern from a commission member, Chicago Firewood owner Matthew Heitz said that he plans to make some improvements to a perimeter fence on the property.
Chicago Firewood has been in business for about 30 years and was previously located at 1301 N. Kingsbury St. In addition to on-site sales, the company has two trucks that are used to deliver firewood to restaurants with wood-burning ovens.