Plans OK’d for 52 townhouses at Belmont, Kildare avenues
by BRIAN NADIG
A proposal to build 52 townhouses and 15 condominiums at Belmont and Kildare avenues despite concerns that the front of some of townhouses would face the rear of other units was given the green light by the Chicago Plan Commission last month.
The project would require the demolition of a one- and two-story retail and warehouse complex at 4200 W. Belmont Ave., where the three-story townhouse complex would be built.
Alderman Ariel Reboyras (30th) said at the May 21 meeting that the project would help revitalize a block-long stretch of land that brings little tax revenue to the city due to vacancies there.
"The existing lot has been on the market for over 3 1/2 years," he said.
The development also would include the construction of a three-story, nine-unit condominium building at 4157 W. Melrose St. and a three-story, six-unit condominium building at 3202 N. Kildare Ave. Currently both sites are parking lots.
The parking lot sites are included in the planned development ordinance that also governs the Belmont parcel. The developer, Noah Properties, is seeking to amend the ordinance to allow residential uses.
Reboyras said that the development has been in the works since 2017, and that the developer has made several revisions at the request of residents. Those changes include eliminating rental units from the development, adding more green space and reducing the height of the proposed building on Melrose by a half-story.
The project would include a dog run, an outdoor grilling area and a playground, and each townhouse would have a two-car garage. There also would be one parking space for each condominium, and a visitor parking lot also is planned.
In addition, each townhouse would have a front yard and a rooftop deck, and about two-thirds of the development would have a permeable surface, including green roofs.
Several commission members expressed concern about the layout of the townhouse complex, which would have two rows of townhouses with their front faades all facing south. As a result, the front lawns for some units would face the garages on the first floor of other units, being separated by a interior driveway that runs through the complex.
"Most people when they go out their front door don’t expect to be (looking at) the back of the neighboring (home)," city planning commissioner Maurice Cox said.
Cox added that the design was "less than ideal to say the least," and he recommended that balconies or bay windows be added to the rear of the buildings to spruce up their appearance.
Project architect Jonathan Splitt said that an "all-asphalt" surface had been planned for the driveway but that pavers would be used to make it more appealing. He added that five species of trees also are planned for that area.
"We will take (Cox’s) comments to heart," Splitt said.