Virtual meeting on condo proposal for Elston cut short; Alderman Gardiner to announce plans for in-person community meeting
by BRIAN NADIG
A July 12 virtual meeting on a proposed 18-unit condominium development at 5850 N. Elston Ave. was cut short due to technical difficulties, prompting Alderman James Gardiner (45th) to announce that he will instead host “in the very near future” an in-person community meeting on the proposal.
Plans call for three three-story buildings, each with six condominiums, to be constructed on the former site of the Elston Avenue United Methodist Church.
The 38 ½-foot height of the proposed buildings would be about 3 ½ feet shorter than the peak of the church, which would be demolished under the proposal, according to Gardiner.
The proposed buildings, which would not have an elevator, would include balconies, and the first-floor units would have basements. The smallest units would have three bedrooms, with additional bedroom space for the duplexes.
In addition, a planned outdoor space along Marmora Avenue would consist of six trees, seasonal plants and pavers, according to the developer, Hudson Construction Services.
Before the meeting ended, some residents expressed concern that the development would worsen the area’s parking congestion. Twenty-four parking spaces, which would be six more than required under the zoning ordinance, are planned for the project.
One resident said that “this development is going to bring 50 cars” to the neighborhood, while another said that “there isn’t parking on (Marmora) now.”
Gardiner responded that residents could consider permit parking for their blocks if parking is a problem.
Another resident expressed concern that the city’s affordable housing (reduced-rent) requirements would kick in if any of the condominium owners were to lease out their units.
Project attorney Nicholas Ftikas said that the project is being designed and financed as a “for-sale condominium” development and that any possible leasing of the units by a future owner would not trigger the affordable ordinance.
The Gladstone Park Neighborhood Association has asked that an owner-occupied requirement be included in the condominium association bylaws.
“The alderman met with the GPNA board, which was generally supportive of a new owner-occupied condominium development,” GPNA president Joe DiCiaula said last week.
An earlier proposal for the site called for three four-story eight-flats, which Gardiner last spring called “a little aggressive” for the neighborhood. The four-story buildings would have been about 45 feet in height, Gardiner said.
The site is next to the Catholic Kolping Society, 5826 N. Elston Ave., which reportedly uses the church parking lot. The fraternal organization’s property is not part of the proposal.
Gardiner said that the community meeting will be held at the Kolping center and that he will announce a date for the meeting in the coming days. “No decision (on the proposal) will be made prior to the in-person meeting,” Gardiner said.
A zoning change would be required for the project, as the site’s existing RS-3 classification is intended primarily for single-family homes and two-flats. The proposed B2-2 zoning would allow up to 24 residential units on the 24,000-square-foot parcel, but the number of units could be limited to 18 if the proposal is approved as a Type 1 zoning amendment.
The Elston Avenue church has merged with the Central United Methodist Church in Skokie.