Alderman Gardiner seeks to downzone vacant Long-Argyle lot in Jefferson Park, where planned 48-unit project hasn’t been built
by BRIAN NADIG
Alderman James Gardiner (45th) has proposed downzoning a 28,125-square-foot vacant parcel at 5342-52 W. Argyle St. that recently went up for sale.
The site was rezoned in 2016 for a 4-story, 48-unit apartment complex which has not been built. The parcel, which was once used to store Cowhey Materials and Fuel Co. cement-mixing trucks, is located across from the Jefferson Park Metra Station parking lot at 5020 N. Northwest Hwy.
At a community meeting about 6 years ago, the developer threatened that the property would remain vacant if he didn’t get the required RM-5 zoning to build his apartment complex. About 15 years ago single-family homes were planned for the site, but that project also was not built.
The site’s RM-5 zoning was approved as a “Type 1” zoning amendment, meaning that a zoning change would be required if a new owner wanted to build anything other than the 48 apartments, which would have to be split into two 24-unit buildings, as specified in the amendment.
Gardiner is seeking to have the property rezoned to its previous RS-3, which primarily is intended for single-family homes and two-flats. He introduced the downzoning ordinance at the City Council’s Sept. 14 meeting.
The Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association had requested a meeting with Gardiner discuss the downzoning, and he and the association’s board met a few weeks ago. To the north and east of the development site, the neighborhood consists predominantly of houses and two and three-flats, while larger apartment and condominium buildings are located to the west along Northwest Highway.
Another former Cowhey parcel, located at 4849 N. Lipps Ave., was rezoned for the Mega Group in 2017 for a 16-story, 114-unit building with a 200-space parking garage, but it has not been constructed. The parcel has been used as a makeshift parking lot for years.