41st Ward advisory panel to hold March 3 meeting on proposed Starbucks at Harlem & Bryn Mawr
by BRIAN NADIG
The 41st Ward Zoning Advisory Committee at its March 3 virtual meeting will consider a revised proposal for a Starbucks Coffee with a drive-through facility at 5600 N. Harlem Ave.
The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
To view the meeting online, the Zoom ID is 957 4825 9053, and the passcode is 47305856. To join the meeting by phone, call 312-626-6799 and use the same ID and passcode.
In November, the committee appeared ready to vote on the proposal, but some members objected to a revision which called for no indoor dining in order to reduce the traffic impact of the restaurant.
“I see this as nothing more than a Fotomat in a parking lot,” committee member Frank Icuss said at the time. He explained that some residents were looking forward to a place to sit indoors and socialize with neighbors.
The latest proposal calls for a 2,291-square-foot restaurant with drive-up and walk-up windows, an outdoor patio and 22 parking spaces. A site plan shows that curb cuts on Harlem and Bryn Mawr (a one-way street) would be restricted for right turns into and out of the parking lot.
Motorists seeking to head north on Harlem would have no left-turn access to Harlem and would have to drive several blocks out of their way to get to northbound Harlem.
Alderman Anthony Napolitano said that an earlier traffic flow plan for the project called for an exit onto West Olive Avenue, from which motorists could turn left onto northbound Harlem, but that driveway was eliminated from the proposal in order to limit traffic on side streets.
Project officials have said that the location would be ideal for customers traveling south on Harlem toward the Kennedy Expressway and that northbound traffic has convenient access to a nearby Starbucks at Harlem and Northwest Highway.
The committee could vote on the proposal at the March 3 meeting. Its votes serve as a recommendation to Napolitano.
The development team is seeking to have the property rezoned from RS-2 to B3-1.
The parcel is one of three longtime vacant lots on Harlem between Bryn Mawr and Talcott Avenue. Napolitano recently said that he does not plan to entertain new zoning proposals for two of the lots, both of which are located on the east side of Harlem. He argued that the lots should be redeveloped under their RS-1 current zoning, which is intended primarily for single-family homes, given the recent community opposition to a proposed car wash for one of the properties.
“The neighborhood has spoken. Build what it’s zoned for,” Napolitano said, adding that they jury is still out on the parcel on the west side of Harlem where the Starbucks is proposed.