Meeting on 36-unit Jefferson Park proposal abruptly ends after 30 minutes, to be rescheduled
by BRIAN NADIG
A Nov. 5 virtual community meeting on a proposed 36-unit building with 15 parking spaces at Northwest Highway and Carmen Avenue ended abruptly and will be rescheduled.
Residents who live near the site, which is located across from the Jefferson Park Metra Station, began asking questions and objecting to the proposal before project officials could complete their presentation. Those residents who dialed into the Zoom meeting apparently were unmuted and could make verbal comments, while those who were watching the meeting online were unable to unmute themselves.
Alderman Jim Gardiner (45th) was one of those who was muted but eventually was able to interrupt project officials, apologizing to residents for the confusion. He said that a new meeting would be rescheduled so that a full presentation by project officials could be made, followed by audience questions and comments.
After the 30-minute meeting Gardiner said that his office had offered to host the meeting but project officials had told him that they could run it.
The four-story building would be constructed on a 11,749-square vacant parcel at 5071 N. Northwest Hwy., which was rezoned in 2007 to RM-4.5 to accommodate a planned 14-unit building with a 14-space underground parking garage. However, it was never built.
The developer of the current project is seeking additional density allowances and a reduction in parking requirements due to the site’s proximity to the Jefferson Park Metra Station parking lot, 5020 N. Northwest Hwy., and the Jefferson Park CTA Terminal, 4917 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Normally the proposed B2-3 zoning would permit no more than 29 residential units there, but under the city’s transit-oriented development guidelines, the maximum would be 39 apartments.
In addition, normally one parking space per unit is required, but that is waived for TOD sites. No parking would be required for this project.
Several residents expressed parking and traffic concerns about the project, complaining that Carmen is used as a shortcut between Milwaukee Avenue and Elston Avenue and that it also serves as a “thoroughfare” for those traveling to and from Beaubien School, 5025 N. Laramie Ave. Plans call for a driveway on Carmen to access the project’s parking.
Another resident said that he would support the proposal if the living units were condominiums instead of apartments, claiming there would high turnover in tenants.
Project attorney Paul Kolpak said that under the existing zoning up to 16 units would be allowed on the parcel but that the city is looking for higher density levels near transit hubs. He said that the building would cater to young professionals who would take public transportation to work and not have a car.
The rents would be about $900 to $1,000 for studio units, 1,200 to $1,400 for one-bedroom units and $1,750 to $2,000 for two-bedroom units, according to Kolpak.
About a year ago Gardiner presented plans for the project to the boards of the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association and Jefferson Park Forward.
The site is located within a couple of blocks of several approved or proposed development projects, which include 75 units at 5150 N. Northwest Hwy., 48 units at 5342 W. Argyle St., 114 units at 5306 W. Ainslie St. and 192 units at 4930 N. Milwaukee Ave.