Tuesday, June 9, 2015

lack of transparency on 95th Street

I was concerned and disturbed to learn about the nature of a proposed zoning change and redevelopment proposal for the parcel immediately west of 95th St. Metra station. Another 19th ward resident wrote an insightful piece about why such a proposal makes no sense for a transit-adjacent parcel, where we should be prioritizing pedestrian-oriented usage.

1800 W 95th St.
The lack of public notice for this proposal is equally disturbing. Sticking a sign in a window at a location that few people walk past is NOT sufficient public notice. There's nothing at that location now to give people a reason to walk there and see that notice.

This is a significant change for a location that has the potential to attract a good volume of business from Metra riders - if it's the right business. A well-publicized venue for public input should be mandatory for such a major change. Why haven't the ward office and community organizations publicized this so that 19th ward residents and Metra passengers could have a voice in the decision? Hiding this until it's only one approval short of having a green light smells worse than last week's garbage.

95th St. is already choked with traffic for much of an average day. There are many existing auto parts stores within a few miles of this proposed location, including Auto Zone stores at 89th andAshland and 95th and Richmond and O'Reilly at Western and 92nd Place (less than 1 mile away). As much as I want to see more businesses on 95th St., this one is NOT a winner for the community as a whole.

Comments on this topic on EveryBlock have certainly been relevant:

* Yes, let's tear down a beautiful old building and put up an ugly box that will sit there empty after the store goes out of business like the auto parts store at 115th and Pulaski. How about using our brains and encourage a business that would cater to train "traffic". Put the box in the huge parking lot at the former location of Borders. Or do what some communities do...require that the new business conform to the architecture of the existing building and find businesses to create a boutique mall in the borders building. Jeez, is it that hard?

* When is the public hearing for this zoning change? There wasn't any proper meeting for those of us who will be affected.

* I just called the zoning department - looks like they approved this zone change already. I hope there will be some sort of opportunity for the community to review the design and voice opinions. Does anyone know what the next step for this proposal will be? Have they already purchased the existing building?

* Because of their design, most Borders are being repurposed into medical practices. Not in Beverly. The old library was supposed to become a Wishbone restaurant, more pizza place opened but not Wishbone? Now an Autozone to compete with O'reilly a few blocks away. We seem to have great people in place for urban planning and development! What about all the money spent in updating 95th street? Was it just to give contracts to some friends or was it actually to improve the business area? If so, Autozone doesn't need beautiful landscaping, never mind the traffic issues. somebody is not thinking very far here, while using our tax money. How about the mechanic shop down the street on 95th, are they trying to put them out of business? People walk to go to Metra, how about shops that cater to these people? When I get off the train, I'm not usually trying to bring home a couple of new tires and a new battery for my car in my purse. I love small squares and park, Beverly has those, in places that nobody wants to go to, and nothing around it. Anyone fancy reading a good book by busy 95th street, on the other side of the library parking lot? While I applaud green spaces, we can do better than that. More tax payer money spent in vain. How about the pedestrian crossing by 99th street Metra? On the wrong side of the street?!!!

Excuse my ranting, but I could go on as well as many of you. The problem is that you can't leave urban development to developers, they are just going to build stuff, make a buck and move on. ... If there is a petition going around against Autozone, count me in, I'll sign it.

* All good points. Why is everything decided in stealth mode? We need to remind our representatives that the represent us. They do not rule us.

Now we have a detailed EveryBlock post with research. Click here. And this is what it takes to appeal a zoning change.

Why didn't Alderman O'Shea give a reasonable opportunity for public input? Will there be curb cuts added to make 95th St. an even worse place for pedestrians? We don't want Beverly to look or feel like Evergreen Park. This kind of inappropriate change gives us a hard shove in that direction and makes Beverly less attractive as a place to live.

1 comment:

Concerned said...

Well said!

Where is the BIA on this issue?
Where is BAPA?
Aren't they supposed to keep us informed?

This seems so hush, hush....

And clearly not good for our business district.