The 12 page agenda at this month’s Zoning Board of Appeals meeting was a sign of things to come. The agendas for the August and September meetings are full, and most deferred items from yesterday’s meetings had to be rescheduled for October.

Start Time: 9:21 a.m.
Board members present: Chairman Jonathan Swain, Sam Toia, Sheila O’Grady
Aldermen present: Ariel Reboyras (30), Ald. Brian Hopkins (2)

Nearly 50 people gathered to testify against Michael Verdone’s application to renew licenses for three vacation rental units at 55 E. Cedar Street. The property got initial ZBA approval in 2011. Nick Ftikas, from the Law Office of Sam Banks, told the Chair his client would withdraw all three applications. And the most heated item of the day, a proposed three story addition to a house in the 32nd Ward, ended up being the last item discussed. It took over an hour of debate between applicants, the neighbors and their attorneys (Item 233-15-Z).

Highlights

Item 262-15-S – 3rd Ward – The applicant, Baderbrau, LLC, is applying for a special permit to open a tavern with a special tap room on 2515 S. Wabash Ave., near McCormick Place. In order to apply for a special use permit, the owners need to prove hardship. The applicants say the space can’t be used for anything else, and want to brew on site,

Item 270-15-S – 27th Ward – The Intercultural Montessori Foreign Language Immersion School at 114 S. Racine Avenue applied for a special use permit to expand the school to the second and third floors of their current building. The goal is to triple the student body from 200 to 600 kids, says attorney Carol Stubblefieldwith Neal & Leroy. Stubblefield said the school got its first permit to open the school from ZBA in 2009, but the permit only applies to the ground floor. Steve Kelly, the expert witness, said the school held a community meeting for the initial expansion, but they have yet to talk to residents about the pending application.

Items 272-, 273-, 274-, 275-15-Z- 48th Ward – These four applications are for two addresses and were grouped together because they were filed by the same applicant, 1300 W. Devon Partners, LLC. The applicants asked for two rear setback expansions and a reduced accessory parking requirement. They want to build a three-story, six unit building with a commercial component at the base and 5 surface parking spaces. Mariah Digrino, and attorney with DLA Piper, testified on behalf of Matt Ferrino, the property owner, who is affiliated with 3 Corners Development. The two properties in question–6355 North Wayne Ave. and 6354 North Lakewood Ave.–are corner lots and have been vacant for the past 30 years, says Patrick Thomson, the architect. Dan Luna, chief of staff to Ald. Harry Osterman, testified in support of the applicant.

283-15-S & 8-15-Z – 36th Ward – Jorge Marban applied for a special use permit to build an indoor soccer field on 6310 W. Grand Ave. His other application is a request to build accessory parking for the gym on a neighboring vacant lot (6260 West Grand Ave.) Attorney Mark Kupiec, with Mark J. Kupiec & Associates, testified on behalf of the applicant. He said a similar application had been filed by the building’s former owner and Marban wishes to see it though. The applicant’s son, Angel Marban, testified on his father’s behalf. He told the Board his dad bought the lease from the prior owner who had operated a soccer field at the location under the name Club Concord. The appraiser was late so Kupiec requested a recess. When it was brought up later, Read Carnihan, with La Salle Appraiser Group, said the accessory parking won’t have an adverse impact on the neighborhood because it is a vacant lot that people are already parking their cars on.

243-15-Z – 27th Ward – After some confusion over ownership, attorney Sylvia Mikasof Chico and Nunes introduced an application asking for a variation reducing the rear setback at the former site of St. Dominick’s at 367 W. Locust St. The Chicago Roman Catholic Archdiocese and Josephine Lucas are the owners. The applicant, Locust Sedgwick, LLC is in the process of redeveloping the church to a 6-story residential building with 45 units and parking for 52 cars on site. David Ruttenberg, with residential developer Belgravia, testified that the alderman and community groups are in support.

15-15-S – 37th Ward – The applicant, S. Bar Sinister, LLC wants to expand an existing recycling facility on 1238-1300 N. Kostner Ave. The applicant’s attorney, Scott R. Borstein, with the law firm Neal & Leroy, said this would be the owner’s third expansion since ZBA granted the company its first special use permit in 2009. Owner Joel Fink said the expansion would add more jobs and wouldn’t impact property values because the area is already zoned for manufacturing. When asked if the expansion was necessary for the public convenience, Fink said facilities like this help the city because they get abandoned cars off the street by taking parts, selling them, and having the cars crushed off site, though he later interrupted Board proceedings to clarify that some cars are crushed on site.

Some Continued Items:
Items 263-, 264-, 265-, and 266-15-S – The applicant, HSC Realty, LLC is asking for special use to turn an RM 5.5 zoned, 4-story, 4-unit building into 4 vacation rental units at 1308 N. Lasalle St. Ald. Brian Hopkins (2) requested a continuance citing a need for additional community input. Chicago’s vacation rental substitute ordinancerequires a $500 license per unit, and any units zoned above an RT 4 need special use approval. The issue will be brought up again at the October 16 meeting.

Item 242-15-A – Alderman Leslie Hairston requested a continuance on an application to appeal a Zoning Administrator’s decision to refuse an addition to a three-story fraternity house. The applicant, House Corporation, Board of Directors, Chi Upsilon Alumni, wanted to add a rear enclosed porch and a two-story rear addition. It will also be re-examined at the October 16 ZBA meeting.

Item 271-15-S – A quorum issue delayed a hearing for the Cermak Group’s special use application to establish a one-story restaurant with a drive through lane at 1300-16 W. Cermak. Board member Sam Toia, president of the Illinois Restaurant Association, regularly recuses himself from applications involving restaurants, and without Toia, the Board does not have a quorum. Since the reschedule is due to the Board, Chairman Swain said the issue will be squeezed into the August 21st ZBA meeting. Item 255-15-Z, from applicant V75 Unlimited, will be similarly rescheduled because of Toia’s recusal. Owner Charles Taylor wants to establish a “public place of amusement” at 125-127 W. 75th Street in the 6th ward. The base use will be a restaurant.

Item 269-15-S – 14th Ward – The application was for a special use permit to establish a day labor employment agency, but Chairman Swain continued the application to October 16th because the applicant didn’t have an expert witness to testify on her behalf.

Item 239-15-Z – 2nd Ward – The Applicant’s lawyer began testifying, but Chairman Swain cut him off and asked where his client was. He said due to the unfortunate delay, he had to leave the chambers and head to New York. The application filed by 755 N. Wells, LLC c/o Jenel Management Corporation was the fourth item on the agenda, but it was called for a hearing around 2:30pm. Chairman Swain apologized and gave them an earlier continuance date, despite having continued pervious items to October.

370-14-S – 40th Ward –  Tom Livaditis, the owner of Pathways in Education Illinois, applied for a special use permit to build a new high school on 4816 North Western Ave. Nick Ftikas, with the Law Office of Sam Banks, told the Board that Ald. Pat O’Connor and the applicant have requested another continuance on the matter because they are still “working on community issues and the special use required for the off-site parking.” Ftikas asked for a “long continuance”. Chair Swain moved it to December 18th and warned Ftikas that if both parties are not ready by then, he will dismiss the case.

174-15-S -11th Ward – Nick Ftikas says the applicant, Paradise Nail Corporation, is requesting a continuance because they need additional meetings with the alderman. “We have been trying to schedule a meeting with the alderman and we’ve been having a little difficulty scheduling this so that we could have a neighborhood meeting,” another representative for the applicant said (he didn’t give his name). It was continued to October.

133- 134- 15-Z – 46th Ward – Nick Fitikas says Ald. James Cappleman (46) asked for a continuation of both applications filed by Troy Leight for a property he owns on 743 W. Bittersweet Place to reduce the rear setback and expand the existing floor area by no more than 15% to build a three-story, rear addition to an existing three-story building. Each floor of the proposed building would have its own rear porch. The applications were rescheduled to October.