September 27, 2008

The Zoning Notification Letter

Thursday’s mail brought a letter dated September 23, 2008 from the attorney for the owner of Broadmoor East*. *After the post, it was learned that Broadmoor East was NOT sold to the same owner as the Broadmoor. It states that on or about September 9, 2008, the owner will file an application with the Zoning Board of Appeals of the City of Chicago for a special use. They want to establish dwelling units below the second floor allowing the conversion from 6 existing retail spaces and 44 to 42 dwelling units. There will be some reconfiguration going on.

Since this letter was to have been sent to everyone within 250 feet of the property –I called with a few questions. The attorney and I had a pleasant enough discussion and a few points were clarified – on both sides.

On the question of what type of construction: condo or apartments and the Section 8 matter – 20% of the units will be available at a lower rate. Of course, I know it’s illegal and discriminatory to refuse to rent to a person with a Section 8 voucher…but I heard it again.

Allegedly, many years ago, Bosworth was zoned commercial and they now seek to change it to residential to conform. It’s referred to as a non-conforming building. According to the attorney, they will retain the commercial spaces on Howard Street. When asked about what types of businesses would they be recruiting – he mentioned DevCorp. Sigh.

This special use will also change the number of dwelling units from 44 to 42 through reconfiguration.

When the gentleman mentioned meeting with the community…the red flags flew with the questions. When and Where? I didn’t see any notices get any email invitations. He said they met a few weeks ago with ’14 or so people in the alderman’s office’. Then he mentioned the zoning committee. Well, sir, that does not constitute a community meeting – as some of those trusted Moore supporters do NOT live North of Howard.

To that, I asked if he knew the REAL history of this area and what was CURRENTLY going on….he claimed he did but I filled him in. Many of us bought here after hearing ‘this was a neighborhood in transition’. Many of us may not have bothered had we known about the 30 year agreement with IDHA for the 12 problem NorthPoint Buildings, that other Moore pal, Johnson, and a few others who do not properly manage rental/subsidized buildings here. I told him if he wants community input, the meeting should be with the real people who live here, not a ‘committee’ that says yes or no as the alderman requires to push or stall or stop development.

Also noted was the recent history as of July , 2008 when the weeds were knee deep and the trash a close second on the parkway. One neighbor claims to have called the ‘new management’ company to complain and was rudely told it was not their responsibility to maintain the parkway. Also brought to the attorney’s attention were the locals and their tourist friends who park there to party, deal drugs and/or prostitute themselves knowing the building is vacant. I told him of the residual trash from used condoms, discarded clothing items, food containers, drink containers, and alcohol containers tossed on the parkway. I mentioned that the parties involved would hear real community concern had there been a real community meeting inclusive of residents who live here and who may pay taxes here.

I don’t recall getting a response on the matter of a resident manager. The attorney tried to assure me that my term ‘mismanagement’ defines a win or lose situation. Well of course it does, that is why NOH doesn’t need any more problem buildings from non-resident owners. If Mr. Luca wants community support – he might begin with gaining our trust and communicating with us instead of just an alderman’s non-resident committee. Because Joe will bring it to us when it's a 'done deal'.

While the Bosworth building has been vacant since before I moved here – rehabbing the space into decent, safe living units would be welcome as long as tenants are properly screened, the building properly managed etc. etc. Other neighbors may share the same concern – but will they be heard?

Will the alderman + 14 insist on certain contingencies or will it be wham, bam, thank you mam like the NorthPoint IDHA 30 year extension was? NorthPoint claimed they needed that 30 year extension to justify another rehab – to the tune of $15 million. Yet they still use one excuse to examine the units – testing for lead paint on the porches. Is this another waste of government time and money? How old are the porches and when was lead paint taken off the market? I asked that question of IDHA again a few weeks ago. “Why wasn’t lead paint and other environmental concerns abated when those buildings were totally vacant for the 2003-05 rehabs? Logic would demand that would be the perfect time to clean up the problem.

The response was another bureaucratic non-response. If you think I am rambling – start connecting the dots. North of Howard is the place to be if you are low income because some of the good people on that committee of 14 don’t want Section 8 in their back yards. When the concerned progressive liberals of Ward 49 start integrating Section 8 in their little neighborhoods, we will direct the drug dealers, prostitutes and dice games to those new points of interest. Then and only then will they get a dose of their own medicine.


Bosworth said...

Thank you for this information Toni, and for responding to the lawyer about our concerns as neighbors. I'm glad you pointed out to him the alderman and his cronies are not the neighborhood and they should not speak for those of us stuck with this living situation!
I must live 251 feet away from the building, I didn't get the letter. But if you will forward the contact information along to me, I will gladly call to let him know there are others on the block that have the same thoughts.
Thanks again.

Michael J. Harrington said...

Amazing. In the wake of his Gale Community Center fiasco, Joe Moore hosted yet another private 49th Ward "community meeting" which was not publicly advertised? Another "community meeting" which failed to include the neighbors most affected by the subject at hand?

This same disrespectful attitude toward public accountability, governmental transparency, and responsiveness to the public is pushing voters towards regime change in Washington, D.C. It will happen here as well.

Toni said...

MJH - No doubt the lawyer and owners were led to believe that those 14 represented me and my he knows otherwise.

Also, I just came back from an errand and the trash in front of Broadmoor East is piling up again. Shards of a broken bottle have been laying next to the building for days. So what are we to think the future management will do to 'enhance' the quality of life NOH?

Prove it by picking up the trash and locking the doors. OH... returning from the beach one day, I noticed the thrift shop door was open...when I went to the Broadmoor, that's when I learned there were two different owners for these buildings.

Last year the management planted flowers in the urns in front of the Broadmoor, this year weeds and empty half pints were the decor.

Thanks CIC and Joe...At least thanks to years of building court at least they have security 24/7.