Rezoning proposed for the Emmett Street parking lot

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Monthly parking passes return at the Emmett Street lot]

I ran across this public notice for the proposed rezoning of the Emmett Street parking lot from a residential to a business district.  The notice had apparently been torn from its posting (perhaps in the snow and wind last week) and was laying on the ground outside the parking lot fence along Emmett Street. 

It’s odd, though, that this is even being proposed.  Rezoning of the city-owned lot was opposed by the 35th Ward Zoning Advisory Committee when it considered it in April 2009. 

I haven’t seen this actual zoning application yet, but, back in April, the rationale given was that this was required to make operation of the parking meter lease deal legal. 

In reading the parking meter lease deal ordinance, though, that rationale doesn’t stand up.  The agreement states that Chicago Parking Meters, LLC (CPM, LLC) gives the City of Chicago cash, and, in exchange, the City of Chicago grants it the rights to manage the parking system and assigns its parking meter assets “…free and clear of any Encumbrances (other than Permitted City Encumbrances)…” (emphasis added).  The meaning of Permitted City Encumbrance is explicit and includes “…any zoning, building, environmental, health or safety Law relating to the development, use or operation of the Metered Parking System….”  So, as I read the ordinance, there is no need for rezoning as zoning is a permitted encumbrance. 

Zoning of the Emmett Street Parking Lot
in Logan Square – December 2009

The requested rezoning, then, raises a red flag, especially since, according to the Chicago Zoning Ordinance, the first consideration of a proposed rezoning is:

17-13-0308-A   whether the proposed rezoning is consistent with any plans for the area that have been adopted by the Plan Commission or approved by the City Council….

Plans for the Emmett Street parking lot are for CPM, LLC, to manage it as a parking lot for the next 74! years.  Zoning is a permitted encumbrance to CPM, LLC’s management of the lot.  No need to alter it.

Winter diversions elsewhere:

The partly Logan Square based Grilly Brothers CD Release Party (Goin’ Places recorded at Logan Square’s Orchestra Hall Recording Studio):  Tuesday, December 22 at 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. at Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Ct.; call 312-670-2473 for tickets & reservations.


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