Community meeting tonight re: Emmett Street parking lot

Late notice, but I just received word today.  There will be a community meeting regarding the proposed rezoning of the Emmett Street parking lot at 2630 N. Emmett Street tonight, Thursday, January 7, 2010, 7:00 p.m. at 2706 N. Sawyer Avenue.

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

Why it matters

While I still have not been granted my request to view the zoning application, the rationale for the zoning change proposed back in April 2009 was that it was necessary to make operation of the lot legal under the parking lease deal.

However, in reading the actual parking lease deal, it is not required because zoning is a “Permitted City Encumbrance” (see Rezoning proposed for the Emmett Street parking lot).   If it’s not necessary, why rezone it?

We don’t need more business zoning.  As the commission that undertook to revamp the then 50-year-old zoning ordinance found seven or so years ago, we have too much commercial zoning throughout Chicago.  A look at the vacancies and underutilization of Milwaukee Avenue space, and that of other commercial corridors in the neighborhood, tells the same story.

Business zoning will allow larger, taller, lighted and off-premise signs.

Business zoning now, without any proposed development, makes a future argument for more intensive business zoning easier to make.  If future development is contemplated, I am concerned that Tax Increment Financing funds may be wasted to pay off the parking lease obligations (through the year 2083), rather than used toward more tangible benefit for the economic redevelopment of Milwaukee Avenue.

While currently underused (see series beginning with The 3 P’s of parking [P-1]), the Emmett Street lot is a great asset to the future of a thriving Milwaukee Avenue, an asset not to be compromised with a frivolous zoning change.

Hope you can make tonight’s meeting.

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