East Village Association board meeting minutes, April 14, 2014
Submitted by Catherine Garypie
Fifield project, 1822-50 W. Chicago Ave.
Ald. Proco Joe Moreno stated that the Fifield Cos. can build 39 units as of right, but the new plan is to upzone for 59 units. The Fifield position is: We can do more bedrooms at the higher zoning but we’re not, and we can do a higher floor-area ratio but we’re not. Fifield does not feel it can build a connection to Commercial Park as requested at the last EVA board meeting.
Fifield wants to build a larger building than allowed, so the law requires on-site affordable units on-site or a donation to the Chicago Low-Income Housing Affordable Trust Fund. Fifield wants to make a donation to the fund. The city has determined that legally this donation cannot be a space donation to a nonprofit, as EVA has discussed. Moreno expressed a general concern with developers donating to the fund instead of providing affordable housing, absence extreme circumstances, although he acknowledges it's allowed. Although the city declined to allow a donation to a nonproft, Moreno would like to explore that idea for future projects.
Moreno believes expanding Commercial Park to the Chicago Avenue sidewalk at this location would be a "real big win" and he will dedicate money to park expansion if that happens. He believes about 4 or 5 weeks is needed to see if the Park District can acquire the property. Ronda Locke stated that a meeting with the Trust for Public Land has been scheduled and the Park District has been keeping Locke informed of its progress. Locke is working to get all stakeholders in one room for a meeting. Locke believes 4-6 weeks is needed.
Board members expressed some concerns about the Fifield project to Moreno, including a concern that the donation to the fund appears to be “zoning for sale.” Board members also expressed an interest in the creation of affordable housing in East Village. Moreno advised EVA to balance benefits from a larger project versus Fifield building as of right. He would like to give the park expansion 4-5 weeks. If acquisition isn’t happening, we will need to look at this issue again. If upzoning happens, he advised pursuing Type I zoning.