Wicker Park & Bucktown Chamber on Division/Ashland development

August 29, 2011

The WPBCC reiterates our support as outlined in the attached letter from 2007. We continue to support a medium-to-high density, transit-oriented development at this location and welcome the opportunity to comment on a specific proposal, when one comes before the community for consideration. I thank you for reaching out to the Chamber for our input. I am also copying Alderman Moreno to reiterate our support of an appropriate TOD at this site.

Adam Burck, Executive Director, Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce

WPB on Division/Ashland Development


August 22, 2011

Dear Alderman Moreno:

This letter is to request the opportunity to review in detail the proposal currently being considered for the Pizza Hut property at the intersection of Division and Ashland streets. Very little is known about this proposal. The Pizza Hut property is a key component for achieving a long term vision for the Polish Triangle area and for the greater Wicker Park Bucktown neighborhood(s) in general. This request is being made on behalf of the Guide Development Committee of the Wicker Park Bucktown SSA#33.

West Town Chamber on Division/Ashland development

August 12, 2011

The Commercial Development Committee and Board of Directors of the West Town Chicago Chamber of Commerce are very concerned about the future re-development of the south-west corner of Division and Ashland Avenues. The WTCCC is concerned not only with the potential development of a one story stand alone structure at that location, but also with the many other prime commercial corners in West Town being developed in the same manner with generic structures, chain stores, and satellite banks. The former Pizza Hut site on Division and Ashland is a prime example of a site that could be re-developed with more thought for the surrounding architecture and for the current and future needs of the community.

Ashland to close Saturday for food-truck fair


The Southern Mac & Cheese Truck (via Chicagoist

Ashland Avenue will close to auto traffic Saturday afternoon and evening between Chicago and Huron (700-800 N. Ashland) for the Food Truck Social 2011 event, according to the organizing West Town Chamber of Commerce.

A dozen food trucks will park on private property at 700-710 N, Ashland but Ashland will close for a street fair with beer and wine vendors, exhibitors and a music stage. Traffic will detour from Chicago to Huron till 2 a.m. Sunday, and Superior will close just west of Ashland for a staging area. Huron will stay open. The city will enforce a marked tow zone along Ashland and Superior.

Commercial Park picnic raises cash for East Village markers


Commercial Park, 1845 W. Rice, hosted the annual East Village summer social event.

August 8, 2011 board minutes submitted by Dana Palmer

Annual BBQ follow-up
Picnic raised more than $350 for new East Village signs. KK Goh will e-mail Greg Nagel the attendance list and Nagel will email those who attended to invite them to attend an EVA meeting. Dana Palmer will send thank-you letters to all businesses who donated for the raffle: Wicker Park Fitness, Tres Biene Nail Salon, The Boundary, Greenheart, Moonshine, Black Dog and Super Dog Walking. A thank you also will be sent to the Commercial Park Advisory Council for allowing EVA to reserve the park for the occasion.

Near North Montessori on Division/Ashland development

August 15, 2011

Dear Alderman Moreno:

We understand that the former Pizza Hut property at the corner of Ashland and Division has been purchased and plans are being prepared by the developer. We concur with others in the area including EVA and WPA that this property is a significant site for the Division Street-Milwaukee Avenue-Polish Triangle community. We hope that you will encourage the developers to design a space that is in keeping with the EVA suggestions for this area. Since the building represents a significant presence on this site, it should be of similar height, mass and quality of the landmark bank to the north, and with the bank, form an appropriate gateway to the vibrant communities to the west of the Polish Triangle.

Moreno, EVA to meet on Division/Ashland development


East Village Association representatives will meet Monday with Ald. Proco Joe Moreno and the developers of 1601 W. Division.

The discussion may range beyond the fate of the former Pizza Hut property. In a telephone call Aug. 2 with EVA president Greg Nagel, Ald. Moreno contested the group's review process and noted that the alderman doesn't necessarily need to work with EVA on zoning issues.

The alderman is correct. Community groups in Chicago have no official standing on development issues. The local alderman has wide discretion in reviewing zoning changes in his or her ward. The City Council generally defers to the alderman's opinion, but the Council approves all zoning changes.

Marjorie Isaacson on Division/Ashland development

August 5, 2011

Dear Alderman Moreno:

I am writing in regard to the redevelopment of the former Pizza Hut site, at Division Street and Ashland Avenue. This six-corner intersection is an important gateway to our community, and also has the highly valuable attribute of being a transit hub.

Real estate development at this site can either enhance these assets or simply take advantage of the site without contributing to, or even undermining, other uses and qualities of this locale. Automobile-centric developments are a prime example of the latter phenomena. The convenience of drive-ins and parking lots for a few adds congestion, reduces air quality and imposes restrictions on transit users and pedestrians.

Carol Mrwoka on Division/Ashland development

Alderman Joe,

I understand there may be a plan to allow a drive-in bank at the old Pizza Hut site on Division and Ashland.

As you are fully aware I don't generally have an issue about property rights. People should be allowed to do with their property (within the law and zoning restrictions) whatever their intentions are. However, when safety as well as congestion becomes an issue I believe we need to re-think our plans.

Is it a done deal yet? Your views on Division/Ashland




We've been posting letters at eastvillagechicago.org on plans for a drive-through bank on the former Pizza Hut lot at Division and Ashland.  There are more to come. 

On the website you also can read four years of posts on the community's concerns at that corner (here's just one statement from 2007), and EVA's 1st Ward briefing paper to bring Ald. Proco Joe Moreno up to speed last year.

Neighbors also are leaving their own comments, not only on this week's EVA statement on Division/Ashland development but also on our Facebook page and on the OhSoWe site. We'd like to hear from you too. More important, so should the alderman

Calendar: Is it school yet?



Chicago schoolchildren return to the classroom Sept. 6, the day after Labor Day, so it's time to get ready. Children get free immunizations Aug. 19 at Windy City Fieldhouse (next to Target) and free physicals Aug. 20 at St. Mary's campus of Resurrection Health Care.

More from this month's calendar:

Pulaski Park Neighborhood Association on Division/Ashland development

August 3, 2011

Dear Ald. Moreno:

On behalf of the Pulaski Park Neighborhood Association, we understand that the lot has been sold on the SE corner of Ashland and Division, and that there are plans for development. Although it is on the opposite corner of our boundaries, we do have vested interest in the portal to the Division Street business district and the impact that has on the Polish Triangle and the northern part of Wicker Park that includes Pulaski Park Neighborhood Association.

Danaher Design Studio on Division/Ashland development

August 1, 2011

Dear Alderman Moreno:

It has come to our attention that the Pizza Hut site at the corner of Ashland and Division is under consideration for development. This is a corner we are very familiar with having walked our daughter to school by it for years and because we frequent the Division stop on the Blue Line. This site has always been and still is regrettably the least favorite part of our walk.

Center for Neighborhood Technology on Division/Ashland development

July 25, 2011

Dear Alderman Moreno:

I am writing in regard to the potential real estate development at the intersection o Division Street and Ashland and Milwaukee Avenues. This location is already a public transportation hub due to the convergence of bus traffic and the Blue Line el. THe closing of the Pizza Hut on that site presents a rare opportunity to build on these assets. We urge you to consider the many benefits of transit-oriented deelopment (TOD) when you evaluate any new building proposal at this prominent corner.

Studio Gang Architects on Division/Ashland development


July 20, 2011

Dear Alderman Moreno:

I am an architect and urban designer with a practice, Studio Gang Architects, located in Wicker Park at Ashland and Division. Our office has called this address in the First Ward home since 2002; we now have 40 employees, the large majority of whom walk, bike or take the CTA to work each day. Proximity to the transport system was a major reason we chose to locate our practice here, as well as the diversity and dynamism of this area, which connects strongly to the energy and culture we try to foster among our team.

Local First Chicago on Division/Ashland development

July 25, 2011

Dear Alderman Moreno:

Local First Chicago is a network of locally owned, independent businesses and community organizations joined together to keep jobs, money and character in the neighborhoods of the Chicagoland area. As part of our support for locally owned businesses, we advocate for development that encourages economically and environmentally sustainable neighborhoods.

Wicker Park Committee on Division/Ashland development

July 20, 2011

Dear Alderman Moreno:

With the redevelopment of the now-vacant southwest corner of Ashland and Division seemingly imminent, it is urgent that the opinions of impacted community groups are recognized by your office. The Ashland/Division intersection is the gateway to a vibrant retail and entertainment scene on Division Street along the southern boundary of the Wicker Park Committee. Likewise the property fronts on the Polish Triangle, which has been the ongoing focus of revitalization efforts. This parcel is such a prominent, influential site that its development deserves especially thoughtful design considerations.

EVA statement on development of former Pizza Hut site at Division and Ashland


1601 W. Division

The East Village Association board of directors has released this statement on development of the former Pizza Hut property at 1601 W. Division. The statement takes the form of a letter to 1st Ward Ald. Proco Joe Moreno, who has asked EVA to review plans for a PNC Bank building at the site.

Dear Alderman Moreno:

The East Village Association has considered Mr. Robert Buono and Mr. Paul Yutigard's proposed development scheme for 1601 W. Division. We have found it to be in opposition to our policies for the site and have therefore declined their request to present it to our general membership.

As you are aware, since 2007 the East Village Association has advocated that any development at 1601 West Division address the following four points:

1. Significant Presence - the building should approach the height, mass and quality of the landmark bank to the north, and with the bank, form an appropriate gateway to the vibrant communities to the west of the Polish Triangle.

2. Maximize Density - the building should maximize the current zoning potential of the lot, and ideally seek additional FAR [floor-area ratio], to fully exploit its proximity to multiple modes of public transit, and the densely populated surrounding community.

3. Mixed Use - the development should provide a mix of residential, retail and business tenants that serve the needs of the surrounding local population.

4. Pedestrian and Transit Oriented - the development should seek to attract customers on foot, bicycle and via mass transit traffic, rather than by automobile. Drive-thrus and other automobile-focused uses will increase traffic congestion and reduce pedestrian safety and comfort.

Representatives of the East Village Planning, Preservation & Development Committee have met with Mr. Buono and Mr. Yutigard on two occasions to discuss their proposed development in depth. The current scheme, which is two stories tall, fails to maximize the zoning potential of the lot, accommodates only commercial uses and incorporates a drive-thru banking facility. As such it is un-responsive to any of the concerns EVA has expressed regarding the site.

Under our development review protocols, EVA's president decides how such issues are handled. Upon receiving the PP&D Committee's report regarding the meetings with the developer, Mr. Nagel referred the question of how to proceed to the board of directors.

After discussing the proposed scheme at great length, the board of directors unanimously decided no further action was required on the matter. The reasons for this decision include:

1. The proposal does not meet any of the four established principals EVA has put forth for development on the site.

2. Mr. Buono did not follow through with his commitment to present a scheme without a drive-thru (a scheme he apparently shared with you). This creates a false choice between an unresponsive scheme and "nothing."

3. Despite our repeated inquiries as to what specifically we are being requested to approve, Mr. Buono insists that he can do what he is proposing as-of-right, and that nothing is needed from the community.

Our decision not to allow Mr. Buono and Mr. Yutigard to present their scheme is consistent with our handling of other unresponsive development schemes on this site, three of which we have seen and/or discussed in recent months; none of those were forwarded to the membership for consideration either. There is simply no reason to entertain proposals which are diametrically opposed to the vision that our organization and its membership have for this site.

Respectfully,

Greg Nagel, President
Neal McKnight, Vice President
Kok Keng Goh, Treasurer
Dana Palmer, Secretary
Scott Rappe, Director
Aaron Bilton, Director
Tom Tomek, Director
Stephen Rynkewicz, Director

Calendar: Near and (mostly) far

The East Village Association board meets at 6:30pm Monday at Leona's, 1936 W. Augusta. Stop by and tell the webmaster whether this list really needs to include a Roscoe Village street festival or other events miles from East Village.

Saturday, Aug. 6
Retro on Roscoe, noon-10 through Sunday, Roscoe & Hoyne. Retro Kids Fest (noon-6), antique car show, typical street-fair fare. Mighty Blue Kings tops music schedule. retroonroscoe.com

Sunday, Aug. 7
ReBuilding Exchange Antique & Flea Market, 10am-4pm, 2160 N. Ashland. Mid-Century modern furniture, lighting, clothes, bikes. rebuildingexchange.org

Tuesday, Aug. 9
Finding Balance in Your Budget, 6pm, West Town Branch Library, 1625 W. Chicago. Basics of budgeting, credit and debt. chicagopubliclibrary.org

Wednesday, Aug. 10
SummerDance in the Parks, Humboldt Park Boat House, 1359 N. Sacramento. Free live music with Salsa and Cha-Cha dance lessons by Miguel Mendez.

Thursday, Aug. 11
Eyes Manouche, 7pm, Jackson Junge Gallery, 1389 N. Milwaukee. Gypsy jazz benefit for 1st Ward Back to School Health Fair, scheduled for Aug. 19 at Windy City Fieldhouse (2367 W. Logan Blvd. next to Target). j2gallery.com

Friday, Aug. 12
Built Festival, 5-10:30pm, noon-10:30pm Saturday, 1767 N. Milwaukee. Shipping containers converted to art and performance spaces. builtforart.com