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Committee named to work out affordable housing compromise

The City Council’s Planning and Development Committee voted tonight name a special subcommittee to hash out a compromise on the Darrow Corners affordable housing project.

The subcommittee, composed of four aldermen and three backers and three opponents of the project, will meet for the first time on Monday. It was directed to come up with a revised plan to present to the committee by May 22.

The City Council’s Planning and Development Committee voted tonight name a special subcommittee to hash out a compromise on the Darrow Corners affordable housing project.

The subcommittee, composed of four aldermen and three backers and three opponents of the project, will meet for the first time on Monday. It was directed to come up with a revised plan to present to the committee by May 22.

The project proposal from the Housing Opportunity Development Corp. calls for building 27 rent-to-own affordable housing units in a four-story building on the northwest corner of Church Street and Darrow Avenue.

Aldermen Bernstein, Hansen, Rainey and Tisdahl said they were not willing to vote for the project in its current form. Aldermen Holmes, Jean-Baptiste, Moran and Wollin voiced support for the existing plan. Alderman Wynne was absent from the meeting.

Opponents have said they believe the project should provide immediate opportunities for home ownership. They’ve also objected to the lack of ground-floor retail space and voiced concerns about further concentrating low income residents in the area.

Supporters say the project will provided much-needed housing for working professionals in the community including teachers and police officers.

In other development activity, the full City Council:

  • Gave final approval to the Church Street Village planned development of 40 townhomes at the former Hines lumberyard at 1613 Church St. The property will be rezoned R4 residential from its current industrial zoning.
  • Gave preliminary approval to a planned four-story, 13-unit condominium development at 2607-2617 Prairie Ave., just north of the Prairie Joe’s restaurant building at the corner of Prairie and Central Street.
  • Gave preliminary approval to a redevelopment agreement that will provide property tax rebates to Bristol Chicago LLC, the developer of a planned 17-story rental apartment project project at 415 Howard St.
  • Established a 120-day moratorium on the issuance of building permits for new construction in the west side Tax Increment Financing district and industrial areas immediately north of the district boundary. The moratorium is designed to provide time to develop revised zoning for the area that has finally started to draw interest from developers.
  • Adopted amendments to an ordinance that adds a $10,000 fee to demolition permits with the revenue to be used for affordable housing. The revision eliminates an exemption for replacement homes selling for less than $500,000 to avoid a possible legal challenge to the ordinance on equal protection grounds.

The Planning and Development Committee postponed discussion of an inclusionary housing ordinance until its next meeting.

Background
Darrow debate: Who’s a stakeholder?
Plan Commission gives thumbs down to Darrow Corners

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