Zoning Committee Review Recommendation for 19 N. May and 37 S. Sangamon

* A copy of the PDF version is available here

January 15, 2019

Alderman Daniel Solis
25th Ward of the City of Chicago
City Hall
121 North LaSalle Street
Room 304
Chicago, Illinois 60602

Re: City of Chicago Committee on Zoning Landmark & Building Standards review of proposed developments at 19 North May and 37 South Sangamon

Alderman Solis,

On January 8, 2019, the Development Committee of the West Loop Community Organization (WLCO) reviewed the following proposed developments:

19 North May: A rezoning of the subject property from Residential Planned Development Number 1357 to Residential Planned Development Number 1357 as amended to modify the building plans for the portion of the property located at 19 North May to allow for an 18-story residential building containing 73 residential dwelling units and 78 parking spaces.

37 South Sangamon: A rezoning of the subject property from the DX-5 Downtown Mixed-Use District to a Residential Planned Development to permit the construction of a 24-story building with 193 residential dwelling units. The total project floor area ratio (FAR) will be 8.1 and 156 accessory parking spaces will be provided.

At the request of your office, we scheduled the following community meetings for each of the proposals: January 24 for the proposed development at 19 North May Street and January 28 for the proposed development at 37 South Sangamon Street.

The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) specifies in the West Loop Design Guidelines (page 12) the importance of the community input process following Community Group meetings. DPD states:

“Throughout the Design Review Process, community feedback is encouraged and essential to successful projects. Community feedback is stronger when it is consistent with the City Zoning Code and with the West Loop Design Guidelines. In addition, providing comments in writing and quantifying how many of your neighbors share your idea is encouraged.”

According to the January 17, 2019 Meeting of the Committee on Zoning Landmark & Building Standards agenda (page 9) timestamped by the Office of the City Clerk on January 14, the aforementioned proposals are slated for iminent review. We believe that it is inappropriate to have the proposed developments at 19 North May Street and 37 South Sangamon Street presented to the Zoning Committee before the affected community has had an opportunity to present their feedback.

Additionally, as is typical with proposed developments in the West Loop that require zoning change approval, the Aldermen request that the developers meet with local Community Groups to review proposed developments before making a formal presentation to the community. This crucial step allows volunteer members of Community Groups to ask questions, make suggestions, present feedback, and request additional information. Developers often meet with Community Groups several times as a development matures. In both cases — and in the event of Zoning Committee approval — the following points of Community Group feedback will not have an opportunity to be further explored, developed and/or defined:

Compliance with Affordable Housing Ordinance, including providing one or more affordable units on site
Undefined unit mixtures
Review of Traffic and Shade studies
Addition of Green Space
Impact of additional curb cuts on pedestrian, vehicular and bicycle safety
Commitment for community benefit
Impact of construction phasing on surrounding buildings

We recommend that the two proposed developments slated for review be postponed until the Community Group review and community input process is completed.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions regarding our recommendation.

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