The Jefferson Park Free Press

www.jeffersonparkfreepress.com

March 7, 2011(First issue since Aug., 2010)

Volume VI                                             News and Commentary                                                     Issue I

by Robert Bank

 

Second Bite at the Apple for Veteran’s Square Proposed 7-Story Garage

 “With B3-5 Zoned Planned Development (PD); “The Sky’s the Limit !”

After the original 7-story, 299 car garage plan was rejected by the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association (JPNA), the Jefferson Park Chamber of Commerce board has scheduled another unveiling of a “revised” plan to JPNA board members at the Copernicus Center later this week. The meeting is a review to see if the plan is ready to bring to the public at large.

 


A little known loop-hole in the zoning ordinance allows for unlimited height for any building with a designated zoning of B3-5, as long as it is a Planned Development (PD).

 


 A little known loop-hole in the zoning ordinance allows for unlimited height for any building with a designated zoning of B3-5, as long as it is a Planned Development (PD).

B3-5 is the proposed zoning change developer, Jim Kozonis originally put forward for a giant Planned Development 7-story 299 car parking garage, that would occupy the former Cowhey Cement Company site at the northeast corner of Lipps and Ainslie, across from Kozonis’ Veteran’s Square office tower. And as if 7-stories isn’t tall enough, with the loop-hole it could be even taller!

Like dominoes falling, the zoning change could lead to one zoning change after another, with the Jefferson Park area dominated by high rise office towers intersected by congested Milwaukee, Ainslie, Lipps and Lawrence Avenues.

 


Like dominoes falling, the zoning change could lead to one zoning change after another, with the Jefferson Park area dominated by high rise office towers...

 


What would a towering parking garage offer neighboring residents? More traffic congestion? Longer waits for emergency vehicles? Poorer air quality, and another eyesore visible from nearly every home in the area?  Some Chamber of Commerce members suggested the Jefferson Park business district needs the parking garage for area businesses, but a recent JPNA TIF and Zoning Committee parking survey proves the opposite; streets with 2-hour pay boxes such as Lipps, Higgins and Lawrence, often remain empty all day and evening, and even on Milwaukee Avenue open parking spots are available throughout the day and evening.

 

So what is the real reason for such a garage?  Could it be for a cash cow commuter garage? Or parking for more 9-story Office buildings? Let’s not forget the Jefferson Park Chamber of Commerce is stacked with board members that work for Veteran’s Square owner Jim Kozonis one way or another, with several board seats going to representatives of Kozonis controlled businesses such as Mega Realty, Delko Construction and the Kozonis influenced Parkway Bank, on which Kozonis is a board member.

 

Click here for garage cartoon: http://www.jeffersonparkfreepress.com/garagecartoonindex.jpg

 

 

 As a matter of disclosure, this writer is a member of the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association (JPNA) board, and author of the JPNA’s TIF & Zoning Committee parking survey.

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