The Jefferson Park Free Press

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January 31, 2006

                                      Volume III                        News and Commentary                          Issue I Volume II                          News and Commentary                           Issue IV

      by Robert Bank

Jefferson Park Free Press Back Online

Due to technical difficulties the Jefferson Park Free Press web site was temporarily out of service and no December ‘05 issue was printed or put online. We are glad to say that we are back online and will have a full issue in February.



City Cries “Uncle” As Local Businessman Defends Property In Court

Sun-Times’ Abdon M. Pallasch tells us that the City has thrown in the towel in their attempt to take Don Zordani’sSportif Bike Importers” store at 5225 W. Lawrence Ave.

You can find Monday’s January 30, 2006 article at the Chicago Sun-Times website under “archives.” The article was under “Metro” on page 11 of the Late Sports Final edition under the heading: “Bike shop owner wins fight against city.”


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VIEW WHEN THE ZONING COMMITTEE WILL MEET: still must call the Zoning Committee chair Ald. Banks’ office at (312) 744-6857 to find out what is on the agenda until a week before the meeting when it is available online)



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The Cheat Sheet

It’s All About The Dash (-)  (edited from our February’05 issue)

As the number following the dash goes up so does the density. For example a “- 1” requires a minimum of 2,500 square ft. of lot area for every unit, a “-1.5” allows 1,350 square feet of lot area per unit,  “- 2” allows only 1000 sq. ft. of lot area per unit and a  “-3” allows for even greater density requiring only 400 square feet per unit. So for example if you had 29,800 sq. ft. of land and you were zoned B2-3 you could build 74 condos! If the property was zoned B2-2 you would be allowed 29 condos, B2-1.5 would allow for 22 condos and if zoned B2-1, you could only build 11 condos.

That number after the dash makes a big difference. Now imagine that you bought a property zoned B3-1 but you were able to get it rezoned to B2-3, that “dash three” could make your property worth a lot lot more. Why should the Alderman and the City give away that zoning? What is the community getting in return for this extreme density? What about the impact on the schools, traffic congestion, flooding and quality of life in general? Why would Alderman Levar want to diminish the quality of life just to increase a developer’s profits? If a developer bought the property as zoned let him build as zoned. Once the zoning change is allowed, a precedent will have been set and the City will have a very difficult time refusing, if it can refuse at all, future requests for up-zoning on the remaining parcels of that block.


Example:         Zoning classification for B2-__                          Example: 29,800 sq. ft lot


Dash  1     :    2,500 sq. ft. minimum lot area   per unit               allows approx. 11 condos

Dash  1.5  :    1,350 sq. ft. minimum lot area   per unit               allows approx. 22 condos

Dash  2     :    1,000 sq. ft. minimum lot area   per unit               allows approx. 29 condos

Dash  3     :       400 sq. ft. minimum lot area   per unit               allows approx. 74 condos 




The same applies for residential zoning. The density issue especially comes into play with older homes on double lots (50 x 125), which have 6,250 square feet or more. This type property has become attractive to developers because they can be torn down and replaced with two homes. The increased density affects not just the character of the neighborhood but also parking, school overcrowding and flooding (as green space that acted as a watershed is reduced).

Leaving a home on a double lot under R3 zoning or greater is like leaving a freshly baked pie on the window sill with the aroma wafting under the noses of developers. Down-zoning to “current use” such as R2 would stop the destruction of homes existing on double-lots. Note the chart below.


RS 1     :         6,250 sq. ft. minimum lot area required per unit             allows   1  unit   on a double lot

RS 2     :         5,000 sq. ft. minimum lot area required per unit             allows   1  unit   on a double lot

RS 3     :         2,500 sq. ft. minimum lot area required per unit           *allows 2.5 units  on a double lot

RT 3.5  :         1,250 sq. ft. minimum lot area required per unit           *allows   5  units  on a double lot

RT 4     :         1,000 sq. ft. minimum lot area required per unit           *allows   6  units  on a double lot

           * A variance, or a slightly larger lot may allow for an extra unit.