Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee November 18th Meeting Notes
New Land Enterprises was before the committee requesting a change in zoning to construct a 5-story apartment building to be located on North Farwell Avenue and East Kenilworth. Although the current zoning would allow for 33 units New Land Enterprises intends for 91 units to be constructed. Individual units would range in size from 560 square feet to 850 square feet and would include one parking spot. It was generally accepted by the committee that this plan for higher density with smaller units would in fact be better for the neighborhood.
New Land Enterprises’ has held three meetings with local stakeholders, including the East Side BID, and faced no opposition at the City Plan Commission. Jim Plaisted, East Side BID Executive Director, lent his support to the project stating “we feel this is a quality infill development.”
Despite those efforts and overwhelming support by the committee, Alderman Nik Kovac made an unusual move and asked for the file to be held for one cycle. He stated, “I would like the general residents of the 3rd District to have a chance to see this plan,” and added that “it’s going to be the policy of the 3rd District going forward” to have public meetings for all development projects. New Land Enterprises agreed to an “informational meeting” to be held but requested no changes be made to the design due this additional meeting as that would delay the project significantly. Responding to Alderman Kovac’s request to hold the file, Alderman Jim Witkowiak seemed exasperated as multiple times during the discussion he said “again with all due to respect, I don’t get it.” Alderman Bob Bauman added that “I don’t want to screw up the financing,” and Alderman Michael Murphy followed up saying that “the worst thing is to have a meeting, and to already know the conclusion of the meeting.”
The committee held the file allowing Alderman Kovac to hold the “informational meeting,” but they clearly indicated that it will be moved forward at the next committee meeting. Specifically, Alderman Tony Zielinski ended the discussion by stating “when this comes before the committee next cycle we are approving it.”