Two years after Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) proposed a blanket downzone of a major thoroughfare in his ward, the alderman is back with a far narrower version of the same plan.
Ramirez-Rosa introduced an ordinance last week to lower the height restrictions for 14 commercial properties along Milwaukee Avenue between Kedzie Boulevard and Central Park Avenue, according to Block Club Chicago.
He called it a “much more precise” approach than his widely criticized 2017 plan to pull back the zoning on all 99 parcels on the half-mile Logan Square stretch.
The new proposed zoning designations would limit development to three stories on all 14 parcels, which are currently home to one-, two- and three-story buildings. Any developer proposing something taller would need Ramirez-Rosa to initiate an upzone.
The plan traces back to a group of neighbors and business owners in Avondale who urged the alderman to tap the breaks on the wave of development sweeping up Milwaukee Avenue. But after Ramirez-Rosa unveiled the downzoning plan, another group of property owners panned the idea as an overreach. The changes never passed the City Council’s zoning committee.
It now falls to Alderman Tom Tunney (44th), the new chairman of the zoning committee, to schedule a vote on the measures.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot signed an order on her first day in office to roll back aldermen powers over licensing and permitting in their wards, but zoning decisions remain under the sway of aldermanic privilege.
Last week, fellow Northwest Side Alderman Roberto Maldonado (26th) withdrew his own proposal to downzone a smattering of properties in his ward.
[Block Club Chicago] — Alex Nitkin