Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Neighbors sue to stop Rockwell-Devon garage

Greg Brewer continues his fight against Ald. Stone's patronage regime. Today, Brewer's community group, Citizens for Responsible Development, announced a suit to stop the Stone monstrosity at Rockwell-Devon.

Neighbors sue developer to stop Rockwell-Devon parking garage

A group of West Rogers Park homeowners today filed suit against developer Mohammed Siddiqi in an effort to stop construction of a planned parking garage and condominium development at Rockwell Street and Devon Avenue on the city’s far north side.

Homeowners allege the planned six-story mixed-use structure would violate restrictive covenants established to protect the residential character of their neighborhood. Deed restrictions recorded in 1913 permit only residential development on Rockwell and adjacent side streets. Deed restrictions also require that all buildings be set back at least twenty feet from the property line.

The proposed development includes ground floor retail and office space, a multi-level public parking garage and 30 condominium units. Parking garage floors would extend beyond the property line to overhang the sidewalk. The lawsuit filed today in Cook County seeks to enforce the restrictive covenants through a permanent injunction against the project.

Homeowner Mary Freely has lived in the neighborhood for 32 years. The two-flat she shares with her son and daughter-in-law sits directly across the alley from the development site.

“I’m afraid we’ll never see the sun again; we’ll be living in the shadow of a parking garage,” Mrs. Freely said.

Today’s lawsuit is the latest in a series of setbacks for the controversial project. The development has the support of local alderman Bernie Stone (50th Ward) and is slated to receive $3.6 million in TIF funding, but is more than a year behind schedule and remains stalled. The building permit issued in January has expired due to Siddiqi’s continued delay in starting construction.

Neighbors have objected without success to a series of zoning changes and other city approvals. Many believe the design is grossly out of scale with its surroundings and will overwhelm the residential neighborhood of historic bungalows and two-flats.

“The city’s planned development process has been used to disregard normal zoning requirements and allow a combination of height, bulk, and density not permitted anywhere else in the 50th Ward,” said Greg Brewer, an architect and community activist.

Prior city approvals have no bearing on the homeowners’ lawsuit. The city does not review or enforce deed restrictions, which are considered to be private agreements. The developer is fully aware of the restrictive covenants but has chosen to ignore them.

Brewer encouraged homeowners to bring their case to court and helped organize the lawsuit.

“The city can ignore its own rules and regulations, but it cannot violate the right of homeowners to protect the value of their property,” Brewer said.

Now I thought that Ald. Stone had promised that the TIF money would be used for schools -- especially the new school that he's perpetually promised. It surprises me not that instead of using that money as he's promised, it's designated to line the pockets of his friends. That's our Berny!

Am I the only one who eagerly awaits what he has to say on the next NTNM (aka the Berny Stone show)?

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At October 25, 2007 2:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

O'h good

When you cannot succeed in the political or administrative forum, then you sue. Note to plantiffs in this might want to due a little legal research in the event you dont succeed. (Such as having to pay the respondens legal costs and cost of delays in constructions from litigation if any.

P.S by the way Jay I though you had fallen a sleep...

At October 25, 2007 3:23 PM, Blogger Jay said...

I got busy during the holidays. I should be back in form for the elections!

At October 25, 2007 4:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good intentions but WAY too late to do anything. The alderman has ultimate power over developments like this & we all know what he wants—a giant 6-story concrete slab of a building built by one of his largest campaign contributors.

At October 26, 2007 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give them credit, at least they are trying to do something. Love the CRD site. Just love it.

At October 31, 2007 4:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Dave Roeder's column in today's Sun-Times:

IN DEED: The aldermanic elections are a fading memory, but Ald. Bernard Stone (50th) and a former challenger the last time around, architect Greg Brewer, continue to battle over a six-story condo building and parking garage planned for the northeast corner of Devon and Rockwell. Brewer's group, Citizens for Responsible Development, has sued to block construction on the surprising grounds that the project violates 1913 deed restrictions that apply to the property and adjacent side streets.

Brewer said the restrictions allow only for residential use and require a 20-foot setback for anything that gets built. The new building is a violation on both counts, said Brewer, who has contended it is way out of scale for the area. The parking lot floors would extend over the sidewalk.

Stone countered that the restrictions haven't been enforced. He said the developer, Mohammad Siddiqi, has overcome delays caused by the city and that site work has begun. "He's put up $270,000 to move utility poles. You think he's going to stop now?" Stone said.

At March 07, 2009 1:48 PM, Blogger IMPEACHstone said...

No one would aprove this if living on the same block. Starting at 7AM-noise ordinance violation. Blocking street for more than 1 hour at a time on both ends-Fire violation-dumping dirty water all over our streets-the list goes on-CHICAGO political mafia machine at work-NOT even CPD is responding to calls. IMPEACH STONE AND DALEY-fascist pig dogs-Thank you for reading the truth-be safe G-D bless the USA


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