Tuesday, December 11, 2007

WEDNESDAY: Rally at City Council to Save Lincoln Square!


It was a pleasure meeting all of you on Wednesday night. We can't thank you enough for coming out and showing your support for the Lincoln Square business owners.

This Wednesday, City Council is expected to vote on the resolution that would grant them the authority to acquire the 4800 block of North Western Avenue for private development, including Chicago Soccer, The Dental Corner, and Decorium Furniture. As you heard Wednesday night, if this resolution passes and the owners don't sell, the city can condemn them through eminent domain. We can't allow this to happen.

These businesses are not blighted, and they are not for sale - and the ONLY way to protect them from condemnation is for the city to NOT authorize their acquisition.
Save Lincoln Square will hold a rally at 9am this Wednesday before the City Council meeting (which will convene at 10am) to urge the aldermen to vote against this resolution. We encourage you to attend and bring your neighbors and friends.

The Lincoln Square business owners need you to make your voice heard!

RALLY at City Council
Wednesday, December 12th, @ 9am
Outside of City Council Chambers
2nd Floor Elevator Lobby
City Hall
121 N. La Salle Street
Chicago, IL 60602

A flyer is available via email - email northcenterneighbors@gmail.com to request the flyer be sent to you.

The Flyer discusses the the rally, and we encourage you to print and distribute it in your communities. Also, if you are interested in volunteering for one of the committees we discussed on Wednesday night, please respond to this e-mail and let me know how you would like to volunteer.We can't stop the abuse of eminent domain in Chicago without your help! Please don't hesitate to contact me (Christina Walsh) if you have any questions, or contact Imre of Chicago Soccer at 773-271-2255 and visit


Above posting for Christina Walsh

December in Lincoln Square: Eminent Domain Abuse...

Folks-if you're unable to attend-email or call:

Alderman Schulter at 773-348-8400 or ward47@cityofchicago.org and tell him you oppose the use or threat of eminent domain for private development in the Western Avenue North TIF area.

if you don't know what i'm talking about.....read on:

This Wednesday, City Council is expected to vote on the resolution that would grant them the authority

to acquire (SEIZE!!!!!!!!!!!!) the 4800 block of North Western Avenue (The Dental Corner, and Decorium Furniture) for private development (condos!)

If this resolution passes and the owners don't sell, the city can condemn them through eminent domain.

We can't allow this to happen. These businesses are not blighted, and they are not for sale - and the ONLY way to

protect them from condemnation is for the city to NOT authorize their acquisition.

Save Lincoln Square will hold a rally at 9am this Wednesday before the City Council meeting (which will convene at 10am) to urge the aldermen to vote against this resolution. We encourage you to attend and bring your neighbors and friends. The Lincoln Square business owners need you to make your voice heard!

Any questions please call 773-271-2255 and ask for Imre Hidvegi.

at City Council
Wednesday, December 12th, @ 9am
Outside of City Council Chambers
2nd Floor Elevator Lobby
City Hall
121 N. La Salle Street
Chicago, IL 60602

About Save Lincoln Square
Save Lincoln Square is a broad, community-based coalition of small business owners and activists who oppose the use or threat of eminent domain for private development in Lincoln Square. The city is seeking to pass a resolution to acquire our 16 businesses, which are located in the Western Avenue North TIF District, and will condemn our property through eminent domain if we do not want to sell.
Eminent domain is supposed to be for public uses, like roads and schools - not to give our successful businesses to wealthy developers for new businesses and condominiums. We do not want to sell and we will not sell. We demand that the City Council rescind the resolution authorizing the forcible acquisition of our businesses and allow the current owners to lead redevelopment efforts, through private negotiation, on our block.

Contact Alderman Schulter at 773-348-8400 or ward47@cityofchicago.org and tell him you oppose the use or threat of eminent domain for private development in the Western Avenue North TIF area.

Friday, December 7, 2007

StoneLoveDesigns is having an annual Holiday Jewelry Trunk Show

Hello everyone!

Hope this holiday season finds you well!

StoneLoveDesigns is having an annual Holiday Jewelry Trunk Show at
Katerina's on Saturday December 15, 2007 from 5-8pm. We hope that you
can swing by for a drink and some holiday cheer. Appetizers available by
our lovely hostess, Katerina.

Katerina's at 1920 West Irving Park Road.


Wishing you a Festive Holiday and a Happy New Year!

Frances and Hareklia

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Community Meeting - 12/6/07

Location: 47th ward Public Service Office 7pm
4237 N. Lincoln Avenue

Regarding: Demolitions of the Damen and Irving Park Brown line stations.

Representatives from the CTA and McHugh Construction will be available for questions.

Call Alderman's office for more information 773.348.8400

Flood and Tax relief available to residents of 47th Ward

Per neighbors on Cuyler Avenue:

Possible Tax relief: Per Laura Engel and Simon Stein :

SHORT form that Alderman Schulter has that takes less than one minute to complete.
They will look up your pin number for you and you do not
have to do any comparable. And yes, if there is a
strong showing, 60% of property holders in 47th
ward,Gene has confirmed a very strong likely hood of

Tax assessment and appeal update:

Last night 11/26 there was a meeting regarding real
estate tax increases in our neighborhood. Alderman
Schulter's office has committed to supporting the
residents of our ward to help appeal (reduce) our
recent increased tax assessment.

The process is simple. Here are the steps:

1) Pick up an "assessed valuation complaint" form
from the Alderman's office.

2) Complete the form and return it to the
Alderman's office. Do not mail it in to Cook County on Clark
Street! In order to have the greatest chance of
success, the Alderman wants to submit a large
stack of these appeal forms at the same time.

Alternatively, the form is short enough to be completed in person
at the Alderman's office.

3) Make sure to tell the Alderman's office/staff
that you learned about this appeal opportunity through
the neighborhood outreach program.

Also, please spread the word to all of our neighbors and residents in
our ward.

Conclusions. The Alderman's office believes that
there is a strong chance that 60% of applications
for reduction received will be approved. Those are
great odds and these odds have increased substantially
thanks to the involvement of the Alderman.

However, there is one big condition for this to work. The
Alderman's office needs a big turnout ie.,
completed forms for this to be effective.

The Alderman's office will not be able to do much
for us if they receive only a handful of these forms
from us.

Hence, strongly encourage every property
owner in our ward to submit a valuation complaint form
as quickly as possible. Even if you are very
wealthy, like to pay higher taxes, and don't need any extra
money for investments, vacations, or college
funds, you will be helping your neighbors by submitting
these forms. The Alderman is going to bat for us and
let's show him that we are concerned and displeased with
our increased property taxes.

The deadline for submitting the assessed
valuation complaint form is December 6, 2007


If anyone suffered flood damage this summer, you are potentially eligible for a one year reduction on property taxes based on the damage.

For example, in my case, Allstate estimated our
basement flooding damage at $10,000. According to
the Alderman's office, if I submit proof of this damage,
the Alderman will try to reduce our assessed property
value by a like amount. We have already made the
repairs to our basement, but we are still eligible
for this reduction as we went out of pocket for the

In order to apply for this separate reduction, proof
of any flood damage must be submitted in a separate
envelope with the tax parcel #. This proof can be a
combination of photos, contractors estimates, and
insurance claim forms. This can be submitted
concurrently with the valuation complaint form.

Litigation continues

Jaeger v. Okon

Jim Jaeger and his attorneys are still pursuing their lawsuit against Tom Okon.

Jim Jaeger filed a complaint against Tom Okon in May 2007 - stating defamation.

This case is in the discovery phase of its litigation

Monday, October 1, 2007

Ravenswood Art Walk - this weekend

Come see the fantastic artwork of our Bill Moran of 1832 W. Larchmont Avenue.

He will be showing his designs at his studio at 1832 W. Larchmont Avenue #3 as well as at Golden Loaf at 1921 W Irving Park.

The art walk is from 10-6pm this Saturday and Sunday - 10/6 and 10/7.

Art walk closing celebration at Golden Loaf on Sunday from 5-8pm - for food and beverages.

See link below for more information.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

8/21/07 Community Meeting Results

Hello Neighbors

Last night at the community meeting a vote was taken and a zoning change was approved for the 1820-1842 Irving Park Properties. The vote was 59 "for" the zoning change and 44 "against" the zoning change.

We would like to thank Alderman Schulter, Mr Luna - Alderman's chief of staff, JCJ Development, Jonathan Splitt, the Pastor of the Pilgrim Church and all the neighbors for all their hard work,dedication and involvement with this issue.

Here is a brief summary of the meeting:

1. Building being proposed:

a. 3 separate buildings.
b. Each building will house 16 condo units, totaling 48 units for the 3 buildings combined.
c. Each condo unit will be 1300-1438 square feet, sale price $399,000 - $599,000.
d. 24 parking places in each building - there will not be any parking available for the ground floor retail space in each of these 3 buildings with the exception of any metered spaces in the front of those buildings. This will amount to approximately 5 metered spaces for 3 retail store fronts.
e. All the residential parking will be entered via the 1800 block of Cuyler Alleyway.
f. 4 units per floor
g. Each building will be 65 feet in height
h. Each building will have a "green" roof
i. There will NOT be any affordable housing units in any of these 3 buildings
j. Length of construction 18 months

2. Much to our surprise ! The Alderman only allowed 'property owners' a vote. He only allowed 1 vote per address. This is different then what he had communicated in the past when he allowed residents a vote and not just property owners vote.

3. There were quite a few people we did not recognize at this meeting.

4. A consultant paid by the developer - stated how the "zoning laws" are out of date and need to be updated for the current state of property availability in Chicago. Please read the "Purpose and Intent of the zoning code City of Chicago" it details their purpose and intent. See our blog - entry dated May 12, 2007. No where in the "Purpose and Intent" does it state "so that landowners can make money on projects due to the cost of land, therefore zones should be changed."

If you have any questions or comments - please email me at northcenterneighbors@gmail.com

Best Regards,
Joy Okon

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Pilgrim Lutheran Church, 4300 N. Winchester Avenue

Please attend and be prepared to vote - bring proof of residency or property ownership.

Meeting being held to discuss a proposed zoning change of the properties at 1820-1842 Irving park Road from the existing zoning of B3-2 to B3-3.

The existing zoning of B3-2 allows for a 50 foot tall structure approximately 4 stories.

A B3-3 zoning allows for a 65 foot structure approximately 5-6 stories

We are assuming what the developer will be proposing the same project he proposed to a small core group on 6/15/07 - please see the blog posting on 6/15/7 for more information.

Lawsuit continues

Mr Thomas Okon is still being sued by JCJ Development and Jim Jaeger. Mr Okon's attorney filed a "Motion to Dismiss" Mr. Jim Jaeger's complaint in Cook county circuit court on Friday, August 3, 2007.

At this time, Mr. Okon's legal fees have exceeded $2,500 just to respond to Mr Jaeger and JCJ Development's complaint.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Beware 3 sexual assaults in Lakeview & Lincoln Park Area

In case you have not been following the news there have been 3 sexual
assaults in the past 10 days in the Lakeview & Lincoln Park area.
The man has come up from behind the woman who have been walking alone and has attack her very close to their home. Please be extra cautious!!!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

"Developer on the Prowl"

Rumor has it.....the developer is approaching the businesses on the south side of Irving Park.

I would assume he has been approaching them for years but maybe now he is approaching them more strongly.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Proposed development update as of 7/10/07

Details of Proposed development of 1820-1842 Irving Park Road - which was Voted down on 7/10/07:

Requesting zoning change from B3-2(max height=55 ft) to B3-5 (max height=80 ft)

Estimated proposed height 65 - 70 ft at the 6th floor penthouse

7,600 sq ft commercial space
20 commercial parking spaces
110 residential parking spaces

6 story building at the penthouse level on East side of building
66 Residential condo units

224 ft width frontage
120 ft depth
23ft back setback
9 ft 6 inches front setback
12 ft setback on side
15 ft setback from alley
2ft setback ground level through parking level

B3-2 zoning to B3-5 zone

Other similar development on 3823 N. Ashland

Traffic engineers are KLOA engineering

132/66 equals 2-1 ratio of parking, not 110/66

Impact on electricity - not addresses

Impact on Sewage - not addressed

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Thank you

We want to thank Alderman Schulter for a successful Community Meeting last night.

The proposed zoning change was voted down last night, not necessarily the proposed project.

It is most important that the community be informed and participate, than anything else.

We want say "thank you" to the Pilgrim Lutheran Church and their pastor - for hosting the meeting.

We want to thank the developer, his attorney and his architects for taking the time to present their proposed project. "Thank You"

But most of all we want to THANK the community for getting involved and for showing concern for their neighborhood.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Community Voting meeting tonight - to vote on the proposed zoning change at 1820-1842 Irving park road.



Bring proof of residency or property ownership


4300 N Winchester
Chicago IL 60613

Any questions - email us at: NORTHCENTERNEIGHBORS@GMAIL.COM

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Changes to the proposed development

A neighbor of ours called the Alderman's office today and this is what our neighbor found out:

" I just called and spoke to Beth in the Alderman's office who said Jim Jaeger is attending the meeting Tuesday night with new proposal changes and she BELIEVES it won't be a voting meeting because of that.

Here is what Beth said regarding the proposed project: Proposal is for 66 units, 6 floors with the penthouse being the top, 7600 sq. feet of commercial space and 2 affordable housing units in the building. Also, 20 public parking spaces and 110 residential parking spaces.

Beth said YOU MUST attend with correct id to vote when it happens. Emails or phone calls or letters will not cut it because Dan Luna checks id from voters."

Monday, July 2, 2007

Community meeting Tuesday 7/10/07

Community meeting Tuesday 7/10/07
At Pilgrim Lutheran Church
4300 N Winchester Avenue
at 7pm

Purpose of this voting meeting is to discuss a zoning change for the properties of 1820-1842 Irving Park Road - as previously proposed by Jim Jaeger and JCJ Development.

A vote may be taken so bring proof of ownership or residency (IE: identification or utility bill or envelope from letter from Alderman's office)

Any questions - email us at Northcenterneighbors@gmail.com

If you need a ride - please email us.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Formally served by JCJ Development

Today - Tom Okon was formally served by Circuit court of Cook County for Libel and Slander. The complaint was filed by JCJ Development and Jim Jaeger.

After speaking to our attorney, responding to this complaint could cost us personally thousands of dollars in attorney fees.

Friday, June 15, 2007

New Proposed Modifications by JCJ Development to the 1820-1842 Irving Park Project

Below is the new proposed project specifications per JCJ Development as of 6/12/07:


PARKING SPACES: 93 parking spaces

STORIES: 5 stories (this includes the penthouse)

HEIGHT: 53 feet at Building and 65 feet at Penthouse

ZONING Zoning Change Requested: from B3-2 to B3-3
Minimum Zoning change requested

We sincerely appreciate all of JCJ Developments hard work and dedication to this project. We will be meeting with JCJ Development in late June to discuss this project further.

Welcome the Rappel Family to the Neighborhood

Last night, Thurday 6/14 at a community meeting held at the Alderman's office the Rappel family successfully received approval to build their home on the lot located at 1801 W Cuyler.

Please everyone "Welcome the Rappel Family" to the neighborhood.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The work continues....

We (The North Center Neighbors - Irving Park Branch) continue communications with JCJ Development related to more proposed changes. We appreciate everyone's time and efforts.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The "Other" North Center Neighbors

Julie Hobert - President of the "Other" North Center Neighbors Group:

My name is Julie Hobert. I live on Bradley Place just south of Grace and west of Damen. Three years ago, I and some of my neighbors wanted to start a neighborhood organization that would advocate for "responsible development"-diverse housing stock, green space, and money for schools and parks. We wanted to promote the idea that an incredible neighborhood like ours could be diverse, and that the neighbors could have a voice in local development. It took us awhile, but we decided to file as a political action committee (PAC) because we were not raising money, just raising awareness and organizing. We also realized we wanted to bring this vision beyond our own area in order to reach out to other neighborhood blocks and groups with the understanding that the more we organized the more our voices would be heard. In October, we had a rally for "Responsible Development " which was well attended and continued the buzz. We then have had several development issues in the Bell School District which have further galvanized our neighbors and expanded our reach.

Besides petitions, we basically are an email tree among neighbors. If someone hears about a zoning issue, they email me and I let the group know. If there is a development issue, again, they email me, and I pass it on to the neighbors. We have successfully had petition drives this way, shared information about community meetings, and supported neighbors concerns about development. It doesn't replace face to face relationships, but it is an efficient way to organize quickly.

It was through neighbors on our email list that I heard about the development in your neighborhood. I realize that it might be confusing because we both have the same name of North Center Neighbors and I wanted to clear up what our organization is. We've been working with your neighbors because we believe that there is strength in numbers and in information sharing. We've been informing neighbors who care about development in the 47th ward about the Irving Park development and the actions you've taken as a neighborhood. We also will continue to let our neighbors know the outcome. I believe that the Alderman does want to do what he feels the community wants, but we just have to make sure the neighbors voices are adequately heard. My neighbors have had similar experience and I believe that we can all learn from each others experiences. There is a lot of room for development, and it will be a process that happens again and again.

The North Center Neighbors information you have been getting in your mailbox and through the petition, emails, and blogs are from some very caring neighbors who have put a lot of time into organizing your blocks against the rezoning of the Irving Park development. The similarities (besides the name of course) between our organizations are that we believe that the neighborhood should have a voice in issues of development and zoning, we organize block captains, we use petitions, and we care about our neighborhood. The differences are that we have already started as an organization that's filed as a (PAC), we're trying to be more ward wide, and our agenda includes "responsible development" .

We are asking you to formally join our North Center Neighbors email list by emailing me at Juliehobert@mac.com with the message of "add me to your list." I will not email you unless you have asked to be put on the list. I also urge you to tell other people and friends in the 47th ward about it so they can be put on the list. It makes an impact when we care about an issue, and the alderman receives hundreds of emails and phone calls about it. It makes a difference when we can share our experiences. It makes a difference when we can support our neighbors.

You will still be getting emails from North Center Neighbors/Irving Park Branch about this development, and if you sign up, from me as well. We were trying to come up with a name and all realized it’s hard to switch mid project-(Irving Park Neighbors?) but I hope you will look beyond the name to realize that we are creating an even stronger North Center Neighbors for all of us.

If you have any questions, please feel fee to email me at juliehobert@mac.com

Friday, June 1, 2007

Proposed Modifications by JCJ Development

Below are the modifications as proposed by JCJ Development-Jim Jaeger for the property at 1820-1842 Irving Park Road.

Project as Originally proposed
Height of building: 79 feet
Total parking spots: 199
Total retail parking (included in total above): 17
Total residential parking: 182
Square footage of retail: 8500
Rear set-back from property line: 2 feet
Rear set back in alley at floors 2-6: 2 feet
Garage entrances in alleyway: 2
Garage entrance and exit in front: 1
Height of loading area: 19 feet tall
Height of retail space: 19 feet tall
Width of Rear Loading area: 54 feet wide
Width of Rear Loading door: 27 feet wide

Project after Modifications
Height of building 78 feet
Total parking spots: 161
Total retail parking: (included in total above) 27
Total residential parking: 134
Square footage of retail: 8500
Rear set back from property line in alley 2 feet
Rear set back from alley at floors 2-6: 15 feet
Garage entrances in alleyway: 1
Garage entrance and exit in front: 1
Height of loading area: 18 feet tall
Height of retail space 18 feet tall
Width of Rear Loading area: 54 feet wide
Width of Rear Loading door: 27 feet wide

The representatives of North Center Neighbors - Irving Park Branch have met with JCJ Development and Jonathan Splitt Architects on three seperate occasions. We appreciate all of their hard work and time, BUT what we continue to hear from the people in the neighborhood,is that they are still greatly concerned about the HEIGHT AND DENSITY (number of residential units)of this proposed project.

We have asked JCJ Development and Jonathan Splitt Architects to make substantial changes in the height, reduce the number of residential units and to add significant community benefits, to this proposed development.

If they are willing to do this then we will continue further meetings.

Be prepared for a community voting meeting in Early June

All Community Vote meetings are held on either a Tuesday or Thursday night - watch your mail for official communication from Alderman Schulter's office.

According to the Alderman's office - currently they mail out notification of a Community Vote meeting 1 week prior to the meeting. It appears these notifications are only mailed to property owners and NOT residents of those properties. BUT residents and property owners have a vote.

We will send out communication as soon as we hear about a Community Vote meeting.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Purpose and Intent of Zoning - Per City of Chicago

17-1-0500 Purpose and Intent
This Zoning Ordinance is adopted for the purpose of:

17-1-0501 promoting the public health, safety and general welfare;
17-1-0502 preserving the overall quality of life for residents and visitors;
17-1-0503 protecting the character of established residential neighborhoods;
17-1-0504 maintaining economically vibrant as well as attractive business and commercial areas;
17-1-0505 retaining and expanding the city's industrial base;
17-1-0506 implementing the policies and goals contained with officially adopted plans, including the Central Area Plan;
17-1-0507 promoting pedestrian, bicycle and transit use;
17-1-0508 maintaining orderly and compatible land use and development patterns;
17-1-0509 ensuring adequate light, air, privacy, and access to property;
17-1-0510 encouraging environmentally responsible development practices;
17-1-0511 promoting rehabilitation and reuse of older buildings;
17-1-0512 maintaining a range of housing choices and options;
17-1-0513 establishing clear and efficient development review and approval procedures; and
17-1-0514 accommodating growth and development that complies with the preceding stated purposes.