Pawar Introduces New Zoning Change Process

By Mike Fourcher | Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The proposed site of the new Lycee Francais school building. The school would have to submit to Ald. Pawar's new zoning process before it could move forward. Credit: Erin Nekervis.

Fulfilling one of his campaign promises, Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) introduced a new rezoning process for the 47th Ward that requires developers to detail proposed changes in detail. The new process, detailed on Pawar’s website, is centered around a six-page “Zoning Information Form” and the creation of a new Zoning Advisory Committee which reviews the proposal and makes a recommendation to Ald. Pawar.

“We’ve designed the form so people can get an understanding of the potential outcomes, the scope of the project, the architect and the potential cost,” said Ald. Pawar yesterday afternoon.

The form is based on one used by Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) and was modified by members of Pawar’s transition committee and staff before he approved it.

The process also requires larger developments to, “reach out to the neighborhood association” and send mailed notices to residents within 200 feet of the proposed development. This vague provision should prove to the most daunting for both Pawar and potential developers, since there is no neighborhood organization in many parts of the 47th Ward. However, Pawar is seeking out less active organizations and encouraging new organizations to get active.

“We’ve got groups like the Northcenter Neighbors Association and the Greater Rockwell Organization, but there are pockets of the ward where neighborhood organizations may not exist or there might not be a block club,”

“We’re reaching out to the community trying to understand where they organizations exist,” said Pawar.

Near his house on the block of 1800 W. Cuyler Ave., Pawar has run into neighbors working to organize a block club with flyers stating, “that the alderman has asked for public input on a number of matters and there’s a number ways we can be heard,” said Pawar. “We’re hearing that this is going on and we’re hoping that in different parts of the community people will create block clubs so we can interact with them.”

Pawar says he’d like the 47th Ward to be more like the Edgewater neighborhood, where block clubs cover the entire area and regularly let their alderman their preference on zoning issues.

Projects that are already in the pipeline, like Lycee Francais’ proposed new school building on the 1900 W. Wilson Ave. block, will need to submit a completed form before the project can move forward in the ward.

“Anyone who is seeking a zoning change or permit has to fill out the form,” said Pawar.

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