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Rival Alderman, Committeeman Spar Over Proposed Edison Park Apartments

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A mass email opposing the mixed-use development has sparked community controversy

A proposal to replace a car wash and parking lot located steps from the Edison Park Metra stop with 44 rental units, 5,000 square feet of retail, and a 156-stall commuter parking garage has turned into the latest battleground in a fierce political conflict between 41st Ward Alderman Anthony Napolitano and rival Democratic Committeeman Tim Heneghan. Earlier this week, a routine zoning advisory meeting hosted by Napolitano was suddenly swamped by hundreds of concerned residents who were warned of a much larger 127-unit development via a ward-wide email blast originating from Heneghan.

Though the project’s requisite zoning change from M1-1 Limited Manufacturing/Business District to B2-3 Neighborhood Mixed-Use District could potentially allow up to 127 dwellings, the proposed plan is pursuing 44 units and would therefore be bound to that figure if approved. According to DNAinfo, Heneghan’s email raised additional concerns over the ten percent affordable-rate housing requirement triggered by the zoning amendment. This led to a number of residents bringing up fears over "Section 8" housing moving into to northwest side neighborhood. There were also calls by neighbors to market the development as condos over rentals, despite ravenous demand for the latter.

Due to the over-capacity crowd and the amount of misinformation circulating, Alderman Napolitano made the decision to defer this week's discussion of the four-story project slated for 6655 N. Oliphant to a later time. Things proceeded to take an even nastier, more personal tone when the Alderman accused the Democratic Committeeman for discriminating against him based on his Italian-American heritage. Heneghan, who is of Irish-American decent, denied charges of bigotry.