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Alderman responds to lawsuit from Jefferson Park residents

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The fight over a proposed development for Jefferson Park has become one of the most contentious in the city

The southwest corner of Northwest Highway and Milwaukee Avenue.
Google Street View

The heated debate over a proposed affordable housing development for Jefferson Park has taken a bizarre turn. Originally unveiled in January, the plan from developer Full Circle Communities seeks a zoning change to erect a seven-story, 100-unit mixed-user at southwest corner of Northwest Highway and Milwaukee Avenue. However, its the makeup of the units—80 affordable apartments and 20 market rate units—that has stirred up emotions and caused all out neighborhood battle between affordable housing advocates and Jefferson Park residents.

Full Circle Communities

The proposal also includes a five-story storage facility, and this portion of the plan was presented to and passed by the Chicago Plan Commission last month. However, residents that oppose the proposal are now seeking legal action in order to stop the plan. According to DNAinfo, a group of Jefferson Park residents filed a lawsuit agains the city and 45th Ward Alderman John Arena last week that claims that the zoning approval process has been unlawful.

Specifically, the lawsuit, which DNAinfo has obtained and published, alleges wrongdoing to LSC Development, the entity which owns the property at 5050 N. Northwest Highway where the new storage facility is proposed. The lawsuit alleges that LSC Development had planned to renovate the existing structure shortly after it closed on the property in December 2015, but was stopped by a downzoning action by Alderman Arena.

However, Alderman Arena has responded to the lawsuit and the critics to the proposed affordable housing development at the corner:

Opponents to the proposed 5150 Northwest Highway housing development for veterans and neighbors with disabilities have...

Posted by John Arena on Sunday, April 9, 2017

One of the key plaintiffs listed in the legal action is a group called Northwest Side Unite. The group formed as a result of a petition and crowdfunding campaign opposing the proposed mixed-use development in the 45th Ward. According to the group, which describes its mission as “preserving the quiet, low-density character of Northwest Side neighborhoods,” it has raised nearly $20,000 between an online crowdfunding campaign and other fundraising efforts. The group says that these funds will be used to support its legal challenge against the proposed development in Jefferson Park.