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North Branch zoning ordinance, new libraries headed to Chicago Plan Commission

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The July agenda includes a number of individual projects and wide-reaching master plans

The proposed Northtown Branch Chicago Public Library at 2402 W. Pratt Boulevard.

The City of Chicago has released the first draft of the agenda for this month’s Plan Commission meeting set for July 20th at City Hall. The group will vote on a number of measures that would approve individual developments as well as transformative plans affecting large areas of the city. Here’s a quick look at some of the bigger items appearing on the docket.

North Branch Industrial Corridor Zoning Ordinance

Chicago Department of Planning and Development

↑ After approving a framework plan designed to guide future land use within the North Branch Industrial Corridor flanking the Chicago River between Kinzie Street and Fullerton Avenue, the Plan Commission will vote on an ordinance to re-zone most of the 760-acre corridor.

Co-sponsored by Mayor Emmanuel and 16 Chicago aldermen, the piece of legislation would repeal the protected industrial zoning designation of Planned Manufacturing District (PMD) number 1 and reduce the boundaries and amend the regulations affecting Planned Manufacturing Districts 2, 3, and 5.

Under the plan, much of the land would revert to its pre-PMD zoning and be open to a variety of new uses. Developers looking to take advantage of the changes would pay into new city-administered funds designed to finance local infrastructure improvements and investment in Chicago’s other industrial corridors. More information on the proposed North Branch re-zoning plan can be found here.

Pilsen and Little Village Action Plan


↑ The Chicago Plan Commission will also vote on a measure to adopt a guiding plan for the city’s Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods. Jointly drafted by the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), the “Action Plan” explores current conditions and upcoming opportunities for future land use. It includes both goals and recommendations for parks and open spaces, new residential, commercial, and industrial development. A draft of the plan can be viewed here.

2037 N. Milwaukee Avenue

City of Chicago

↑ Known as the John Pennycuff Memorial Apartments at Robert Castillo Plaza, this Logan Square project is seeking approval to construct a new 80-foot-tall structure containing 88 LGBTQ-friendly, affordable rate housing units. The transit-oriented project comes from the Metropolitan Housing Development Corporation and would contain ground floor retail space and parking for 18 vehicles.

2402 W. Pratt Boulevard

City of Chicago

↑ Located at the corner of Pratt and Western in Chicago’s West Ridge neighborhood, this development is one of three proposals that plan to co-locate affordable housing within a new Chicago Public Library branch. The ‘Northtown Branch’ is designed by architect Perkins+Will and will rise four stories. If approved, the development would contain 44 elderly housing units and 40 parking spaces.

4022 N. Elston Avenue

City of Chicago

↑ A second Chicago Housing Authority/Chicago Public Library collaboration is seeking zoning approval in Chicago’s Irving Park community. The so-called ‘Independence Branch’ designed by John Ronan Architects would consist of a six-story building with a civic space on floors one and two and 44 elderly housing units above. The plan also calls for 29 parking spaces.

521 W. Diversey Parkway & 2751 N. Hampden Court

521 W. Diversey Parkway
43rd Ward
2751 N. Hampden Court
43rd Ward

↑ Two years after a plan to build a 17-story, 78-unit condo tower at the corner of Diversey and Hampden in Lincoln Park was abandoned due to a lack of aldermanic support, the owners of the land formerly occupied by the Market Place grocery store have returned with a new two-building plan.

The first, located at 521 W. Diversey Parkway, will rise six stories and contain 30 dwelling units, 36 parking places, and ground floor retail. Across the alleyway to the immediate south, a 15-unit building with 27 parking spaces is proposed for 2751 N. Hampden Court.

Both developments come from architect Sullivan, Goulette & Wilson and are being built “as-of-right” with no requested change to the site’s underlying zoning. Plan Commission approval, however, is still required under the Chicago Lakefront Protection Ordinance.