Apartments proposed for Northwest Highway-Greenwood site in Park Ridge
Updated: January 7, 2013 6:10AM
PARK RIDGE — Six years after Park Ridge officials approved a hotly debated 58-unit condominium development at the southeast corner of Northwest Highway and Greenwood Avenue, another developer is eyeing the site for a new kind of multi-family housing.
Jay Case, president of Chicago-based Orchard Development, presented a concept plan for a four-story, 80-unit apartment building at 446-516 N. Northwest Hwy. to the Park Ridge Planning and Zoning Commission on Nov. 27.
The development as proposed calls for 34 more housing units than the city’s Zoning Ordinance allows and, standing 42.6 feet in height, would exceed the height requirement by over two feet. An exception would also be required for parking as the plan proposes 127 surface spaces when the city would require 140.
The proposal to build 80 apartment units did not receive support from any of the nine members of the Planning and Zoning Commission present to review the plan and provide feedback before any formal requests are submitted to the city.
Commissioner Anita Rifkind pointed out that the number of units sought is nearly double what the city allows based on the property size.
“I am amazed that you thought you could come in here with that amount of density and expect to receive a sympathetic hearing,” she said. “In fact, I’m a little put out by that.”
Case told the commission that the proposed building is smaller in size than the earlier condominium development that was ultimately never constructed. From a floor-area ratio perspective he said the apartment building will be a “low-intensity use” and expects the one- and two-bedroom units will largely be occupied by “young professionals” and “empty-nesters.”
Case also presented a traffic study summary that he said showed a minimal impact on traffic in the area, but commissioners were not convinced.
“I find it counterintuitive for you to tell me there will be a lower traffic usage with 22 more units than the old (development plan) had,” Commissioner Joe Baldi said.
Parking was also a concern for members of the commission.
“Being short on parking spaces could have a serious impact on surrounding areas just because there’s no overflow parking available,” said Commissioner John Bennett.
The property is currently occupied by five vacant houses. It is owned by a bank, though Orchard Development has a contract to purchase it, Case said.
Case told the Park Ridge Herald-Advocate that he will continue to pursue an apartment project for the site and try to address the commission’s comments. He also plans to meet with members of the community, he said.
Neighbors had objected strongly to the earlier condominium project based on its density, 50-foot height, potential traffic and existing drainage issues they said would only be exacerbated.
Only one resident living near the proposed apartment building attended the Nov. 27 Planning and Zoning meeting. He said the apartment would cause “an upheaval” in the area.