Parking delays Park Ridge apartment development
Updated: March 1, 2013 6:27AM
PARK RIDGE — The developer of a proposed apartment building in Park Ridge will have to incorporate underground parking into his project if he stands a chance of receiving support from the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.
That was the message commissioners sent to Jay Case, president of Orchard Development, following a Jan. 22 public hearing on Case’s plan to construct a four-story, 65-unit apartment building at the southeast corner of Northwest Highway and Greenwood Avenue.
Though commissioners were divided on whether they would support the density of the project — the number of units is 19 more than the city’s Zoning Ordinance allows for the property — they all agreed they could not approve the requested stage-one development plan if it includes only surface parking, as is currently proposed.
According to the city’s Zoning Ordinance, 50 percent of parking on the site must be located underground.
The commission agreed to table Orchard Development’s proposal until the developer could present a new plan.
“If I can’t do it, I won’t come back,” Case told commissioners.
Case, who had initially proposed 80 apartment units, but found the commission unreceptive to this plan, acknowledged that underground parking would not be financially feasible for the project.
“It’s largely driven by economics,” he said.
Commissioner Jim Argionis said economics is not a hardship when considering whether to grant a developer exceptions to the Zoning Ordinance.
“I have a hard time voting for any exception to density and parking requirements,” he said.
The 129 parking surface spaces proposed along the east and rear of the property meet the requirement of the city’s Zoning Ordinance according to the number of apartment units proposed.
Commissioners, including Chairman Alfredo Marr, also stated they could not support the project unless it features additional community amenities. A small park at the very corner of Northwest Highway and Greenwood did not generate much enthusiasm from the commission.
“There’s not going to be a lot of pedestrian access there,” said Commissioner Joe Baldi. “We’re not getting much in return.”
“I think the public benefit that allows us to grant exceptions is not enough to overlook all the exceptions he’s asking for,” added Commissioner John Bennett.
Commissioner John Kocisko said the plan did not appear to be very different from the one presented to the commission in December.
“I don’t think there’s been any more benefit added to the community from when we had this discussion before,” he said.
In 2005 a condominium plan was proposed for the same site, generating concerns and objections from neighbors. In 2008 the City Council approved 58 condominium units for the 50-foot-tall building, but it was never constructed and five vacant homes have remained on the property ever since.
Only seven citizens attended the Jan. 22 public hearing before the Planning and Zoning Commission, a noticeable change from meetings held in 2005 and 2006 on the previous development plan which drew crowds to City Hall.
William Glennon, one of the neighbors who spoke out against the condominium development, spoke of his concerns with the new proposal.
“For many years flooding has been a major issue along Northwest Highway and areas north of that point,” he said. “We simply cannot have as many residences as is the case for this proposed apartment complex unless something is done with the infrastructure, both sewers and water mains.”
Glennon also said increased traffic remains a concern.