WNA Long Range Plan
LONG-RANGE PLAN FOR THE WRIGHTWOOD NEIGHBORHOOD
Table of Contents
I. CURRENT CONDITIONS.
A. Existing Zoning and Use.
B. Demographics and History.
C. Current Significant Community Issues.
II. LAND USE PLANNING GUIDELINES AND RECOMMENDATIONS.
A. General Guidelines.
B. Residential Guidelines.
C. Business Guidelines.
D. Institution Guidelines.
E. Parks and Open Space Guidelines.
III. TRAFFIC AND TRANSPORTATION GUIDELINES.
A. Crime and Policing
B. City Services.
C. Events & Festivals.
V. STRATEGIES FOR IMPLEMENTATION.
APPENDIX A: Current Zoning Map.
APPENDIX B: Wrightwood Special Districts (zoning overlays).
APPENDIX C: Master Plan for Major Streets: Diversey, Fullerton, Halsted, Lincoln.
APPENDIX D: Master Plan for residential streets.
Since 1962, the Wrightwood Neighbors Association (“WNA”) has served as the community organization for the Wrightwood neighborhood – the portion of Chicago’s north side bounded by Diversey Parkway on the north, Halsted Street on the east, Fullerton Avenue on the south, and Lakewood Avenue on the west. Wrightwood is currently part of Chicago’s Lincoln Park community and WNA is one of seven neighborhood associations under the umbrella of the Lincoln Park Conservation Association.
This Long Range Plan has been written and adopted by the WNA to help guide our decision-making and to serve as an expression of community opinion to developers, land owners, residents and businesses, as well as to the aldermen and other City of Chicago officials serving Wrightwood. The Plan describes the vision and views of the community for our future. We hope it will guide the continually changing physical characteristics, demographics and character of our neighborhood.
WNA is looking to maintain a vibrant urban community where people live, shop, play and send their children to school. It is our hope to continue to develop Wrightwood as a place with a strong sense of community, diversity and heritage – a community families are proud to call “home.” Our community contains a mix of residential, commercial and institutional uses that generally do not exceed four stories in height. There are some manufacturing facilities that date from the time when the neighborhood had a much different character. We encourage new development where it respects the current conditions and character of our community and helps bring value to our neighborhood.
WNA continues to be actively involved in our community. For example, WNA’s planning committee reviews development and renovation plans, the schools committee works to improve our schools and encourage neighbors to use them, the parks committee works to maintain and improve our park space. The Taste of Lincoln Avenue festival each summer generates thousands of dollars which goes directly to institutions, organizations and worthwhile causes within Wrightwood and to entities outside our boundaries where such contributions benefit our neighborhood. In the last ten years, WNA has donated more than $500,000 to local schools, parks, non-profit organizations and other groups in and around our community from the Taste of Lincoln Avenue.
In 1977, WNA adopted a Long Range Plan that guided our community’s development for almost 25 years. Since the 1977 Plan, the demographics of Wrightwood have changed, there have been three major rezoning initiatives and the City of Chicago has passed both residential and business height restrictions. This document replaces the 1977 WNA plan and all other WNA policy statements to date. It is our intent that this document will be used as a reference as the City of Chicago rewrites its zoning code and implements new zoning provisions.
Of course, no document can anticipate every situation or potential opportunity. This Plan is the result of lengthy discussions and deliberations of the WNA Planning Committee. It reflects the opinions and sentiment of the WNA Board and membership. We thank all who participated in the process and send special thanks to the aldermen serving our community, 43rd Ward Ald. Vi Daley and 32nd Ward Ald. Ted Matlak, and their staff for their contributions to this Plan.
It is our intent that this be a working document, updated as necessary to reflect the changing nature of the neighborhood and character of the community. Individual questions and comments about this plan should be addressed to: President, Wrightwood Neighbors Association, P.O. Box 147179, Chicago, IL 60614-7179, or sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Wrightwood Neighbors Association.
I. CURRENT CONDITIONS.
To understand this Plan and its recommendations and prescriptions for growth, it is important to understand the current conditions of the neighborhood. This can best be illustrated by a current land use and a current zoning map.
A. EXISTING ZONING AND USE. The current zoning map for Wrightwood is reproduced as Appendix A. In addition to the City of Chicago zoning code, Wrightwood is governed by zoning overlays (the “Wrightwood Special Districts”) set forth in §14-42-120 of the City of Chicago Municipal Code. A map of the Wrightwood Special Districts is reproduced as Appendix B. Among other things, the Wrightwood Special Districts restrict the height of residential buildings, require entrances to face the street and allow exceptions and variances in certain specified circumstances. The Wrightwood Special Districts take precedence over the zoning code for areas shown on the map.
The map of the Wrightwood Special Districts at Appendix B shows usage of all property in the Special Districts as of October 2001. Within the Wrightwood Special Districts, the height of buildings is restricted to 38 feet in areas designated R-4 and to 42 feet in other areas. However, the City of Chicago zoning administrator may approve an increase in building height within the Special Districts of up to 10% if consistent with the heights of other buildings on the block, and the zoning board of appeals may approve a variation of up to 20% in the same circumstances. The Special Districts also require all new residential construction to have a principal entrance oriented toward the public street, and that all parking be located and accessed off the alley, except where the zoning lot lacks alley access and an exception or variance has been granted.
Note: If the City eliminates Special Districts as part of its revision to the Zoning Code, WNA strongly believes existing height restrictions in Wrightwood should be reflected in the new code designations and also that other provisions of the current Wrightwood Special Districts be retained in substance (e.g., requiring a principal entrance oriented toward the public street and requiring all parking be located and accessed off the alley, except where the zoning lot lacks alley access and an exception or variance has been granted).
B. DEMOGRAPHICS AND HISTORY. The demographics of Wrightwood have changed dramatically in the past decade: a sizeable increase in the median income and wealth of residents; rapidly rising housing costs; the renovation and increase in cost of residential housing in Wrightwood and surrounding neighborhoods; the expansion of major institutions in the vicinity (e.g., Children’s Memorial Hospital and DePaul University); and the growth of restaurants, taverns, theatres and other entertainment venues. Yet despite the renovation and new development, empty storefronts exist along the neighborhood’s primary business streets and some residential buildings are in need of improvement.
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the Lincoln Park neighborhood is primarily Caucasian, and has a population 5.3% black, 3.6% Asian and 5.0% Hispanic (Note: U.S. Census numbers are not available for the specific Wrightwood boundaries and therefore must be presumed similar to the greater Lincoln Park area). With a total population of 64,320, Lincoln Park had a population density of 20,748 people per square mile.
In 1960, the median age of the Lincoln Park population was approximately 34; 65% had less than a high school education; fewer than half of employed persons were engaged in white-collar occupations. The area’s housing stock was old with 98% of the housing units built prior to 1940. In the time since then, the community has experienced significant growth and gentrification. According to the 1990 U.S. census, the population has received more formal education and had different types of occupations. Fully 89% of employed persons had white-collar jobs and most – 59% of the total employed population – worked in professional or managerial positions.
Perhaps more significantly, though, there has been a steady decline in the proportions of both young persons and seniors in the area and a corresponding increase in the proportion of young adults. The population today is marked by smaller households, increased numbers of non-family households and single person households, and couples with fewer children living at home. In the year 2000, single-person households comprised fully 30% of the area’s population. From 1960 to 1990, the percentage of family households in the community declined from 60% of all households to less than 30% and the percentage of the population living in family households declined from 78% to 44%. In 1990, 80% of the population was adults between the ages of 20 and 64.
The area’s total population has remained relatively unchanged since 1990. Many residents still have the incorrect perception that the Chicago Public School system – except for a few elite school programs – is generally of poor quality. Fortunately this trend appears to be reversing as the community discovers and appearances the high quality education in our neighborhood schools. Thus, a large percentage of children depart the community for the suburbs between age five and ten, the time at which they enter school. Private schools and parochial schools in the area have excellent reputations but accept relatively few students and are very expensive.
Between 1960 and 2000, the number of housing units west of the lakefront remained relatively stable – declining from 26,256 units to 23,216 units. Given the increasing cost of housing and the increasingly limited number of rental units available, people who intend to remain in the area are increasingly likely to purchase their home. Available rental housing decreased from 1990 to 2000.
Like the rest of the City, the neighborhood is aging and the housing, facilities and services reflect this population shift. Young adults, many establishing their first household, created a demand for upscale housing, dining, entertainment and other accouterments of a cosmopolitan lifestyle. Much new housing construction resulted. In 1960, 98% of the housing units were built prior to 1939, by 2000 the number was down to 52%. As the population ages, if these persons remain in the community, the nature and scope of the characteristics that are considered attractive may change as well. The interests of homeowner convenience, such as the availability of on street parking and noise abatement are concerns of late, as are the quality of schools. Today many believe the locus of non-tourist entertainment is shifting away from the Lincoln Park towards neighborhoods like Wicker Park, Ravenswood and the Near Westside.
C. CURRENT SIGNIFICANT COMMUNITY ISSUES. The following are some of the primary issues affecting the neighborhood, and thus the focus of the WNA, as of the writing of this Plan:
1. City of Chicago revisions to its zoning ordinance.
2. Increased traffic congestion and lack of parking.
3. Institutional expansion (e.g., Children’s Memorial Hospital & DePaul University).
4. Ability to attract and retain viable neighborhood-oriented product retail tenants.
5. Increasing property taxes.
6. Attracting neighborhood residents to our local public schools.
7. Maintaining diversity of the neighborhood (ethnic, racial and economic).
8. Public transportation improvements and usage.
II. LAND USE PLANNING GUIDELINES AND RECOMMENDATIONS.
WNA believes in retaining a mix of residential and appropriate business and institutional use in the community. New construction and renovation in the neighborhood should conform to the policy statements described in this Plan.
A. GENERAL GUIDELINES. The following policy statements apply to all land use in the Wrightwood neighborhood. Specific recommendations applicable to residential, business, institutional and other uses follow in subsequent sections.
Policy Statement 1: General use of individual streets.
1.1 It is the general intent of WNA to encourage retail product businesses on the four major streets in the neighborhood – Diversey, Fullerton, Halsted and Lincoln (the “Major Streets”), rather than on other streets (the “Residential Streets”), until the Major Streets are saturated with businesses and pedestrian traffic. That is, WNA would prefer to drive retail traffic to the Major Streets to help them and the neighborhood flourish. Doing so requires minimizing business traffic on residential streets so consumers are incented to go to the Major Streets to shop, eat, view entertainment and obtain services.
1.2 WNA’s planning committee will (has) develop(ed) a master plan for use of each Major Street, which will be attached as Appendix C as completed. These Master Plans will describe in greater detail how WNA recommends the streets be developed.
1.3 WNA’s planning committee will also develop a master plan for use of the primary Residential Streets, which will be attached as Appendix D as completed. These Master Plans will describe in greater detail how WNA recommends the streets be developed.
1.4 New business to serve the community is encouraged on the Major Streets. Lincoln Avenue and Halsted Street should remain pedestrian-oriented commercial streets with active uses during day and evening hours.
1.5 Fullerton and Diversey should be mixed business and residential. Retail is encouraged at intersections with other Major Streets so it is concentrated. WNA understands these streets are primarily automobile dominated. Retail space along these parkways must be consistent with a well-developed streetscape plan in which the neighborhood has participated. WNA is generally opposed to first floor residential use on Major Streets.
1.6 Racine and Sheffield should remain primarily residential. All new construction on these streets should be residential, except businesses may be permitted at the intersections of Racine with Diversey, Fullerton and Wrightwood/Lincoln and of Sheffield with Fullerton and Lincoln. Zoning recommendations on Sheffield will take into consideration the fact that the properties border the elevated tracks.
1.7 All other areas are recommended for residential use, with the provision that existing responsible businesses are encouraged to remain.
1.8 WNA generally favors use of business streets for business and use of residential streets for residential uses. In general, it is inappropriate to place a business in the midst of a block that is primarily residential and inappropriate to place residential housing in the midst of a block that is primarily business. Mingling of business and residential (e.g., a Starbucks in a residential neighborhood) takes traffic from the business streets and harms the development of viable retail and other business along corridors WNA desires to develop. The primary exception to this is buildings along Major Streets that provide for residential use above a first-floor business. Existing businesses on Residential Streets are exceptions because they were in place prior to adoption of this Plan. Zoning should be designed accordingly.
Policy Statement 2: Consistency and planning – Streetscapes and classifications. As a general policy, WNA believes in the importance of a unified design for architecture and appearance of Major Streets and Residential Streets. This does not mean every building must be the same, but does require careful thought and planning in construction and renovation of buildings. Consistency in building materials, architectural styles, setbacks, building heights, window styles, decorative features, etc., is key to maintaining integrity in a community. Streetscapes where buildings have the same general (and tasteful) appearance as those around them are attractive to residents and visitors and create the perception of community and consistency. They thereby encourage more traffic and make the streetscape a better, more welcoming place to spend time. Streetscapes and planning on residential streets is also an important part of preserving the character, uniqueness and value of the community. Improving streetscapes is a constant and consistently changing need.
2.1 Zoning code changes. WNA believes zoning classifications should be assigned to buildings in Wrightwood consistent with this Plan. In addition, WNA believes the City of Chicago zoning code should create categories that give neighborhoods more flexibility to reach desired results. For example, the code should include a classification for green space or open space so our parks can be preserved. The code should also include a classification in between the R-3 and R-4 classes and between the R-4 and R-5 classes of the current code which would allow slightly lower height restrictions to accommodate some desirable uses (e.g., single family homes with income apartments or larger projects compatible with the neighborhood) and increased FAR, without permitting height and density beyond that which fits with the community. There should be a retail zoning classification for “mom & pop” retailers selling a product to allow the Cook County Assessor to tax these retailers at a lower rate based on their desirability to the community.
2.2 Changes in use. WNA generally opposes land use changes from residential to commercial/business, industrial or institutional uses. Every effort should be made to preserve existing housing inventory and character of the neighborhood. Exceptions will be made when it is in keeping with the character, quality and desired economic base of the community.
2.3 Existing vacant land and development/improvement. Existing vacant land should be improved for uses consistent with adjacent property and consistent with this Plan. Where appropriate, vacant land should be set aside for additional public open space.
2.4 Tax assessment to encourage renovation and consistency. Decisions about whether to renovate or build new are left to property owners, but if a property owner decides to build new, then new construction and renovation should match the old in quality and character. Tax assessment policies should provide economic incentive to renovate, and thereby preserve, existing buildings rather than demolish them. Additional tax incentives should be developed to encourage restoration, particularly historic restoration.
Note: WNA believes the demolition of centennial homes (WNA homes more than 100 years old) can have a negative impact on our community. Over-development of inferior quality housing (whether new or rehabbed) detracts from the quality of the neighborhood and puts at risk the future of our housing stock. While not every building should be maintained merely because it is old, WNA strongly encourages policies for rehabbing centennial houses, through tax incentives, etc., where rehab can preserve the character and quality of the original structure.
2.5 Replacing vacancies. When a non-conforming building and/or a non-conforming use becomes vacant or ceases to exist, any new building or use should be conforming and no further non-conforming building or use should be allowed in that space without WNA’s support.
2.6 Streetlights, sidewalks and curbs. Existing streetlights, sidewalks and curbs on Major Streets need to be upgraded to match the streetscape program that has already been completed on Lincoln Avenue between Fullerton and Diversey.
2.7 Widen sidewalks. Sidewalks on Major Streets should be widened to provide for additional landscaping and increased pedestrian traffic and for the opportunity to enliven the streetscape with outdoor cafes, benches, etc.
2.8 Landscaping. WNA favors installation of trees along Major Streets, except where the width of the sidewalks may not permit trees. In lieu of trees, hanging baskets and planter boxes should be considered. WNA encourages partnerships with local institutions, businesses and residents to improve neighborhood landscaping.
Policy Statement 3: Residential density. WNA is conscious of the need to draw a careful balance between allowing new residential construction in the community to promote and support businesses while avoiding overcrowding and the challenges it could bring. It is the community’s desire to continue the tradition of residential property and to limit residential units on streets other than the Major Streets to a mix of single-family homes and smaller (three or four story where consistent with height of surrounding buildings; no more than four story) apartment buildings, condominiums and townhomes.
3.1 Higher density development should be located near public transportation stations to help discourage dependency on automobiles. Traffic in Lincoln Park has increased in the last 30 years, primarily because more residents drive more cars, more often, and visitors to the neighborhood also drive.
3.2 FAR counts. All livable space within a property, including basements, should be counted as square footage for FAR requirements so that, among other things, parking requirements tied to FAR accurately reflect need in the community. If such elements are not counted, appropriate adjustments should be made in classification of property. This should be strictly enforced. WNA encourages the City to develop a consistent way to define building volume, including addressing minimum basement heights.
Policy Statement 4: Height and capacity. In addition to restrictions imposed by City of Chicago ordinance(s) and the Wrightwood Special Districts, WNA favors both height and volume consistent with surrounding buildings. Within Wrightwood, the height of buildings on residential streets is governed by City Code provisions that limit building height to 38 feet, except that within the Wrightwood Special Districts (see Appendix B) height limits are 38 feet in areas designated R-4 and 42 feet in areas designated R-5. As noted earlier, Wrightwood Special Districts allow the zoning administrator to approve an increase in building height of up to 10% if consistent with the heights of other buildings on the block, and allows the zoning board of appeals to approve a variation of up to 20% in the same circumstances (see Chicago Municipal Code, §14-42-120). These restrictions serve the neighborhood well and should not materially change under the new zoning code, provided however that additional provisions which allow greater flexibility and neighborhood input without loosening the height standards are encouraged. Height restrictions along commercial streets vary and should be made consistent with this Plan.
Policy Statement 5: Appearance, aesthetics, construction/building materials, decoration and ornamentation. Visual simplicity is the hallmark of the neighborhood. As a general policy, WNA generally favors designs and appearance that are consistent with or improve the quality and character of the vistas and streetscapes in the neighborhood. New construction and renovation should enhance the appearance of the neighborhood, not detract from it. The guidelines in this Policy Statement offer general preferences for maintaining quality and character consistent with properties in the neighborhood.
5.1 Favored designs and materials. The Wrightwood neighborhood consists primarily of buildings that are wood frame and brick or have siding. Construction and renovation is encouraged to continue use of these materials. Stone is often used effectively with brick as an accent.
5.2 Disfavored designs and materials. Use of concrete block or regular block as a building material on any side of a building is discouraged. Split face block and cinder block are disfavored on building exteriors. WNA discourages the use of different materials on the front vs. the side or back of buildings. Split-face block, even if used on the side of a building (disfavored), should not be visible from the street and should match the color and texture of the street façade.
5.3 New construction, renovation — consistency. With visual simplicity as the hallmark of the neighborhood, construction and renovation needs to be respectful and contextual with its surroundings. While it is understood that architecture needs to evolve over time, WNA favors designs that retain the consistency of their surroundings and add value that fits with the character of surrounding properties.
5.4 No solid walls adjacent to sidewalks. Solid walls are unappealing visually and break up the streetscape. In addition, they provide a hiding place for burglars.
5.5 Sunken patios or “pits” in front of buildings. WNA opposes these. They consume what would otherwise be greenspace and often become a place for unattractive storage that rarely enlivens the neighborhood or contributes to the streetscape. All front yards should be at grade, not below.
5.6 Overhanging canopies and balconies. WNA opposes canopies, balconies and other ornamental features that extend over the sidewalk or public right-of-way for safety, aesthetic and other reasons. Such features may be acceptable where they add to the streetscape in a manner that reflects street-wide planning and a design consistent with neighborhood aesthetics.
5.7 Tree planting and landscaping. WNA recommends an extensive tree-planting program be carried out where trees are missing on all Major Streets, and on residential streets where not intruding on residents’ property, including on Sheffield. The City and property owners should cooperate on parkway beautification. City should include in its tree-selection list a variety of mid-sized trees appropriate for our neighborhood, which can be adopted by Wrightwood members. Neighbors will be encouraged to maintain newly planted trees. Trees should be trimmed so as to not to block streetlights and/or make streets dark and unsafe.
5.8 Gnomes and gargoyles. Unsightly gnomes and gargoyles atop ornate spires are generally inconsistent with the character of the community and disfavored.
5.9 Fencing. On new construction, chain link fence or other fencing not consistent with the character of neighboring homes is generally disfavored, while wrought iron or combination of iron and brick are favored. Neighbors should be considerate of the traditions and patterns of their block. This includes having an open front yard with no fencing.
5.10 Space for trash cans. All property must include space for trash cans adjacent to the alley but within the property line. Developments should not be designed to encourage residents or businesses to illegally place trash receptacles in the public space in the alleys.
5.11 Parkway fences and parkway landscaping. Short fences and planter beds that enhance greenspace near the curb are useful to help deter humans and pets from destroying the grass. However, such improvements should be kept far enough from the curb to avoid restricting opening of car doors.
5.12 Entryways. Principle entryways for residential and commercial property should face the street and not the side of a building. Commercial storefronts should be aesthetically pleasing to enhance the streetscape.
5.13 Landmarking. WNA recognizes that assigning landmark status to a building can provide incentives to the property owner to repair or renovate the property and adds overview of the process, which supports WNA’s ability to have input. We also recognize the limitations landmark status places on a property owner and the risk that it provides a disincentive to much-need renovation, repair or investment by delaying approval and adding to the cost of such work. We look to balance the interests of the community with the interests of the property owner and will support requests for property and other tax incentives for the property owner. Any request for a landmark district or landmark status should undergo an extensive community review process.
Policy Statement 6: Lighting, signs and billboards. WNA is opposed to billboards, flashing signs, wall signs and neon signs, but may tolerate exceptions where consistent with the surrounding streetscape plan or in other circumstances that promote neighborhood value. Where used, such signs should be compatible with the design and scale of the neighborhood and should not be excessively large or bright.
6.1 Street lighting. Street lighting should be uniform and should be colorful and bright. Where not unduly intrusive on homes or apartments, additional streetlights should be provided on the pedestrian side of the light pole to provide for pedestrian safety. Trees should be trimmed to assure adequate street lighting.
6.2 Neon. Neon signage and lighting is generally disfavored because it is inconsistent with the character of surrounding environment or the desired streetscape goals of the neighborhood.
6.3 Banners. Street banners on light poles should be used to promote the neighborhood and its businesses.
Policy Statement 7: Parking lots, parking structures and garages. WNA supports the following standards for garages and other parking structures.
7.1 On Residential Streets, garages and parking should not be located underneath a building, except when alleys are unavailable to facilitate access to parking. Garages located underneath buildings result in front and back yards that are paved over for driveways.
7.2 Should not be located in front of a building, whether residential or business. Garages in front of buildings result in blank walls on the streetscape and vehicles parking over sidewalks and impair pedestrian use and safety.
7.3 Should not extend to the full width of a lot line; should have a side set back at least two and one-half feet to allow room for garbage cans, snow removal, and emergency access. The garage should be set back at least eight feet from the centerline of the alley.
7.4 Should match the architecture of the building. No concrete or split face block visible from the alley.
7.5 All garages should have easily visible addresses.
7.6 No curb cuts, except when alleys are unavailable to facilitate access to parking and where in the judgment of WNA or its planning committee, the curb cut provides some benefit to the neighborhood (such as producing more parking than is currently available or enhancing neighborhood aesthetics). Curb cuts take away desperately needed street parking. The curb cut should provide more off-street parking than is taken away on-street. Also, cuts with steep slopes endanger pedestrians and should be avoided.
7.7 In general, parking lots should adhere to the City of Chicago’s landscape ordinance and be consistent with the streetscape. Additionally, parking garages on Major Streets should provide retail on the first floor and consistent with the streetscape. Lots should be designed to minimize any negative impact on adjacent or nearby residential housing and residents. Items to be considered include noise reduction, aesthetic façade, hours of operation and providing light-blocking devices.
7.8 WNA supports the City program that provides free demolition of frame garages in disrepair.
Policy Statement 8: Land under elevated tracks. WNA recommends the land under the elevated tracks be cleaned of debris, landscaped, well lit and made available for community use. To address parking concerns in the neighborhood, WNA would support appropriate portions of this land to be used for parking, provided adequate security and lighting are provided. Spaces may be metered to allow use by persons using public transportation. If consistent with the foregoing, adjacent residents should be able to use spaces adjacent to their residences.
Policy Statement 9: Vacant or deteriorating buildings. Action should be taken by appropriate City agencies to have deteriorated buildings improved (or as a last resort demolished). Vacant buildings should be put into productive use rather than be allowed to stand empty and deteriorate. Vacant lots should be kept clear of all garbage and be protected against fly dumping.
Policy Statement 10: WNA involvement. To help enforce these guidelines and to guarantee community input, WNA recommends that it be consulted and its support required before permitting any zoning variance, building permit or other project or plan which relates to the issues addressed any Policy Statement in this Plan. When desirable, developers should be required to commit plans and promises to WNA in writing and such agreements should be enforced though adoption at public hearing, signing of a development agreement or other appropriate mechanism to facilitate enforceability. It is WNA’s experience that discussions between developers, owners or institutions and the community result in better projects. WNA encourages posting on the affected property of all notices concerning zoning, permits and liquor licenses, and requiring notification of all neighbors within 500 feet of any proposed change or construction.
B. RESIDENTIAL GUIDELINES.
Policy Statement 11: Character. WNA recognizes the importance of preserving the character and tradition of the community and its residents. Chicagoans have been drawn to Wrightwood since the 1870s for its neighborly-ness, charm and convenience. Wrightwood has been home to people from broad and diverse backgrounds and is proud of its rich history of working families living together in a community that is safe, friendly and conveniently located. WNA opposes practices, plans or proposals that jeopardize the continuity, neighborly-ness or character of the neighborhood. We also oppose plans or practices that are aimed at or result in forcing residents from the community. WNA supports home occupations that do not negatively impact the community. The advantage of having people at home during the day is they act as “eyes on the street” and also provide daytime customers to local businesses.
Policy Statement 12: Height and density. High-rise buildings and four-plus-one type buildings are typically inconsistent with the character of the community and are thus opposed.
12.1 Four flats. Four-flat buildings on single lots, where inconsistent with current buildings, are discouraged, even if they otherwise meeting code requirements.
12.2 Three flats. Three-flat buildings must be consistent with neighboring buildings and with the character and architecture of the surrounding block (e.g., may be inappropriate in a block of all single family homes). WNA reviews such buildings on a case-by-case basis for consistency with this Plan and with the desires of the surrounding neighbors.
12.3 Duplexes and single-family homes. Generally encouraged, except on Major Streets. WNA reviews such buildings on a case-by-case basis for consistency with this Plan and with the desires of the surrounding neighbors.
12.4 FAR counts. Basements and all other livable space within a property should be counted as square footage for FAR requirements so that, among other things, parking requirements tied to FAR accurately reflect need in the community. If such elements are not counted, appropriate adjustments should be made in classification of property.
Policy Statement 13: Affordable housing. If the community is to continue to attract young adults, retain senior citizens and maintain its ambience, it must have a large pool of housing available at prices that may be high, but still affordable. According to the 2000 U.S. census, rental units still comprise nearly 60% of the occupied housing stock – a considerably smaller percentage than in 1990. The reduction in available rental housing in the community, largely due to new construction and the conversion of older rental buildings to condominiums, and the increased costs of new construction and increased property taxes, results in increased rental prices followed by the conversion of more rental units to owner occupied housing. Rental apartments and affordable for-sale housing units are encouraged, in locations and density consistent with the goals of this Plan, to help restore neighborhood diversity. Condominiums and town homes that help bring economic diversity are similarly encouraged.
13.1 Senior housing. WNA welcomes senior housing in the community. Such housing should be maintained to standards consistent with the surrounding community and should attract and serve the residents. Senior housing should be used truly by seniors. Others, such as drug addicts, should not be permitted to take advantage of its affordability.
13.2 Affordable Housing. WNA encourages well-planned and supported Affordable Housing (defined, for purposes of this Plan, as rental housing affordable to persons at or below 80% of the median income of the City of Chicago and condominiums or homes affordable to those with income of 120% of the median income for the City of Chicago) to help maintain the diversity of the community, provided there is adequate parking and plans are consistent with density, architectural goals and limitations described elsewhere in this Plan.
13.3 Rental housing. In general, rental housing is encouraged provided there is adequate parking and plans are consistent with density, architectural goals and limitations described elsewhere in this Plan. WNA encourages tax incentives for new rental apartment buildings consistent with these goals and similarly encourages incentives to developers to set aside portions of each development for affordable rental housing.
13.4 Realistic tax rates. Increased property taxes have a potentially damaging impact on residential and commercial property. High property taxes drive out established residents, moderate-income residents and others who cannot afford high taxes and replace them with a population of residents whose commitment to the neighborhood seldom lasts more than three to five years. Inflated property taxes also harm the ability of small businesses to absorb the cost of doing business in our community. If we lose our businesses, people will live and shop elsewhere. Thus, WNA supports tax relief programs for landowners and small businesses that are willing to make or have already made a substantial and significant long-term commitment to the community.
Policy Statement 14: Restoration and consistency encouraged. The exterior architectural character of residential structures should be maintained or restored to original wherever possible (See Policy Statement 2.4). WNA offers Centennial Plaques to commemorate buildings in the neighborhood that are more than 100 years old.
14.1 Tax incentives. WNA supports tax incentives that encourage renovation, restoration and investment to retain the historic character of property in the community.
14.2 Existing industrial buildings. If industrial use is no longer viable, WNA is open to conversion of industrial loft buildings to residential uses with a reasonable number of units and adequate parking.
Policy Statement 15: Use of rooftops and balconies. WNA is opposed to balconies overhanging public way for safety and aesthetic reasons, among others. Rooftop decks and balconies should be set back to avoid being visible from the street or alley, in part because of danger to the street below.
Policy Statement 16: Mixed use. WNA is strongly opposed to residential use on the first floor of buildings on Lincoln and Halsted (and on other Major Streets where inconsistent with Policy Statement 1). We want to preserve the retail character of the street.
Policy Statement 17: Green space. Green space in back yards, front yards and rooftops is greatly encouraged. Green space is an amenity to the neighborhood and contributes to cleaner air. Breezeways connecting houses and garages are discouraged when they adversely affect neighbors’ property. Concrete yards are discouraged. Current public open space should be protected by an open space zoning classification and new open space developed for the enjoyment of the entire community. Existing parks should be enhanced and maintained.
Policy Statement 18: Tax Assessments. WNA supports modification of, or special exceptions to, the tax code to help long-standing community residents reduce the burden of additional property taxes. WNA encourages the Cook County Assessor to expand the long-term homeowner assessment reduction to include additional WNA residents who need assistance to retain their homes.
Policy Statement 19: Parking spaces for residential buildings. WNA prefers a minimum of one to two parking spaces per unit for residential buildings based upon size of individual units. WNA generally prefers parking spaces that are owned by the residential unit owner (as opposed to requiring the owners to lease or purchase spaces separately, for example). Additional parking space may be required depending on size of units, location, guest parking needs and other factors. More parking should be required for large-scale residential property. In all cases, parking spaces should be wide enough to accommodate sport utility vehicles and other wide vehicles with ease. WNA encourages use of shared parking spaces among uses that do not conflict (e.g., business during the day, residential at night), as a means of obtaining greater parking availability. Tandem or stacked parking by the same unit owner is also encouraged. Larger projects should include provisions for guest parking. These requirements may be reduced if project is close to public transportation.
C. BUSINESS GUIDELINES.
Policy Statement 20: Types of businesses. Respecting the fact that much of the neighborhood is residential, we believe businesses in the neighborhood should be those that respond to the needs of the residents of the community. Heavy manufacturing uses that create nuisance or disruption of the neighborhood are not appropriate, but existing manufacturing has fit well with the neighborhood and is encouraged to remain. The community is not designed to handle commerce or entertainment that attracts masses of people from other parts of the City; our streets and traffic patterns are not capable of handling the traffic. In an ideal world, WNA would like more art galleries, book stores, antique stores, clothing boutiques, shoe stores, grocery stores, specialty and gourmet food shops, gourmet grocery stores, florists, card and gift shops and other businesses that serve the community. We would like to see less of those stores that we already are saturated with, including beauty salons, dry cleaners, insurance agencies, general office space and bars.
20.1 No use that offends community standards. Businesses that offend community standards should be discouraged or prevented, if possible. Such uses include, for example, gaming rooms, massage parlors, tattoo parlors, obscene or adult-oriented bookstores and racetrack betting services.
20.2 Retail not service businesses. Service businesses such as real estate brokers, medical offices, financial planners or insurance companies are discouraged from the ground level of buildings on Major Streets until a retail shopping segment of the Major Streets is well-established. Such businesses are welcome in our neighborhood, but should be located so as not to discourage retail shopping, restaurants and theaters. Businesses that sell a product are encouraged.
20.3 All-night operations. 24-hour businesses are generally discouraged except that the two existing 24-hour convenience stores on Lincoln at Schubert and Wrightwood, the existing gas station at the intersection of Wrightwood and Halsted the intersection of Fullerton and Seminary, and the existing restaurant on Lincoln Avenue adjacent to the Biograph Theater, are desirable and should remain to retain the existing balance of convenience vs. ambience in the neighborhood.
20.4 Drive-through businesses and fast-food restaurants. Drive-thru businesses are discouraged. Among other reasons, the neighborhood cannot handle the traffic. Also, the design of buildings for these purposes often breaks up the streetscape and discourages pedestrian activity. WNA is opposed to fast food restaurants and encourages non-chain restaurants. This will help maintain the unique character of our Major Streets.
20.5 Taverns and alcoholic beverages. WNA believes the number of taverns and places serving alcohol in the neighborhood is sufficient. While we support businesses currently in the neighborhood as long as they comply with City ordinances and the concerns of their immediate neighbors, WNA generally opposes additional liquor licenses with the exception of reasonable licenses for restaurant businesses along Lincoln and Halsted. WNA otherwise opposes new liquor licenses and opposes all 4 a.m. liquor licenses even for existing businesses.
20.6 Mid-box retail on Major Streets. WNA generally opposes Mid-Box retailers because of the traffic they bring and the potential problems and conflicts they create on our already over-crowded community. However, in certain locations, with proper planning, the Major Streets may be suitable for a “Mid-Box” retail store to anchor a block (i.e., at or near an intersection of Major Streets) and attract shoppers that will help visit other community businesses. “Mid-Box” retailers are stores that require more space than a boutique, but are not as big as a large retailer like Home Depot or Target. Examples: specialty grocery stores (e.g., Dean and DeLuca’s), Old Navy, Restoration Hardware, Walgreen’s, Banana Republic and J Crew. Mid-Box retailers use between 5,000 and 20,000 square feet. They can act as a anchor to encourage additional product oriented retail stores. Preference is given to retailers that will not drive existing local businesses from the community and will not generate excessive additional traffic. Any Mid-Box retailer must provide parking and allow those who park to shop at other businesses in the community – not just at the Mid-Box.
20.7 Big Box Retailers. While the big box retailers currently located outside Wrightwood – primarily on Clybourn and Elston avenues – provide needed services to the community, they take business away from those retailers that might otherwise locate on WNA’s Major Streets. When any new big box store is proposed the City should analyze the impact on our local businesses and should not approve such request without WNA’s support. The big box stores should be assessed for tax purposes as equals of our local business and should not be given unfair advantage.
20.8 Sidewalk cafes. Small (less than 20-seat per building) sidewalk cafes are attractive and add to our environment and are encouraged on Major Streets. They are discouraged on all other streets without the consent of at least 80% of property owners who live within two blocks. Sidewalk cafés must serve food during all open hours and those that serve alcohol should not allow persons to sit outdoors without eating. Hours of operation on Major Streets should be no later than 10 p.m. Sunday – Wednesday or 11 p.m. Thursday – Saturday, provided however that business which demonstrate (e.g., in a one-year trial) they can operate a sidewalk café without disrupting the neighborhood should be allowed to extend hours to 11 p.m. Sunday – Wednesday and midnight Thursday – Saturday. Hours of operation should be earlier in cases where there is a likelihood for neighborhood disruption. Hours of operation on Residential Streets should always be earlier. Each sidewalk café should be reviewed on an annual basis to determine whether renewal of permit or license is appropriate.
Policy Statement 21: Building design. The following applies:
21.1 Consistency. WNA believes in the importance of a unified design for architecture and appearance of Major Streets. This does not mean every building must be the same, but does require thought and planning in construction, renovation and decoration. Storefronts with a tasteful, unified theme and appearance are attractive to residents and guests, and thereby encourage traffic.
21.1.1 WNA encourages development of a unifying street theme for Lincoln Avenue and Halsted Street.
21.1.2 WNA encourages development and adoption of appropriate guidelines for signage, paint colors, awnings and window lettering, and would consider matching funds for businesses adhering to appropriate guidelines.
21.2 No setbacks or strip malls. Storefronts on Major Streets should be built at or near the front of the property line, with parking inside, on top or in the rear. Retail space should be pulled out to the lot line. Developments that have parking lots in front should be discouraged and avoided.
21.3 Open views. Businesses on the ground floor should have open views of the street. Large blinds or shades, tempered glass and other materials that block the view into the store are discouraged. Businesses that relate well to the pedestrian environment of the neighborhood will be more successful than a business that turns its back to the community.
21.4 Second floor businesses. Businesses may be located above the first floor on Major Streets.
21.5 No buildings designed for fast food. Fast food franchise establishments or similar uses should not be permitted to construct freestanding buildings. Too often when such a facility closes, the building is unsuitable for other tenants and sits vacant.
21.6 Signage. Attractive, tasteful signage is generally approved for businesses. The City of Chicago is encouraged to work with WNA to develop a coordinated signage plan that adopts a uniform look and feel to area signage. The City is also encouraged to adopt standards that reduce the maximum size and type of signage for Major Streets and restrict signage on other streets to those that do not adversely affect the neighborhood.
Policy Statement 22: Exception for existing businesses. Notwithstanding anything in this Plan to the contrary, WNA generally supports existing businesses serving the community when they comply with City ordinances and concerns of the immediate neighbors, even if they are in areas zoned residential or conflict with another policy statement in this Plan.
Policy Statement 23: Parking spaces for buildings. Retail and other business buildings must provide parking sufficient for the number of cars expected. For new construction or substantial renovation, a detailed traffic study should be provided to determine appropriate parking needs. Preferably, parking should be free or discounted.
23.1 Shared use of spaces. Shared use of spaces (e.g., by retail during the day and residents in the evening) is encouraged but should not reduce the amount of parking required by the zoning code.
23.2 Public parking structure. If tastefully designed, properly located and consistent with the architecture and character of the community, WNA would support a parking structure on a Major Street to ease neighborhood parking and support retail. The first floor should contain retail consistent with the streetscape plan and the operator should provide discounted parking for all businesses on the street. Parking should be available for off-peak resident parking. Parking structures should be designed to best avoid negative impact on adjacent residents.
23.3 New technology. New technology and parking innovations should be explored, where appropriate and not unsightly, to address parking concerns. Among potential technologies offering new solutions are structures that allow surface parking lots to park cars on three levels that rotate as the appropriate car owner’s needs.
23.4 Commercial surface parking lots. WNA may encourage commercial surface parking lots that are part of an overall streetscape or scheme to attract businesses and neighborhood services or on commercial streets as noted in Section 23.2. In general, surface parking lots are held to a high standard because of their potential to disrupt the streetscape, but their necessity to assist businesses leads to many exceptions. Surface lots must adhere to the City of Chicago’s Landscape Ordinance.
D. INSTITUTION GUIDELINES.
Policy Statement 24: Preserve existing balance. The large institutions in the immediate area, such as educational, banking, religious, medical and health services, are part of the community and a major part of life in the Wrightwood neighborhood. Still, WNA resists the tendency to place the interest of one or more large institutions above those of the remaining parts of the community. In doing so, WNA hopes to remain a diversified and self-contained community, not a community centered and dependent upon one institution or interest. Large institutions are encouraged to make purchases from local businesses and to encourage their employees to shop in the neighborhood.
Policy Statement 25: Reasonable expansion and growth. Institutions in the area should not acquire additional property and should not demolish or materially charge the use of existing buildings on property they now own without input of the community and the WNA. Expansion of these institutions should be carefully controlled so construction is consistent with the character of the community and does not supplant the residential character of the neighborhood. Growth of the institution(s) should be monitored for its impact on traffic and other concerns that could overwhelm the community or create issues the community cannot absorb. Advisory boards with neighborhood participation should be established to help facilitate discussions between the institutions and the neighborhood. All expansion should include green space, appropriate landscaping and other benefits to the neighborhood.
Policy Statement 26: Shared parking. Institutions in the area should share available parking with residents when the institution does not require maximum capacity of such parking. Parking offered by such institutions to their users should be operated 24 hours for use of residents at times when not used by the institution. Institutions should construct new parking to accommodate all persons they bring to the neighborhood and should be required to update the number of spaces on a regular basis. Whenever possible, institutions should allow use of available parking by residents and businesses. Institutions are encouraged to increase effective capacity of garages through shared spacing, valet parking and other practices whenever possible.
E. PARKS AND OPEN SPACE GUIDELINES.
Policy Statement 27: Existing park space. WNA is proud of the existing park space in the neighborhood, but recognizes the need for additional open space. A well maintained, safe and centrally located park can act as a front yard for the entire Wrightwood neighborhood. Since backyard space is minimal, the preservation of public green space is paramount. The City should devote greater resources to the maintenance and monitoring of parks with special attention paid to safety and aesthetics. A new zoning classification for Open Space should be developed in the City’s zoning code.
27.1 Wiggly Field (Wrightwood’s Dog-Friendly, Chicago Park District Facility). Wiggly Field is unique and a credit to the members of the community who founded and support it. WNA supports the Wiggly Field Advisory Committee and its continued efforts to ensure the on-going success and operations of Wiggly Field. The City should continue to support this important project and dedicate the necessary maintenance dollars.
27.2 Jonquil Park. Equally important, Jonquil Park deserves the support of the neighbors and the City. Additional lighting, clean up and upkeep of the tennis courts should be supported by the City and by neighborhood businesses. WNA supports the recently formed Jonquil Park Advisory Council, which is dedicated to improving this neighborhood resource.
27.3 Supera playlot. The Supera playlot, built and created by WNA, has become an important asset for the neighbors it serves. The City should maintain and upgrade the playlot and its equipment on a regular basis.
27.4 Pocket parks. WNA and the Alderman should work with the Lincoln Park Chamber and Children’s Memorial Hospital to both beautify and find activities to enliven the pocket park at Lincoln, Halsted & Fullerton. This park is in need of a thorough landscaping upgrade. Ideas to improve the functionality of the park include art fairs, fruit stands or other licensed street vendors. A prominent water feature or sculpture would greatly enhance this park and help to identify it as a part of an important gateway to the greater Lincoln Park community.
27.5 Adjacent residential. New or renovated buildings adjacent to parks should provide balconies overlooking the park and encourage residents to watch over the park area.
Policy Statement 28: Additional park space. WNA encourages additional pocket parks, play lots and community gardens.
Policy Statement 29: Parkway maintenance and beautification. WNA encourages developers and homeowners to maintain high-quality landscapes and improve the parkways in the community.
III. TRAFFIC, PARKING AND TRANSPORTATION GUIDELINES.
Policy Statement 30: Balance traffic vs. retail needs. WNA supports retail business on Major Streets that serve our immediate neighborhood, but balances this with the fact that many members of the community appreciate the relative convenience of driving on Major Streets and fear additional regional businesses will restrict traffic flow. WNA desires to attract a sufficient number of visitors to the area to support neighborhood businesses, but also desires to limit the influx of traffic to the greatest extent possible so as not to overwhelm the residential character of the neighborhood. Ideally, patrons would take alternative forms of transportation to retail businesses, thereby limiting the impact of automobile traffic. WNA believes in working with businesses that locate on these streets to encourage pedestrian traffic and to provide sufficient, easily-accessible off-street parking. We encourage the CTA to advertise our commercial areas and ask the CTA to help riders exiting buses and elevated trains to locate our neighborhood businesses and Major Streets.
30.1 Widening streets. WNA favors widening of Halsted or Lincoln at the corners, allowing for adequate sidewalk width, if helpful to facilitate traffic to retail businesses on those streets.
30.2 Shuttle service. WNA supports the Lincoln Park summer weekend free trolley service to the lakefront and other parts of the community and encourages expansion of this service to be year-round.
30.3 Alternate modes of transportation. To reduce the strain on traffic in the neighborhood, WNA promotes use of alternative transportation modes, such as the neighborhood trolley shuttle, bike lanes, CTA, taxis and walking to services in the neighborhood.
Policy Statement 31: Community-wide traffic study. The City should conduct a detailed traffic study of Lincoln Park before approving institutional expansion, major construction or other changes likely to significantly increase the volume of traffic to the neighborhood. Expansion and new development should be permitted only if the study shows traffic problems will not adversely affect the community.
31.1 Lincoln/Halsted/Fullerton. The congested intersection of Lincoln, Halsted & Fullerton is an ongoing concern. A well-thought-out plan for traffic flow for this intersection may help attract additional retailers to the area.
31.2 Summer Traffic. The additional traffic due to lakefront activities and neighborhood events should also be studied.
Policy Statement 32: Parking meters adjacent to businesses.
32.1 On Major Streets. All parking on Major Streets should be metered to promote transient parking for business customers. Parking spaces should be posted for two-hours, metered parking during normal business hours. Meter violations must be enforced.
32.2 On other streets. On other streets, one to three spaces adjacent to each commercial establishment may be designated for parking meters. All other parking areas should remain consistent with their current designation including residential parking permit restrictions.
32.3 Hours of parking meter operations. In general, parking meters when used should be required between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. – the hours necessary to assist local businesses.
32.4 Resident permit parking. WNA was the last Lincoln Park neighborhood to institute permit parking because of its potential to have a negative impact on businesses. WNA supports resident permit parking hours that balance the parking concerns of residents and businesses. Permit parking hours generally reflect the local conditions such as proximity to train stations and to institutions. On both Major Streets and other streets, WNA’s general preference is not to use resident permit parking restrictions in a manner than prevents use by customers of commercial businesses between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Policy Statement 33: One-way streets, cul-de-sacs and other street changes. Any proposals to establish one-way streets, cul-de-sacs or other street changes should be submitted to WNA for discussion and not adopted without WNA’s support. WNA generally opposes traffic proposals that change existing traffic flow in the neighborhood without demonstrating that such change is beneficial to the neighborhood. Any change to traffic flow on one street will generally cause additional traffic on the adjacent street. It is important that the potential for negative impact on adjacent streets is thoroughly discussed with the community.
Policy Statement 34: Improve public transportation. WNA recognizes the benefit of development that takes full advantage of the City’s public transportation system and is eager to work with developers on ways to develop Wrightwood in a manner that will decrease dependency on automobiles in favor of alternative forms of transportation such as bicycles, public transit, trolleys and walking. Bus service should be improved, especially on weekends and intervening hours, and bus stop shelters with benches should be provided at several locations.
34.1 Trolley to Lincoln Park Zoo. WNA encourages the use of trolley service, free to neighborhood residents, to take residents of Wrightwood to the Zoo and the lakefront.
34.2 Trolley to other locations. WNA encourages the use of trolley service, free to neighborhood residents, to take residents of Wrightwood to other parts of the community, including shopping districts.
Policy Statement 35: Fullerton and Diversey elevated train stops. These stops are the gateways to the community. WNA supports their development to be fully accessible to the disabled and be able to handle additional passengers. Station designs should incorporate retail use if possible. These stations should strive to maintain their current form so as to not disturb additional structures in the neighborhood.
35.1 CTA stations should add additional signage directing customers to our Major Streets, neighborhood attractions and institutions and should feature local retail businesses and other services available on Major Streets.
A. CRIME AND POLICING.
Policy Statement 36: Importance to the community. WNA recognizes the safety and security of residents and visitors is critical to the success of the neighborhood. Thus we support local policing initiatives, such as the CAPS (Community Alternative Policing Strategy) program, and encourage residents to become involved with local authorities and with each other to help keep our neighborhood safe.
Policy Statement 37: Security. New buildings should incorporate good security planning, including lighting, secured parking and back yards. Outside doors that have inside vestibules should be locked. Residents are encouraged to keep front and rear lights on at night.
Policy Statement 38: Alleys. Alleys should be carefully monitored to maintain their safety (property crimes, stolen bicycles, etc.). Alleys should be well lit at all times. In cases where residence directly abuts the alley, lighting should be directed so as not to intrude on the home.
B. CITY SERVICES.
Policy Statement 39: General. Sanitation, police and fire protection, snow removal, 1ibrary, parks, etc., should adequately ensure the health, safety and welfare of the neighborhood.
Policy Statement 40: Schools. WNA cooperates with LPCA and other organizations to improve the quality of education in the Chicago Public Schools serving the Wrightwood neighborhood. We encourage residents to visit our schools to learn first-hand of their quality.
Policy Statement 41: Sidewalks. WNA encourages the City and property owners to repair, repave, sweep and shovel sidewalks on a regular basis.
Policy Statement 42: Alleys. WNA recognizes alleys are an important part of the neighborhood and the character of the community but are often neglected by City services. WNA believes it is critical for the City to maintain (shovel, clean, sweep, repave) all alleys.
42.1 Speed humps. Speed humps should not be installed because they create more problems than they solve.
42.2 Bricks. Brick alleys are part of the character of the community and should be repaired not be paved over.
Policy Statement 43: Utility poles in the public way. The City should regularly monitor and update the utility poles in public alleys and streets. Utilities, telephone and cable companies and other businesses should be required to remove unused and outdated wires and to monitor the poles regularly for safety and efficiency. New poles or boxes should not be added without WNA’s support. Utilities are encouraged to place all cabling underground.
Policy Statement 44: Rodent control. The City needs to continue programs aimed at aggressive rodent control. The alleys behind buildings in which food is served are particularly important. Rat abatement notices on utility poles should be monitored and updated. Residents must close lids on all garbage receptacles.
Policy Statement 45: Recycling. WNA supports City recycling programs but desires to work with the City to more effectively promote and manage the program.
C. EVENTS AND FESTIVALS.
Policy Statement 46: Importance to the community. Neighborhood festivals and community events are an important part of the development and life of the neighborhood. We support the Taste of Lincoln Avenue festival one weekend each summer because we believe it helps local businesses, draws others to our community and provides the opportunity for residents to get together and enjoy each other and the neighborhood. Additionally, funds raised from Taste of Lincoln Avenue are used to support many community services in the area. All residents of the neighborhood and businesses within Wrightwood are encouraged to become involved in our neighborhood and the many events, festivals and opportunities it offers.
Policy Statement 47: Additional festivals and events. WNA generally supports events that draw attention to the community and focus on quality of life in the neighborhood without placing undue stress or imposition on residents. Examples of events we encourage include a house walk, open houses at local schools, localized block parties and block clubs, architectural tours and historical tours. We prefer events that do not add to congestion in the neighborhood. We encourage neighbors to hold block parties to allow residents to get to know one another and try to continue and improve the neighborhood’s sense of community.
V. STRATEGIES FOR IMPLEMENTATION.
Strategy 1. Propose zoning changes. To achieve the objectives of this Long Range Plan, WNA recommends this Plan guide the implementation of the City of Chicago’s new zoning code once it’s enacted. This includes revisions to zoning inconsistent with this plan (e.g., the elimination of commercial zoning within WNA boundaries).
Strategy 2. Integrate into LPCA Plan. WNA encourages other neighborhood associations to update their long range plans prior to the City of Chicago’s new zoning code. The Lincoln Park Conservation Association can coordinate all long-range plans for neighborhood organizations under its umbrella.
Strategy 3. Notice requirement. Developers and City planners charged with responsibility for permitting should notify affected residents of projects, developments, events, etc., in easily understandable language and with adequate time to review and respond, and be required to incorporate comments before approval is issued. Residents within 500 feet of any proposed project requiring permit review should be notified and allowed an opportunity to be heard. In any event, the City should develop a program to keep neighborhood residents more fully informed of local development issues either via newsletters, e-mail, fliers, etc. Chamber of Commerce should be involved in business-related issues.
Strategy 4. Code enforcement. Periodically survey the community for building code violations, and work with LPCA, the alderman, the Building Department and/or other authorities and service providers to correct the violations. In particular, it is critical to maintain effective code enforcement and regular reviews to ensure builders and developers comply with applicable laws and rules, especially those related to density, height and location of both residential and commercial property. All new developments should be checked routinely and heavy penalties levied against those who do not comply.
Strategy 5. Promote businesses. Investigate potential use of a Local Development Corporation or the Chamber of Commerce to assist business establishments in the neighborhood. Investigate Main Street USA program. Work with local landlords, City of Chicago Retail Chicago Program and retail brokers.
Strategy 6. Major Street Task Force(s). Institute a task force for each Major Street (e.g., a Halsted Street Improvement Task Force) comprised of building owners, businesses, neighborhood organization(s) and other affected parties. This group should develop a unified vision for each street and discuss strategies for implementation.
Strategy 7. Keep informed. Work with City agencies to keep WNA informed of building permits, demolition permits, liquor licenses and sign permits. When desirable, require developers to commit plans and promises to WNA in a binding agreement.
Strategy 8. Youth activity. Establish a youth committee to establish programs in the neighborhood to get out younger residents become involved in constructive leisure time activities in the area.
Strategy 9. Share this information. WNA should present a copy of this Plan to LPCA, the Aldermen, City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development, zoning administrator and the other LPCA neighborhood organizations.
Strategy 10. Testifying before Zoning Bodies – WNA encourages immediate neighbors to negotiate any requested exception or variation that goes before the Zoning Board of Appeals. If asked, WNA will try to meditate any disputes and will, if appropriate, testify before the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Strategy 11. WNA input on all zoning changes, variances, exceptions, etc. For any Zoning change, the Alderman should seek WNA’s input prior to taking a public position. WNA will conduct a meeting, either Planning or General Membership, prior to the Board of Director’s taking an official WNA position.
Strategy 12. Working together to strengthen our sense of community. Encourage block parties and other events that help promote a sense of community. Educate long-term residents on the options available to allow them to remain in the community.
Strategy 13. Promote public schools. WNA will introduce new or prospective residents to the quality, availability and affordability of public education.
Strategy 14. Solicit new businesses. WNA will actively identify and seek out businesses that fit with the character and needs of the community and encourage them to locate on our Major Streets.
Strategy 15. Revisit plan bi-annually beginning in 2004. The WNA Board of Directors must approve all changes to this plan.
WNA wants to thank all of the board members, members of the planning committee and others from our neighborhood and throughout the City who contributed their time and valuable input to this Long Range Plan. This Plan is the result of long hours of study, debate and hard work by Bob Flannery, Michael Lufrano, Allan Mellis, Ken Feldbein, Anne Durkin, Brian Reynolds, Caroline Moellering, Nina Questel, Mike Realmuto, David Schmeissing, Bob Johnson, Gary Wigoda and others who contributed during Planning Committee discussions and debate. We also thank Barry Ash, president of WNA’s board of directors, and the other members of the WNA board for their support and input.
Special thanks to Alderman Daley and Alderman Matlak, Jim Thompson, Chuck Eastwood, Tom Smith, and others from the City of Chicago who reviewed the plan and made constructive and insightful comments. A special thanks to DePaul University professor Ken Fidel and to Kathryn DeGraaf and the Special Collections and Archives department at DePaul’s John R. Richardson Library for their help in providing information on the history and demographics of Lincoln Park.
As we said at the beginning, this is a cooperative effort, created with much love and concern for the Wrightwood Neighborhood and its future. We hope it will serve us well.
APPENDIX A: Current Zoning Map
APPENDIX B: Wrightwood Special Districts.
APPENDIX C: Master Plan for Major Streets: Diversey, Fullerton, Halsted, Lincoln.
Master Plan: Halsted Street
Submitted to Alderman Vi Daley
by the WNA Planning Committee
In March 2001, Alderman Daley requested that the Wrightwood Neighbors Association (WNA) review the West side of Halsted Street between Diversey and Fullerton and provide feedback and ideas on our vision for the street. Specifically, WNA was asked to provide feedback on the following questions:
a) How does Halsted Street function and how does it impact the community?
b) How does your community envision the street in 5 to 10 years? How would you like to see that vision achieved?
c) Are there any problems that should be addressed on the street?
d) What improvements would you like to see made on the street?
e) What types of businesses would you like to see added and what types of businesses would
you like to see less of on the street?
f) Should there be more mixed-use or residential development?
In April 2001, the Wrightwood Neighbors Planning Committee walked the Halsted Street corridor and brainstormed on ideas to improve this commercial street. Summarized below are the recommendations of the committee. The recommendations are summarized according the questions provided by the Alderman.
How does Halsted Street function and how does it impact the community?
In its current state, Halsted Street functions as more of a liability than an asset to the community. The streetscape is in disrepair, the majority of the building stock is obsolete and the foot traffic on the street is minimal. Halsted Street functions primarily as an arterial street for the Wrightwood Community.
Halsted Street, between Diversey and Fullerton, links the hospital campuses of Illinois Masonic and Children’s Memorial providing a unique base of potential patrons to the retail businesses on the street.
The street also serves as a dining and entertainment district, along with several service based retail stores.
How does your community envision the street in 5 to 10 years?
Given the age and condition of most of the structures on the street, we envision that up to 70% of the structures on
Halsted Street could be torn down in the next 5 – 10 years. The only structures that may be left standing are masonry. None of the frame structures are considered salvageable.
In order for the street to be successful, new development must provide a combination of both retail space and residences.
New developments that combine retail and residential are motivated to provide parking in the rear of the building
for the residents. This results in storefronts that are pulled out to the street. This benefits the pedestrian environment of the street. All new developments should be encouraged to provide retail space that is pulled out to the lot line. Developments that have parking in front and no residential (i.e., the Dunkin Donuts strip mall) should be discouraged and avoided.
Successful retail stores require more space than the 800 square foot store fronts that are provided in a typical 25’ x 125’ property that is developed with retail space on the first floor and condos above. WNA and the Alderman’s office should work with developers to encourage developments with functional retail space.
This area of Halsted Street may be well suited for what we call a “mid-box” anchor retailer. WNA generally opposes Mid-Box retailers because of the traffic they bring and the potential problems and conflicts they create on our already over-crowned community. However, in certain locations, with proper planning, one Mid-Box retailed on Halsted Street may make sense. “Mid-Box” retailers are stores that require more space than a boutique, but are not as big as a large retailer like Home Depot or Target. Examples include specialty grocery stores (e.g., Dean and DeLuca’s), Old Navy, Restoration Hardware, Walgreen’s, Banana Republic and J Crew. Mid-Box retailers can act as a anchor to encourage additional product oriented retail stores. Preference is given to retailers that will not drive existing local businesses from the community and will not generate excessive additional traffic.
In order for a Mid-Box retailer to succeed, developers must be encouraged to provide off-street parking for retail shoppers.
Parking should be provided either under the store, behind it or along side. Preferably, parking should be free or be free with validation. The parking should be shared with other users to encourage those who visit the Mid-Box to shop at other businesses in the community. Such parking should also be made available to residents and businesses when not used by the Mid-Box, such as restaurants that need the parking at night after the mid-box is closed.
The best example of validated parking contributing to the success of a retail store is the validated parking in the DePaul garage for the Dominick’s at Sheffield and Fullerton.
Another example of a mid-box retail space that provides parking, while enlivening the pedestrian streetscape is the Restoration Hardware Building on the corner of Sheffield and North Avenue. Restoration Hardware also provides free validated parking for its customers in the parking garage under their building.
How would you like to see that vision achieved?
We envision the site of the former Chernin’s providing an anchor on the street for a renewed retail district. Current plans call for 20,000-40,000 square feet of retail space housing 2-3 retail businesses, along with parking, that would act as a draw to the neighborhood. Thoughtful development of this site is key to the revitalization of Halsted between Diversey and Fullerton.
Another way to see this vision succeed is to share these recommendations with the business and building owners on Halsted Street. We must have the support of the building owners and tenants if we want to see the street improve.
Instituting a Halsted Street Improvement Task Force (H.I.T.) comprised of building owners, businesses, the hospitals
(Children’s and Illinois Masonic and the neighborhood organizations (WNA and Park West) would help to provide a unified vision for the street.
Are there any problems that should be addressed on the street? What improvements would you like to see made on the street?
Improving the streetscape of Halsted is an immediate need. The existing streetlights,
sidewalks and curbs need to be upgraded to match the streetscape program that has already been
completed on Halsted Street just South of Fullerton.
Wherever possible, the sidewalks should be widened to provide for additional landscaping
and for the opportunity to enliven the streetscape with outdoor cafes, benches, etc.
The current street is completely void of any landscaping. While our first preference is to have
the City install trees along the street, the width of the sidewalks may not permit the installation of trees.
If this is the case a landscaping program that includes hanging baskets and planter boxes should be investigated.
Wrightwood Neighbors is open to discussions with the Alderman on how we can work with the city
to install and maintain hanging baskets and planters on Halsted on a limited basis.
WNA requests that the City’s Department of Transportation complete a study on how to improve
traffic flow at the congested intersection of Lincoln/Halsted/Fullerton. While some improvements have
been made in the past, congestion at this intersection is an ongoing concern. If we are successful in
attracting new residents and retail stores to the street, congestion will increase. A well thought out plan
for traffic flow for this intersection may aid in attracting national retailers to the area.
For existing retail stores to thrive, there must be at least some parking spaces provided. Parking meters
should be installed on the entire stretch of Halsted from Diversey to Fullerton. The meters should operate
during regular business hours (9 am to 7 pm).
The existing “pocket park” on Lincoln and Halsted is in terrible condition. It is WNA’s understanding
that this park is the property of Children’s Memorial Hospital and that the hospital may be using this land in
the near future to expand its research facility. As Children’s expands its presence on this lot, WNA would appreciate
the opportunity to work with Children’s and encourage the construction of retail space on the first floor of any
building additions. Furthermore, WNA recommends a complete re-design to any remaining parkland left after the
building expansion. A renovation similar to Lincoln Central Park on Lincoln and Dickens would make this small park
an asset instead of an eyesore.
WNA and the Alderman should work with the Lincoln Park Chamber and Children’s Memorial to find
activities to enliven this “pocket park”. Ideas include art fairs, fruit stands and other licensed street vendors.
A prominent water feature would greatly enhance this park.
What types of businesses would you like to see added and what types of businesses would you like to
see less of on the street?
As discussed above, we would like to see more “mid-box” retailers on the street.
While the restaurant and entertainment focus on the street represents its most successful niche,
WNA feels that it would be detrimental to the neighborhood to saturate the street with any additional liquor
The residential areas that surround Halsted Street are populated with homes costing $500,000 and up.
The demographics indicate that upscale restaurants would thrive on the street, along with an upscale wine and
cheese store, florist and grocery.
In an ideal world, we would like to see more art galleries, antique stores, clothing boutiques, shoe stores and
businesses that service the community. We would like to see less of those stores that we already are saturated
with, including beauty salons, dry cleaners, insurance agencies, general office space and bars.
A recent study by DePaul University indicated that the Lincoln Park area would benefit from an
upscale hotel. The long stretches of deteriorated structures on Halsted Street may present an opportunity
to develop a boutique style hotel that would truly be an asset to the community. The Kimpton Group
(www.kimpton.com) specializes in the development of boutique hotels and already operates three hotels
in downtown Chicago (Hotel Monaco, Burnham Hotel and The Allegro). The Alderman’s office should
work with the City’s Planning Department to open up discussions with this organization, or comparable groups,
to bring a hotel to the area. DePaul University, combined with the hospitals in the area, creates a
consistent demand for hotel rooms in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.
Should there be more mixed-use or residential development?
For Halsted Street to thrive, we need a combination of both mixed use and residential development.
Primary consideration in new developments should be given to developing retail space that is attractive
to business owners and customers.
In conclusion, there is much that can be done to Halsted Street to make it a more attractive and successful
commercial area in Lincoln Park. To assist the Alderman’s office in prioritizing the many comments
above, a summary of critical goals is provided below.
Top Four Goals for Halsted Street
Implement streetscape program, including new curbs, sidewalks and streetlights. Make landscaping a priority
in improving the aesthetics of the street.
Work with Children’s Memorial on the expansion of their research building and on improving the “pocket park”
on Lincoln and Halsted. This corner park should be a focal point and entryway into the area. Instead
it is a detriment. It needs to pull people in from the south side of the six-way intersection.
Ask the City’s planning department for assistance in contacting The Kimpton Group about the development
of a European-style boutique hotel.
Look within the group of current building owners, tenants and neighborhood groups
(Park West and Wrightwood Neighbors) for a core group of people to form a Halsted Street Improvement
Task Force (H.I.T.).
Master Plan: Diversey Avenue
The south side of Diversey Avenue is currently a mixed-use street. We should encourage retail at the intersections
of Lincoln,Sheffield and Halsted. The other areas can be either residential or mixed use. The current commercial
zoning of the Perrillo car dealership at Seminary should be changed to either a lower business zone or a
residential use. WNA will work with any future developer to make sure a quality project is built.
Master Plan: Lincoln Avenue
Lincoln Avenue is a complex street, with much mixed business and residential use. It is WNA’s hope that Lincoln
become a thriving pedestrian-oriented commercial center, anchored by the theaters and supporting the many
quality restaurants and shopping establishments that provide needed services and amenities to the community.
Because of the complexity of the street, a comprehensive review and detailed plan is necessary.
WNA will undertake such a review and the results will be added to this Long Range Plan when completed.
Master Plan: Fullerton Avenue
The north side of Fullerton Avenue is currently a mixed-use street. We should encourage retail at the intersections
of Lincoln and Halsted and transit-oriented development at Sheffield. The other areas can be either residential or
mixed use. The corner at Racine contains a DePaul building (1150) that contains the Lincoln Park Branch Library
and across the street U-Haul. WNA encourage the library to remain.
APPENDIX D: Master Plan for residential streets.
Master Plan: Sheffield Avenue
The redevelopment of the east side of Sheffield Avenue should generally be residential with the exception of the
portions that intersect Major Streets. Increased density may be considered to mitigate the impact of the
elevated tracks. All new buildings should reflect the previous manufacturing footprints and have entrances onto
Sheffield. The Sheffield facades should be attractive, well lit and provide a sense of security and activity.
Any development adjacent to Jonquil Park should contain balconies that encourage people to sit and view the park but
Sthat do not extend over the sidewalk.
The west side of Sheffield is primarily residential and any new development should be consistent with our residential guidelines.
Wrightwood Neighbors Association: (A neighborhood association representing the area bounded by Diversey, Fullerton, Halsted and Lakewood)
Long Range Plan
Drafted by Planning Committee.
Approved by WNA membership June 10, 2002.
Approved by Wrightwood Neighbors Association Board of Directors June 17, 2002
For Further Information:
Wrightwood Neighbors Association
P.O. Box 147179,
Chicago, IL 60614-7179