At its January 2018 meeting, Network 49 will welcome nominations to and then elect members to serve on a new Steering Committee AND make endorsements for the March 2018 Illinois Gubernatorial Primary, as well as other races that will be decided in March.
All of these activities are part of our work to create an independent, progressive, and resident-led organization for promoting progressive policies and elected leadership.
At a well-attended community meeting called to consider two large transit-oriented developments, 175 people, including a large contingent from ISKCON Krishna temple located next to 1710 W Lunt, raised numerous questions about how much benefit the community stands to get. The proposed developments require a substantial zoning change and relief from the city’s current parking requirements. After residents voiced numerous concerns and asked developer David Gasman to commit to specific changes, Network 49’s Brian White asked:
“Will you commit to sitting down with the community to negotiate a written and binding community benefits agreement?”
Gasman’s response: “yes.”
An unscientific scan of the audience suggests the community is not at all ready to say “go”, for a number of reasons, so negotiating specific benefits is likely to help win support.
The main opposition expressed is over the lack of parking and the anticipated negative impact on the temple. Other strong objections were raised about the lack of affordable housing units, the size and number of units, and the likely precedent that the developments might set for transit-oriented development in the community. Many also asked why such dense TOD projects were being proposed now, while Clark Street was in the middle of a planning process.
Network 49 passed out informational handouts and Community Benefits Scorecards to help residents evaluate the projects. From the scorecards we collected, people are supportive of the projects as presented.
“Parking not provided is a big issue, when people visit those units or businesses in the area.”
“David didn’t present convincing arguments with any of the questions/concerns raised. Looks like he has no solid plans.”
“At this point none of the vital points for the community are considered.”
“I am against this project.”
Some of things residents asked for in their comments:
Set aside more than the minimum number of units (10%) as affordable units
Preserve the historic character and key elements of the buildings, including the facades
Add more units that can accommodate families
Add or secure more off-street parking for building residents and guests
Commit to contract with women and minority owned businesses
Commitment to add green/open space and green elements, like a green roof or solar panels
Commit to give back to the community
Commit not to demolish either building, even if the proposals do not get approved
Commit to work with members of the Krishna temple to adjust the 1710 W Lunt development proposal to reduce the potential for conflict between the temple and residents likely to live at 1710
Given the numerous concerns raised and questions presented, for which firm answers and commitments have NOT been made, Network 49 asked Alderman Joe Moore, who holds the ultimate decision:
“Would he convene an additional community meeting for residents to hear about Gasman’s modifications to the developments before any decision was made?”
“Would be allow residents to attend/observe any follow-up meeting of the 49th Ward Land Use Advisory Committee (LUAC), where the revised proposals might be considered?”
Despite his oft-touted commitment to participatory decision-making, Alderman Moore emphatically REFUSED TO ALLOW THE PUBLIC TO ATTEND OR WITNESS THE LUAC MEETINGS. He demurred on a second community meeting as well, which many residents interpreted as a sign that he has already made up his mind. That remains to be seen.
Network 49 will convene a meeting of interested groups, including Preservation Chicago and ISKCON, to draft a Community Benefits Agreement to present to David Gasman.
We will also ask Alderman Moore to hold off on any decision until the community and Gasman have had time to develop the agreement.
We are writing on behalf of the Housing and Community Development Committee of Network 49. Our committee is comprised of residents of the 49th ward who are interested in promoting balanced development and improving and expanding the process for resident participation in zoning and land use decisions. We are part of the larger Network 49 membership organization, with which I believe you are familiar. (www.network49.net).
Our committee met Saturday June 10 to review the announced redevelopment of 1710 W Lunt and 1730 W Greenleaf. We learned of these developments on June 8 through an email announcement from your office. We drafted a set of questions, which we will bring to the community meeting on Wednesday June 14 to share (See “Re 1710 and 1730.docx”)
Re-1710-and-1730.pdf (92 downloads)
. We thought it would be constructive to share questions about the projects to have share with David Gasman ahead of time. Would you please pass along these questions to Dave? We do not have his contact information, but would be happy to connect to Dave directly or to meet with him and your staff to discuss our questions at a future date.
We also had questions for you about the process of these community review meetings, which our members though it would be constructive to address to you separately. These are also attached (See “Re 1710 and 1730 – Qs for Alderman.docx”) (included in the previous download).
In sharing these questions to you and Dave Gasman, we acknowledge that the information we have access to may not be the complete picture. Our views of the project may evolve or new questions may arise, once we have a chance to hear the complete presentation. Given the short notice of the June 14 meeting, it was the best we could do. We hope this is a process of dialogue and discussion, not a one-shot opportunity to weigh in.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact myself or Thom Clark, co-Chair of the Housing and Community Development Committee. We look forward to the meeting tomorrow and to learning about these projects.
Brian White and Thom Clark
Co-Chairs, Housing and Community Development Committee of Network 49
Residents comprising Network 49’s Housing & Community Development want balanced development in our community. By balanced development, we mean that in general, development should balance benefits received by the community with private benefits for the developer. It is an effort to create win-wins.
An example is when a developer builds a development to provide affordable housing (community benefit) and gets a developer fee or future rents (private benefit) in exchange. It might also be where a private business comes into the community and agrees to hire local residents as part of its store roll-out plan. The store may not need to make such a commitment, but in doing so it gets a private benefit (new employees), but also creates a community benefit by hiring local employees. That’s a win-win
We also think it is appropriate to consider:
how a development project integrates into the community
whether it is consistent with community plans
how it impacts traffic and congestion
whether it enhances or undermines the local business climate, and
overall – does it improve quality of life in our community.
We are not at all anti-development. We simply believe that development should be a rising tide that lifts all boats. We also recognize the importance of preserving the racial and economic diversity of our community through housing and community development. This was something more than 85% of our members ranked as important or very important in our recent community survey.
N49 developed a scorecard to assist residents evaluate developments in terms of the exchange of public and private benefits. We intend this to be used concerning development projects where a public benefit is being requested.
A public benefit requested by the developer might be a zoning change, financial subsidy, street closing or alteration, or other benefit that the developer would not otherwise receive. A public benefit requested by the community might be a commitment to hire locally, pay living wages, set aside space in the development for community uses or a similar benefit demanded by the community through an open and deliberative process.
We will be evaluating this tool and our overall progress in the weeks and months ahead. We hope that it will help educate ourselves about what kinds of things we can ask for when developers want to build in our community.
At our May general membership meeting, we were pleased to share the results of our recent member survey. By way of background, we sent an 8-question survey to our members and asked them to evaluate some of our recent priorities and share ideas for what is concerning them right now. We also asked for their feedback on whether our organization should start collecting dues and if so, what amount.
We found that our members affirmed in large part what we are currently focused on:
“Maintaining Rogers Park’s economic and racial diversity in housing and community development” came in first, with a weighted average of 4.56/5.0;
“Helping progressive candidates win elections” was next, at 4.52/5.0;
“Making Rogers Park a safe and just community for all” was a close third at 4.50/5.0;
“Protecting our Public, Neighborhood Schools” was right next, at 4.46/5.0.
So where do we take up these concerns?
Housing & Community Development is tackling the first one.
Safe Community Task Force is working on the third, along with our partners at Protect RP.
The Education Committee has been tackling the fourth and is an issue with which Network 49 is strongly identified, thanks to the success of the Charter Freeze referendum on Nov. 9, 2017. Their ongoing leadership at work in Sanctuary schools, the fight for elected school board and more provide a model to the rest of our committee work.
The Politics Committee takes on the largest issue of members’ discontent: voter dissatisfaction with current politicians, from the Ward to the National level.
Frankly, our respondents are irate about a whole host of issues that involve political change. Network 49 will be engaging in voter education through a planned Community Canvass, beginning in June (look for details on Network 49 facebook and Web pages), ongoing Forums addressing the key issues, Voter Registration, and continued organizing with our neighbors.
Some respondents want Network 49 to field candidates, but our focus is on organizing our members to resist, expose and fight hypocrisy, lack of transparency, and elected officials simply not doing their jobs for the people wherever and whenever we can. But we are not just about resisting. We are working to affirm our values and help our members engage constructively in pushing for what we want, not just what we oppose.
We welcome people interested in running for elected office to share their interests to us and to speak before our members. If the survey is any indication, they will be well-received!
Network 49 will host a teach-in on Monday February 27 for community residents to learn about what the US Department of Justice concluded in its investigation into Chicago Police Department abuses. The DOJ report was released earlier this year and validates long-held concerns by residents, especially minority youth, about the Chicago Police Department.
Network 49 has invited Sheila Bedi, attorney and clinical professor of law at Northwestern University’s MacArthur Justice Center, to help put the report and findings in context. Ms. Bedi was previously Deputy Legal Director at the Southern Poverty Law Center, the nation’s preeminent legal advocacy organization addressing hate crimes in the United States.
The teach-in is the first in a series of events Network 49 is hosting on safety in our community.
Protect Our Community: Rogers Park Neighborhood Action Meeting
Mon, Feb 13 from 7pm – 8:30pm
Living Waters Church, 6808 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL
(corner of Pratt and Ashland)
Are you a resident of Rogers Park who is deeply concerned about the actions taken by the new President against Muslims, immigrants, and refugees in America? Are you worried about how your neighbors, friends, and loved ones might be targeted?
Join with other Rogers Park neighbors for a community-wide meeting. We’ll learn more about the implications of these new executive orders and brainstorm ways we can join together to keep our neighbors and neighborhood safe. One aspect of this will be creating a rapid response network aimed at protecting residents from unwanted incursions by government agencies. This network will:
1) Warn people if there is an incursion by law enforcement aimed at vulnerable communities.
2) Create and activate a safe harbor network for people needing sanctuary or help.
3) Mobilize the community to oppose the incursion and resolve it peacefully.
Organized by concerned Rogers Park neighbors, Network 49, Reclaim Chicago, A Just Harvest, and ONE Northside.