Not So Fast, Alderman Harris, The Fight to Keep Low Income Housing Out of Pill Hill and Calumet Heights is Not Over

Fight to keep low-income housing out of Pill Hill Calumet HeightsBy Dr. Juanita Bratcher

Author, Editor & Publisher, CopyLine Magazine

It was not a surprise yesterday when the Chicago Zoning Board gave 8th Ward Alderman Michelle Harris her wish in approving the Low Income, Section 8 Senior Housing for 94th & Stony Island Ave. 8th Ward residents in opposition to the 134 Unit, 7 Story building expected that decision. That’s because the Zoning Board is known to be, and has always been a Rubber Stamp for aldermen and the city and to hell with community residents that flock to their meetings in hope of getting a fair decision. But they soon find out that there is no such thing as a fair decision for them, that their hopes get lost in the wind. The Board does not have a good track record in regards for the general public at large that are at their mercy hoping that they will listen to their grievances in good faith. But they don’t. The alderman and the city have them in their “Hip Pocket.”

But some residents are ready to pull out their secret weapon. It was in their hip pocket all along but they were waiting for the outcome of the Zoning Board decision and were ready to shift into Phase Two immediately if their complaint wasn’t treated in a fair manner. And they have already started the process. That secret weapon is “Spot Zoning”, which if proven can pull the bottom from under the decision made by the Zoning Board in the City Council Chambers yesterday.

There were congratulatory remarks made to the alderman yesterday for getting her wish, but the 8th Ward residents who oppose it say: Not so fast to the alderman and her supporters. This decision might end up in the courtroom. Spot Zoning is an alternative and it’s possible that they will seek a lawyer to get through the bureaucratic mess thrown upon them.

This is a serious matter. And for many who oppose it and lost the battle in the Zoning Board yesterday, they are not giving up yet. There’s the possibility it’s headed for legal action.

In a Crain’s Chicago Business article “You can’t fight City Hall—at least on residential zoning” (December 8, 2017), it stated:In a Chicago where City Hall is desperate for new revenue and developers are delighted to provide it—in exchange for a fatter bottom line, of course—there’s little percentage in standing in front of the bulldozers and saying no.”

In an article on Spot Zoning by Craig Hullinger, AICP and Chuck Eckenstahler, AICP, it states: “Webster defines spot as 1) a particular place of relatively small a definite limits, 2) a mark on a surface differing sharply in color from the surroundings, 3) a position; location and 4) a set of circumstances; a situation, especially a troublesome one.

“REZONING ISSUES TO CONSIDER
In Illinois, there is a specific set of requirements which a Plan Commission must consider when evaluating a request for the rezoning of a parcel of land. These standards were established by the Illinois Supreme Count in two cases; LaSalle and Richton Park. Generally, for a rezoning matter upheld in the Supreme Court the Plan Commission must consider.”

TO BE CONTINUED