City Looking To Fast-Track North Branch Zoning Changes
With the full City Council set to vote in a couple of weeks on an ordinance that would change the zoning in the North Branch Industrial Corridor, a growing group of residents and aldermen are expressing concern over the pace. Six meetings were held simultaneously yesterday to discuss the ordinance, according to Curbed Chicago. And the prospective timetable for passing the ordinance leaves little room for debate. The Plan Commission will vote on the ordinance on July 20. If the commission approves, the ordinance would head to the Joint Committee of Finance and Zoning on July 24. If it approves, the ordinance, which is sponsored by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and 16 aldermen, would go to the full City Council for a vote on July 26.
Since Emanuel has made it clear for more than a year that he is willing to relax PMD zoning, some North Branch residents are concerned that Emanuel has only the interests of developers in mind and want some of the corridor's 760 acres set aside for parkland and open space, a sentiment shared by Ald. Michele Smith (43rd). Smith urged residents to turn the meetings into a forum for new public parks.
Under the North Branch Industrial Framework developed by the city with community input, only 60 acres have been allocated for parks. Compounding residents' concerns, Department of Planning and Development officials shut down debate over setting aside corridor land for parks at one meeting.