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Edison Park Committee Endorses Controversial Plan For 2 Apartment Buildings

A developer's plan to build 82 apartment units in Edison Park is moving forward following a recommendation from the ward's Zoning Advisory Committee, despite months of heated pushback from area residents. 

M.J. Suerth Funeral Home on the site of proposed Edison Park apartments

Developer Valdir Barion aims to build two four-story apartment buildings, each with 41 units, at 6750 N. Northwest Highway, Block Club Chicago reports. Designs for the development also include 41 parking spots and a courtyard.

The 41st Ward Zoning Advisory Committee unanimously approved the project on Monday, and the recommendation heads to Alderman Anthony Napolitano for review. At the meeting, Napolitano said he was happy the developer took the time to meet with neighbors instead of simply going to city hall for project approval, Block Club reported.

“Something’s going to be built whether we like it or not,” Napolitano said. “I’m hoping you guys in the room can figure out something that works for our neighborhood, because if it goes downtown [to city council], it’s not going to be what you want.”

The alderman told Block Club he will spend the next few weeks talking with neighbors and mulling the proposal before making a recommendation. Over the past several months, neighbors have slammed the number of rental units in the project and a lack of parking in initial designs. 

After feedback from neighbors in October, Barion hired an architect to redesign the development and cut the number of three-bedroom units. The move garnered more support from neighbors who felt it would revitalize the area.

“This place is becoming a ghost town,” Maureen Neylon, a 30-year Edison Park resident, said at the meeting. “My 27-year-old son came through here a couple of weeks ago, and the first thing he said was, ‘Mom, what happened to downtown Edison Park? Where are all the restaurants?’”

Annual property tax revenue is estimated to increase from $28K to $700K if the developer builds the project, Zoning Committee Chairman Mike Emerson said. The property had been the site of the M.J. Suerth Funeral Home. 

Still, other neighbors think the building is too large and has too many rental units. Some of the project's opponents took to yelling right before the vote, Block Club reported.

“You’re not listening to anybody,” resident Maureen McMullen shouted, according to the outlet. “Why don’t we get to vote?”

Barion said he aims to begin construction on the first building in spring 2025 if the city approves the project and issues the necessary permits.