Monday, March 31, 2008

UCC Challenges Labor Ready's 'Expert' Testimony

UCC contends that the expert testimony and accompanying appraisal presented as evidence at the ZBA hearing on February 15th were inherently flawed - and should not be considered in determining whether to grant the special use permit to Labor Ready.

Chicago real estate appraiser Terry O'Brien was hired by Labor Ready to evaluate the proposed office location at 4830 N Sheridan - and the surrounding community - and to provide an "expert opinion" regarding the criteria which must be satisfied when a company requests a special use permit. He was professionally obliged to attest that the special use would:

* Not have a significant adverse impact on the general welfare of the neighborhood or community.
* Promote pedestrian safety and comfort.
* Be compatible with the character of the surrounding area.

According to Terry O'Brien's appraisal report, "It is my professional opinion that the granting of a Special Use for the utilization of the subject property for a Day Labor Employment Agency fulfills all the General Criteria set forth in the Zoning Ordinance. It is in keeping with the character and/or trend of development in the area and will not have an adverse impact upon the value of the surrounding real estate."

Terry O'Brien defined the local neighborhood and community as the properties from Weiss Plaza to the Sheridan Grande - as well as the Boys and Girls Club across the street. He omitted from his description of the community: McCutcheon Elementary School, Buttercup Playlot, St Thomas of Canterbury Grammar School and the single family homes on Castlewood - as well as the broader neighborhood outside of a 250' radius. We believe this was done intentionally so that Terry O'Brien could arrive at the opinion that there would be NO significant adverse impact.

UCC asserts that unbiased appraisers looking at all the properties within the notice area - and in the surrounding blocks - could not have rendered favorable expert opinions.

UCC has filed written objections with his professional association (the Appraisal Institute) as well as with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Both organizations have complaint review processes and can impose disciplinary measures.

We are soliciting contributions for the Labor Ready litigation fund. The Uptown Chicago Commission is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and donations can be itemized on personal tax returns. Please mail your contributions to us at the address below. And thank you for your continuing support toward improving the quality of life in Uptown.

1 comment:

  1. Setting aside the issue of whether or not his "expert" opinion was correct, how depressing is it that someone could say this...

    "[Labor Ready] is in keeping with the character and/or trend of development in the area and will not have an adverse impact upon the value of the surrounding real estate."

    So I guess the appraiser...a guy with an office in Glenview...must just look at Uptown and see a slum? And, as an "expert," he thinks that it is likely to remain boarded up and without a lot of pedestrian retail options so that putting in something that is currently not allowed by rights will have no effect?

    Let's just say that as an expert he is right. (He's got more credentials than any of us afterall.) His opinion should really call into question how much people are putting a positive spin on the pattern of development around here.