Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Call To Action: Wilson Yard Construction Photos/Video

It seems that Holsten and Walsh Construction just don't give a damn about the neighbors and the rules governing the hours they're allowed to work at Wilson Yard. We've had reports here of them working at 3am, and 10:45pm. What's the rush, guys? (As if we didn't know.)

If you're in the area before or after the hours of 7am and 8pm and you hear or see construction in progress, we've got a little assignment for you. First, call it in the numbers at the right. Then, grab your camera or video camera and make a little film or take some pictures. Make sure the date stamp is on, or figure out some way to show the time (turn on news radio in the background, or get a clock in the picture).

This situation is absolutely ridiculous - an alderman and her flunkies at war with the people she supposedly represents, who are paying her salary and those of the construction people breaking the rules - and we'd love to post proof of what's going on in our neighborhood. Mail 'em to


  1. I sent an e-mail to FWY last week about my reporting of construction at 5 a.m. Essentially, when I called the police I insisted that they come and see me at work so that I could do something official, whether a report or just a complaint. A policeman arrived shortly stating that he did not, in fact, go to the job site because the permit, he claims as he has seen it, allows for work to start at 5 a.m. during the week. He also told me that the police receive complaints on a daily basis and can do nothing if the construction begins at 5 a.m. He also told me that the police are considering all of the complaints by the neighborhood to be harassment against the developer and they wish the complaints would stop. I gave the officer's name to FWY.

    I wish there was accurate information available about this permit because I don't know what to do any more. I've not called since, nor have taken any pictures. This latest post here adds to my confusion about this construction. I also received no response from FWY so I took the policeman's words as true.

    Does anyone have an updated copy of the permit that we may see so we know the facts? Maybe that we might print out so that, when the police do show up, we have something on hand with which to base our complaint?

  2. Here is some copy I wrote especially for Helen Shiller's website. Staff: feel free to cut & paste.

    "Our office has received many inquiries as to the hours of construction at the Wilson Yard Development. While we know that many neighbors may be inconvenienced by the construction activity, the developer's permit allows them to work from 5:00 a.m. - XX p.m. Sunday through Saturday. The construction crew is making excellent progress on this important community project and we appreciate your patience and interest. Please feel free to contact us if you are concerned about work being done outside the stated hours."

    Really? Was that so hard? Just communicating basic information will go a loooooong way in reducing hostility and increasing goodwill in this neighborhood. Why should poor Chuck have to not only be inconvenienced by the sounds and lights of the work but also take time out of his day to get the run-around and be called a nuisance complainer?

  3. BTW: Aren't construction sites required to post their permits? Isn't there a fine for not prominently posting your permit? I even seem to remember some specification that the permit be an original and not a photocopy (although most people do not follow that.)

  4. do not get me started on this....


    i keep calling and calling....i get no where and now starting to get attitude from the dude on the other line...

    last night it was all night lie....1245 in he morning a skid loader is going....beep beep beep beeep....WTF? all you do is drive in reverse..???

    anyways....they are a bunch of bozos...

  5. Sassy-
    What is time is XX p.m. exactly?

  6. This is good folks.....this means they are seriously worried about the lawsuit. As much as the construction sucks at all hours, the silver lining is that they are obviously concerned they will lose on Cinco De Uptown-O.

  7. They were out there last night well after 10PM on Broadway across from the Spot on Broadway. Bulldozer and jackhammer. The only type of work permitted that late would be an "emergency" like a broken water main.

    I ordered another camera so I will get it on film if I see it again.

    Yes, I did have some alcohol last night. No, I didn't imagine it. Alcohol may make me think I'm sexy, it doesn't make me see bulldozers with lights at post 10PM.

  8. lol, malden man!

    It is pretty pathetic that I can't even write a fake announcement because the available information is so contradictory. I think XX p.m. means "whenever we f-ing feel like it." !!!!!!

    Seriously, how hard is it for the city to communicate the official hours? I am beginning to think that they are deliberately hiding the information so as to put all complaints regarding the construction in the circular file rather than documenting them. Doing this would give misinformed complaints and true complaints the same treatment---nothing. Obfuscation is a corrupt government's best friend.

    Why must it be like this? I understand that Shiller, Holsten and the City are pissed off by the lawsuit. But that does not negate their responsibilities to allow public information to be public and not to abuse their authority. There are ways they can "win" without trampling all over everyone's rights. And, if they can't "win" without playing dirty then they should take a close look at how they are doing things and not just why.

  9. I saw the exact same thing last Thursday, Irish Pirate. They were going at it like crazy when I left the Spot around 10:30-10:45PM.


  10. "Yes, I did have some alcohol last night. No, I didn't imagine it. Alcohol may make me think I'm sexy, it doesn't make me see bulldozers with lights at post 10PM."


  11. Curious - what happens if the FWY wins the lawsuit, but WY is nearly completed, or completed?

    Do they tear it down?

    The concept which gets my dander up is that the court finds in favor of FWY, but allows WY to stand since it's already done (opening the door for non-Uptown residents to come to Uptown, completely going against the philosophy that Helen's integrated into her political foundation, I might add).

    Which, I'm sure, is exactly what our beloved alderman is betting on: the ends justifying the means - regardless of those pesky laws.

  12. I drove home at 12:45 a.m., and there were Walsh guys working construction equipment on Broadway. All the gates to the construction site were open, and I could see a Bobcat (or something) doing work at the bottom of the pit at the north end of the construction site.

    Tell me, was the XX p.m. or XX a.m.? As long as were talking malarkey.

    Pisses me off that the alderman is not only turning her back on the people who are paying for this "important community project" (barf), but that she can't even freaking send out an email blast to constituents to respond to the complaints. Or talk to the block clubs. Or put it on her lame-ass website. Guess we just don't deserve information about what we're paying for, at least in her eyes.

    She is a miserable excuse for a public servant.

  13. Public servant? Helen has never viewed herself a public servant! Both she and Daley view themselves as czars. They will decide what's good for you, thank you very much.

  14. I'm confused! How, if there are NO exceptions to the Chicago noise ordinance, can a permit actually allow work to start at 5 AM? And how and why would a policeman have a copy of it? Can we get a copy through FOIA?

  15. The construction crew is a rather surly bunch.

    Every time I'm off to work, there is some sort of conflict at that corner.

    However, today I took the train, and it IS odd, per someone's earlier comment, that the 'housing' part of the development is rising quick, while the 'Target' part is just enormous piles of mud.

  16. "[The 46th Ward Alderman] is a miserable excuse for a public servant."

    Oh, please, don't give her that much credit!

  17. I called the both Buildings Authority (or whatever they are called) and the Environment Defense Office (ditto) the other day and none were open at 5 a.m. when I tried to report Walsh construction din.

    I tried later in the day and one of them took my complaint but the other never picked up the phone.

    Am I to expect these offices to answer my calls at 5 or 6 a.m.? This is a real, bona fide question, not a rhetorical one.

  18. Baker Boy, neither is my confusion rhetorical. I was walking by the site this morning at 5:10 a.m. and there was work going on, lights and loud machine noises. I upped my pace so that I would be able to log onto UU and check this post for possible answers to my confusion. Alas, none.

    This begs the question, "Where are the answers?" Usually at this point in a post with this much confusion about THIS issue we would have heard from SOMEONE with the correct answers. No one has offered them.

    This begs one more question, "Has the subpeona issued against UU and BPN worked? Has the voice of FWY been quieted? Has the First Amendment been revoked?" Well, maybe that's three more questions.

  19. Hah. The have 5AM permit? Show me the money. Demand the Alderman show you the permit.

    Regardless, presume they have a 5AM permit, they still MUST COMPLY WITH NOISE ORDINANCES. These are enforced by the Department of the Environment.

    All noise ordinances are in effect from the hours of 8am to 8pm. If you hear anything before 8am or after 8pm then there's likely a code violation.

    Call the Department of the Environment at 312.744.7672 to file a complaint.

    Here are the options listed by the City of Chicago

    Here is the city's own brochure for contractors on the noise ordinance.

    If these arenas for citizen action are inadequate, we have other options. It involves recording the violations ourselves and sending them to Uptown Update, The News-Star, the ABC I-Team, the Sun-Times, the Reader, and the Tribune. Time stamped photos and video are excellent. If possible, actual decibal measurements would be fantastic.

  20. Chuck, thanks for asking those three questions. The subpoena question has been on my mind since March 9 but was somehow afraid to ask that question. The lack of discussion about it seemed ominous.

    Has the subpoena been quashed? Or have the courts upheld it?

  21. Slight correction, the noise ordinance hours are 7am to 8pm.

    7AM and 8AM is almost a point of contention. All the information I can find that is published by the city says "generally 8AM", but I know AP called the DotE and they said 7AM. Clearly there is leeway provided by the city, but if it is provided to Walsh then we need to see the proof in writing.

  22. It seems to me that this is something Fix Wilson Yard's attorneys should be handling. If they can prove violations of the work permit hours, wouldn't that be grounds for stopping, or stalling, construction?

    FWY folks, what say you?

  23. If they can prove violations of the work permit hours, wouldn't that be grounds for stopping, or stalling, construction?

    Hmm, grounds to show the judge there is in fact an immediate impact on the surrounding community?

  24. Tuesday night, the 10th, I was walking home from the gym at 11:00PM and there was construction going on. So I called 311 and they transferred me to the police non-emergency line. They said they would send police.