Friday, June 5, 2009

Lake Effect News Coverage Of Beacon Zoning

Read LEN Editor Lorraine Swanson's coverage of the zoning hearing involving 4627 N Beacon, "The Ayes Have It" here.

Read "Shiller Returned Developers Contribution" here.


  1. "Byrne’s attorney, Thomas Moore, said that his client went door to door on the 4700 block of North Beacon and submitted 116 signatures from residents who signed off on the project."

    I hope someone files an FOIA request to verify this. Remember the Medill student who FOIA'd the 70 or so letters Ald. Shiller waved in front of the Zoning Board of Appeals to say they were all in support of Labor Ready coming to Sheridan Road. The student discovered that 7 were in favor, and they all had boilerplate language. The rest were against it.

    But little things like telling the truth to decisionmakers has never stopped Ald. Shiller from inventing facts that favor whatever whackadoodle cause she's championing.

    I'd be very curious to know (1) why the 4700 block of Beacon was surveyed (rather than the 4600 block, where the home is located), (2) just what exactly was explained to the signers that the petition was about, and (3) whether or not the people who signed it actually did... or simply if their names were used.

    This is supposing, of course, that the 116 signatures in favor actually exist.

  2. Is attorney Thomas Moore the same Tom Moore who was representing the developer who wanted to develop the KFC lot into retail space and residential condos? That deal seems to have fallen through, as we heard the land was for sale again some time ago.

  3. I really am sick of this Shiller and I hope everyone else is too. I seen her for too many years putting BS policy most of the times. I am sure when election time comes many will remember not to vote her in again. If you do you have no-one to blame but yourself............

  4. “However, the economy has dramatically changed as well know and I was always uncomfortable with the fact … that there wasn’t one set of rules and all I can say to you is that I’m uncomfortable with. I think we have to have a set of rules that people can follow fairly. We can argue both sides of what the developer knew and didn’t know.” Helen

    This my friends, is Helen speak. Could someone fluent in Helen speak please translate?

  5. Oh wow. This is an absolute shame. The developer and Shiller should have a lawsuit filed against them. They are basically saying "oops, there was an oversight about this place - we didn't realize this was historic and zoned as such....that is just downright unacceptable and a lie. They should be held accountable for this and not get away with it by just saying they screwed up when all along they fully knew what they were doing. The only reason she gave back this guys contributions is b/c she knew it would be found out he gave her money and she would be called out on it. What horrible, selfish, disgraceful people they are. Oh I could go on....

  6. uh, didn't helen get $10,000 in contribution from Peter Holsten? Mmmm, I wonder if that money was returned?

  7. as a newcomer to sheridan park and this specific issue, why was it so important to prevent this old house from being torn down, other than it was old and pretty? And won't more residents who own in the neighborhood, vote and pay taxes be good for the area?

  8. Many neighbors believe it's important to protect some of the older buildings in the area to maintain its unique character. It's the very reason why that parcel of land was zoned the way it was... The intention was to prevent a developer from buying it and tearing it down to build a multi-unit building. As one neighbor testified, "What's the purpose of zoning if it can be easily ignored?"

    Zoning guidelines are in place to protect an area and changing them should be rare. When it does happen, I believe there should be a public and open community process in place to reinforce the will of the community. This is also important because some Chicago aldermen have developed a bad reputation of pay-to-play politics around zoning changes. A transparent process prevents even the perception of pay-to-play.

    This is not the first time there was a link between a campaign contribution and a zoning change in the 46th Ward. If Ald. Shiller claims to refuse campaign contributions for favors, there are other developers and attorneys who should have their money returned as well.

  9. "Plans for his eight-unit residential development haven’t changed, he said. Materials for the building’s exterior fa├žade will not be out of character with the neighborhood’s historic architecture. The setbacks and easements will also remain the same as required in the RT-4 zoning.

    “I had plans for this building in 2005 when I went to city hall,” Byrne said. “I plan to build and sell the units for myself,” he said."

    **Let's remember this when Byrne sells to Chicago House so they can expand the other way.

  10. profile in courage: taking campaign cash before an election, returning it after you win

  11. Holy - the translation for everything that Helen says is:

    F*** you, that's why,

    I wonder what the statute of limitations is for signatures.

    I mean, this meeting was held 4 years later.

    Whatever - just another example of what a complete hack Helen Shiller is, and how unfit she is to be in a position of public responsibility.

    Interesting though for someone who detests and discriminates against condo owners so much to protect and defend a developer of condos ...

  12. TrumanSquareNabr -

    The 4600 block was petitioned by Byrne. He explained that the zoning change would allow for "unsubsidized rental units." I signed.

    To learn that it's going to be condos...

    Really should have gone to that meeting.

    No offense to condo owners, but affordable rental housing - for those of us who don't need or want government assistance but can't afford to buy - is very important.

    Does anyone know if there's any recourse after signing a petition based on a lie?

  13. to be more accurate the headline:

    "Shiller Returned Developers Contribution"

    should have been:

    "Facing her closest re-election battle in years, Shiller accepts a 2-year, un-collateralized, no-interest loan from a developer to whom she grants a zoning change upon prevailing"