|photo courtesy Uptown Church Facebook page
We've been hearing a lot of questions lately asking what's up with the CCO proposal to open its fourth homeless shelter at Clifton and Wilson.
Ald. Clay has said she's still in the information-gathering stage about whether or not to approve the necessary special use permit, and will announce her decision before the February 13th purchase deadline. The seller is Cedar St./FLATS.
Uptown Church, an existing tenant of the building (other retail tenants include 2 Bears Tavern and Downstate Donuts), has put out a carefully reasoned statement asking for clarification about several aspects of the plan.
While repeatedly stressing that the church is in favor of providing housing for vulnerable individuals, Uptown Church brings to light several issues with the plan as proposed that would make it very difficult for it to continue to operate. It expresses particular concerns that the alterations to its leased space might even put Uptown Church in violation of its own special use permit:
- ADA Accessibility. "We would need concrete guarantees and detailed plans that ensure our ADA accessibility is never compromised ... To remove ADA accessibility from Uptown Church could make it illegal for us to use our leased space as a church."
- Special Use Permit. "We have concerns that our special use permit might come into question. To put this concern to rest, we would need absolute assurance from the city of Chicago and the Zoning Board of Appeals (in writing) that any/all of the construction or proposed and actual changes to the building will not violate or compromise our current special use permit in any way."
- Shelter Elevator Would Take Space Away From Church Sanctuary. "Locating the elevator in our sanctuary compromises the layout and use of the space far too negatively for us. Based upon the layout of the room, the size of the space, and the proposed location of the elevator, the end result is too intrusive and alters the overall use and functionality of the auditorium to far too great an extent."
- Elevator Would Reduce Capacity Of Church. "We have concerns it is going to noticeably reduce our square footage, thereby considerably affecting the number of people that can gather for worship in our space. ... The proposed plan takes away too much vital and central square footage from our sanctuary."
- Additional Noise Issues. "We have concerns as we anticipate the amount of increased sound and noise disruption that will result from an elevator operating directly in our leased space or right next to it. To put this concern to rest, we would need to see detailed plans/solutions that can guarantee a level of sound mitigation that would allow our church to continue to engage in sacred, spiritual practices without increasing the level of noise and sound disruptions we are already accommodating in a mixed-use building."
"Thank you to all who attended the community meeting about Cornerstone’s proposal for a non-congregate men’s shelter at 1140 W. Wilson. A recording of the meeting can be viewed here. As our office is still in the decision-making process for this proposal we have updated the FAQ to reflect additional questions that were raised by attendees. The FAQ can be viewed here.If you have additional questions about the proposal, please reach out to our office at 773-848-4646 or email@example.com. If you were not able to fill out the survey or join the community meeting, and you would like to share your comments or position on the proposal, please reach out to our office.Alderwoman Clay will make a decision based on the community feedback we received via the survey, the community meeting held on 1/8, and other outreach including meetings with local businesses, block clubs, and stakeholders groups."