An Alderman's Late-Breaking Rebuttal | Letters | Chicago Reader

An Alderman's Late-Breaking Rebuttal 

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I read your article about the development at Polk and Clark streets in my ward [The Works, May 5] with great interest. Peter Ziv provided your publication with one side of the issue. In the interest of providing your readers with both sides of this issue, I will give you, as Paul Harvey puts it, "the rest of the story."

Mr. Ziv omitted some facts. They may help to clarify the chain of events.

The developer Terrapin has an as-of-right zoning for this parcel of land. They enjoy the full rights of property ownership and are building within the zoning for this area.

I came out to Mr. Ziv's apartment about one year ago and met with 40 residents of Folio Square. They expressed their concerns, which I communicated to Terrapin.

Despite resistance from Terrapin, my office was able to set up a community meeting at Grace Place about one month later. The plans for the development were shown with lackluster support from the community. After this response I urged Terrapin to revise their plans and meet with the community, showing changes.

Shortly thereafter I asked Terrapin to meet with Peter Ziv and Steve Fors, the president of Folio Square. They presented two modified plans with a provision for a setback that would have mitigated to some degree the "canyon effect" and would have helped save some views, and the second to narrow the structure to allow more space in the alley between the two buildings and let in more light. Terrapin did not have to modify their initial plans, but at my insistence they did. Unfortunately for the residents of Folio Square and the community, Peter Ziv unilaterally rejected the two modified plans.

I strive to work for the best interests for all of my constituents. In this instance, my ability to intervene on the behalf of the community has been compromised by the zoning of this area and by Mr. Ziv's unilateral actions at the meeting with Terrapin. This issue has been discussed with the Department of Planning and Development, the Law Department of the city of Chicago, and my office. In a court of law the rights of the property owner would prevail. If there were anything that I could have done it would have happened.

I thank your readers for this opportunity to state the facts in this case.

Alderman Madeleine L. Haithcock

Ben Joravsky replies:

The other side of the other side of the story is that I called Alderman Haithcock for her side of the story and she didn't call back.

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