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Andersonville Residents Draft Action Letter To Alderman With Concern Over Building Developments

With many Andersonville homes being torn down over the last decade, some replaced by modern multi-unit condo complexes, residents in the East Andersonville area have drafted a letter to the Alderman with concerns over these developments.

The latest home to possibly be torn down, the historic graystone at 1436 W. Berwyn Ave., has banded many residents together and drawn enthusiastic support from the East Andersonville Residents Council (EARC). Together they have drafted two letters of action to Alderman Harry Osterman in opposition to future developments and to protect the charm of the neighborhood.

“For any action, there needs to be a clear purpose and vision. That is what this is about,” said EARC’s Lesley Ames. “Our purpose and vision is to preserve Andersonville’s unique neighborhood identity and the quality of living of those that live here.  This conversation needs to start in the community.”

The first letter is in response to the large condo complexes replacing the homes that were torn down. The residents who drafted the letter pointed out such issues as diminishing our neighborhood identity, the threat to historic charm and green space, eliminating expanded footprints which provide green space and the disappearance of trees and wildlife. They believe that without tighter restrictions, development introduces significant risk to current benefits of living in the area.

“The Andersonville neighborhood is rooted in historic architecture, beautiful green spaces and locally owned small businesses where families have resided for generations,” the letter strongly stated. “In many other Chicago neighborhoods, in lieu of densely constructed generic 6-flats and other larger structures, developers have eradicated the uniqueness of character. We don’t want this to happen to Andersonville.”

The letter seeks a downzone in EARC boundaries from zone R4 to zone R3, to help retain a uniform building scale in the neighborhood. It also seeks a moratorium on demolitions and preservation of architectural features.

The second action letter drafted for the Alderman focused strictly on trees and green space. In order to protect Andersonville’s tree-lined streets, the residents and EARC seek a public and private tree ordinance. The City of Chicago currently has a tree ordinance, but they feel it is not enough to protect such trees as the great 110-year-old elm behind 1436 W. Berwyn. They cite the importance of protecting trees for ‘a greener, more attractive city; reduced heat, noise and air pollution; and increased property values.’

“Developers that do not live here, are more interested in square footage and return on investment than our neighborhood quality of life,” Ames continued. “That is why the community needs to step up with a common vision and action plan, to protect that. Otherwise what we value will disappear.”

The action letter will be available at a community meeting being held by Alderman Harry Osterman in regards to the 1436 W Berwyn Development. It is planned for Monday, June 26, 7:30 p.m. at the Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark St.

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