Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Lack of Planning Coming soon to Wilmette

Last Friday a rather informal, (but official) meeting was held at Chinoiserie Cafe in Wilmette in the 4th and Linden Business district to discuss propozed zoning changes to this small district. After some good coffee and rolls, 3 of our village trustees put forth a rather unknowable plan to raise building height limits in the neighborhood and decrease parking requirements. All of the trustees in attendance attempted the Orwellian feat of explaining how increasing the allowable height, actually controlled the building size in the neighborhood. Nor was anyone actually going for the mass transit accessibility story, while several cars in front of adjoining apartments were ticketed for one reason or another.

There was something of a hush over the meeting, as very few in the neighborhood are sold on the idea that increasing congestion is a positive development. Several in attendance noted that at least 3 stories were required to make a profit on a new development. I asked if anyone had done the calculation as to how many additional units could be placed in the district under the new zoning.

As no one had done the arithmetic, I took an hour yesterday to calculate.

Total new sq ft available for apartments (condos) 2,264,220 sq ft.
Total new apartments at 1500 sq ft per unit: 1500 Units
At 80% coverage: 1200 Units

This is at 3 stories in height. No one actually thinks developers would stick to 3 stories, as some "concessions" (per the Trustees) may be exchanged with the developers in exchange for variances.

I came out asking myself, why would anyone in the neighborhood want 1200+ additional units built here. The short answer: No one in the neighborhood is asking for this. The Village Trustees have taken it upon themselves to pave the way for high density development, not keeping with the neighborhood.

As one of the Trustees said "you have to play the developer's game", to which I reply, "No you don't. It's our Village, not theirs".

How about it Wilmette? You looking for 1200 more cars parked in your neighborhood?

Photo's tomorrow.
Here are some photos I shot today at 4th and Linden. The area has a certain charm about it, small shops, pedestrian traffic, parking generally available. As you can see, it is not a architectural masterpiece, but certainly tolerable.

Spanish Mediterranean Arts and Crafts Mixed Use Commercial and Residential. Very pretty terra cotta, fits well in Wilmette. I doubt anyone is proposing to build such a structure today.

Adamseque 1 story decorative tile retail building. Would most certainly be torn down, or facadectomied in a zoning change.

Quaint, but rather outdated grocery store, most certainly a candidate for teardown (or replacement even without a zoning change). No residential on this block. The Lanon Stone facade is repeated throughout the 4th and Linden Neighborhood.

Soviet Style residence, 5 stories, does not match much of anything in neighborhood. Probably a bit too traditional for any new developer, but lack of parking and drab design are very much in fashion in similar developments in Evanston. Anyone want 40 more of these beauties?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe if you stopped leaseing to dry cleaners and doctors offices, the area could become more of a pedestrian location. (think cute shops) STOP condo development the market is already saturated!!