Cook County Record

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Logan Square property owners sue City Hall to block Bickerdike 'affordable' apartment development

State Court

By Jonathan Bilyk | Feb 26, 2020

Logan square station entrance
Logan Square, Chicago | Eric Fischer / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

A group of Logan Square property owners have filed suit against the city of Chicago, asking a judge to block City Hall from continuing with plans to issue $22.5 million in bonds to support a 100-unit “affordable” apartment complex in the neighborhood.

The complaint was filed on Feb. 21 in Cook County Circuit Court by attorney Thomas J. Ramsdell, of Chicago.

The complaint was filed on behalf of an association identified as the Logan Square Neighbors for Responsible Development. Seven individual plaintiffs were named in the complaint, as well as four corporate entities.

The complaint names as defendants the city of Chicago, as well as Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation and Rockwell Community Development.

The lawsuit takes issue with the city’s decision in January to enact an ordinance issuing $22.5 million in “multi-family housing revenue bonds,” which would then be loaned to the developers of a seven-story, 100-unit apartment building planned for the city-owned lot at 2638 N. Emmett St. in the center of a triangle formed by the intersections of Diversey, Milwaukee and Kedzie avenues in the city’s Logan Square neighborhood. The lawsuit referred to the corridor as the "Logan Square Environs."

The complaint noted the "Milwaukee Avenue Corridor" and Environs are desired by residents and businesses alike, with hundreds of local businesses and several attractions, which draw many thousands of visitors every year to the neighborhood and corridor.

According to news articles published about the project, it would be considered wholly “affordable” housing, as half of the units would be designated for CHA tenants, and half would be reserved for tenants who earn no more than 60% of the local median income.

At city hearings, however, the project drew protests from some local residents, who said the project would take away one of the neighborhood's key parking lots and a CTA Blue Line Park n Ride. The complaint noted the lot includes handicapped parking for the Logan Square Blue Line station and grants users easy access to one of the region’s only handicapped accessible CTA station elevators.

The complaint also asserts the city did not do enough to study the impacts of the new proposed Bickerdike development on the surrounding neighborhood, or the city’s infrastructure there.

The ordinances approving the plan and the bonds were “enacted for the sole benefit of the Private Party Defendants, and over the strenuous objections of the property and business owners actually living in the Logan Square Environs,” the complaint said.

The lawsuit asks the judge to declare the city’s “irrational zoning” violated the rights of local property owners, and to strike down the ordinances approving the plan and issuing the bonds. Further, the plaintiffs asked the judge to block the city from issuing the bonds and implementing the plan.

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Organizations in this Story

Thomas J. Ramsdell AsocBickerdike Redevelopment CorpCircuit Court of Cook CountyCity of Chicago