The City Planning Commission approved a nine-story (106 ft.) design this week for a 200-unit apartment building at 3100 W. Lake St.
The approval follows more than a year of discussion between the developer and neighborhood group to find a compromise design. The Cedar-Isles-Dean Neighborhood Association voted “not to oppose” the project in mid-July, saying that height precedents in the area would be reasonably respected.
Several residents who spoke at the Planning Commission said they were pleased to see the arrival of higher-quality “Type 1” construction. The project would include 185 enclosed parking spaces.
Traffic and construction issues remain a concern for some neighbors.
Bob Corrick, chair of the Cedar-Isles-Dean Land Use Committee, said the neighborhood has seen success in negotiating lower heights, but issues like traffic and construction methods aren’t well resolved.
“This is the fifth project in about 12 years. … This kind of density has an impact on the neighborhood,” Corrick said. “… It seems that the city process and the city ordinance does not give the neighborhoods very much voice on these kinds of issues.”
Leo Zabezhinsky, a Loop Calhoun Condominium Association board member, said the Loop sustained $1.8 million in damage from construction-related vibrations next door at 3118 W. Lake St. He said the Loop’s opposition does not lie with the design, but rather with the potential for more damage. The Loop wanted a formal commitment to non-vibratory construction methods, monitoring during construction, and a plan for how to handle any damages. The developer and homeowners association could not reach an agreement, he said.
“We don’t want our building to be damaged, we don’t want to sue them, I don’t think they want to be sued. But as it currently stands, unfortunately we don’t have anything that gives our 122 homeowners the comfort that what happened with Trammell Crow won’t happen again,” he said.
The developer has met with nearby homeowner associations and provided a letter of intent to limit impacts to nearby buildings.
City Planning Commissioners voted to allow a nine-story height inside the Shoreland Overlay District, a district that requires projects meet certain conditions in order to rise above 35 feet.
Commissioner Scott Vreeland said the building fits into the context of the street, but voted against the project over height concerns. He said the 35-foot height limit aims to mimic tree heights and provide a more natural aesthetic.
“This is a lot taller than 35 feet,” he said. “I really want to remind folks that the Shoreland Overlay District is an important piece of our city being as great as it is.”
In response, Commissioner Sam Rockwell compared Bde Maka Ska (Lake Calhoun) to parts of the Downtown riverfront and Loring Park, which are more urban in nature.