The continuation of the Plan Commission meeting scheduled for May 3, a discussion of amended plans for the 7400-7412 Harrison Street apartment building project, was postponed because a locally widespread Comcast outage would have made it impossible for Zoom participation.
The meeting continuation will now be held on June 7 at 7 p.m. The format, whether in-person or over Zoom, had not been announced as of May 26, but information will be posted on the village website at forestpark.net.
The continuation was decided upon during the March meeting, at which residents showed an outpouring of opposition to certain aspects of the proposed project, by 7400-7412 Harrison Street Properties LLC. Tony Kaldis, who owns the property of the planned development, is one of the members of that LLC.
Opposition during the March meeting centered around a few key aspects of the project, including: unit count and density of population; traffic and parking issues; storm water management on site and the impact on the neighborhood; and roof top deck sound management.
The developers came back with an amended plan, cutting the number of units and addressing some of the other problems mentioned by residents.
Most notably, and in response to the issue of density, the developer has reduced the number of units from 57 to 48, cutting nine units from the plans.
Additionally, they have changed the unit types, completely eliminating studio apartments and two-bedroom/one-bathroom units. In the new plans, one-bedroom/one-bathroom apartments (average size 891 square feet) make up 56.25 percent of the total units; two-bedroom/two-bathroom apartments (average size 1,190 square feet) make up 43.75 percent of the total number of units.
According to a revised description of the plan from the developers, “This modification also increases the minimum lot area per unit to 576 square feet and increases the parking/dwelling unit ratio to 1.41 parking spaces per unit.”
Traffic issues brought up during the April meeting have been addressed by the developer through proposal of a designated zone for deliveries and for ride-share pick-up and drop-off.
Additionally, Eriksson Engineering has done a more thorough traffic study and analysis, and the developers “continue to affirm the proposed residential use is significantly reducing the site’s contribution to traffic along Harrison Street.”
In terms of corner visibility, the developers point to four other instances on Harrison Street where there is a 0-foot setback, which shows, they say, “the proposed 0-foot setback in no way impedes the visibility of pedestrian or on-coming vehicular traffic.” These other examples are at the intersection of Harrison Street with Hannah, Circle, Beloit and Ferdinand Avenues.
Stormwater management will include an underground storage system that will improve upon existing conditions, even accounting for the use of water from 48 units, claim the developers.
As for sound from the proposed rooftop deck, the developers provided minimum sound dissipation values from three different locations next to the proposed building; at each of these locations, volume from the deck would be 35dB or less. According to the developers, traffic and vacuums exceed 70 dB while a whisper is 30 dB and a quiet library is 40 dB. Therefore, according to developers, sound would not be a problem from the rooftop deck.
The developer states in the summary of the project that the area would be improved with the removal of an old auto repair garage, a defunct bar and lounge, and a restaurant, which are all “in various states of disrepair and due to age and deferred maintenance, would require substantial repairs or reconstruction in order to bring up to a safe and usable condition.” The summary report also states that the location wouldn’t be good for retail and that a recently completed market study shows the best use of the property would be housing.
“This is based on the current location, specific amenities of the site, access to Forest Park’s park and premiere outdoor space and easy access to transportation,” according to the report.
Pappageorge Haymes Partners is the architect on the project, and the developer has described this project as “a horizontal stretch of canvas for the passerby and onlookers creating a dynamic fluid movement that keeps the viewers interest akin to artwork weaved into the fabric of the neighborhood.”
The development would sit across from the tennis courts at the park district, in the current location of Forest Park Foreign Car Repair and previous locations of Oak Leaf Lounge and The Pines restaurant. The planned development will cover the entire block, minus H&R towing, on the southeast corner.