Judge denies effort to halt NW Side housing, storage proposals

SHARE Judge denies effort to halt NW Side housing, storage proposals

Ald. John Arena | Sun-Times file photo

An effort to halt construction of a storage facility in the Jefferson Park neighborhood was denied by a Cook County judge Thursday, though a lawsuit still seeks to stop construction altogether.

As part of a lawsuit filed in Cook Count Circuit Court last week, the community group Northwest Side Unite asked for an injunction to stop any zoning changes to the land at 5150 N. Northwest Highway until the lawsuit is resolved.

The group argues that Ald. John Arena (45th) circumvented the rezoning process.

Thursday, a judge denied the motion for injunctive relief, saying the group had “presented no facts indicating that an emergency exists or irreparable harm will result if an injunction is not issued by the Court at this time,” according to court records.

The next court date is set for May 16. Attorneys for Northwest Side Unite could not be reached Friday evening.

The lawsuit stems from an effort by Arena to rezone the land to allow for the construction of a 75-foot-tall storage facility. A 100-unit, mixed-income housing development is also planned on another part of the property.

Last month, the Chicago Plan Commission approved only a portion of the project that included the self-storage facility, operated by Life Storage, which owns the property.

The vote did not include a companion proposal to build a seven-story residential building — with 20 market-rate units and 80 set aside for low-income residents, including veterans and those with CHA vouchers.

Arena has faced stiff opposition about the project from some Jefferson Park residents, who argue that a storage facility and 100-unit residential building will bring unwanted congestion to the area.

“We won’t be bullied out of doing the right thing for our veterans and the disabled, and we are confident that this proposal stands on firm legal ground,” Arena wrote on Facebook Friday.

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