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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Jan 20

Environmental Concerns Swirl Around Mission Hills Development Plan, Opponents Urge Cook Co. Board To Delay Vote (UPDATED)

Residents of Mission Hills Country Club Village in unincorporated Northbrook want Cook County commissioners to delay a vote on a new housing development proposed for their community.

Northbrook-based Red Seal Development wants to build a 137-unit housing development that includes town homes, duplexes and single-family homes on about 44 acres of land at Mission Hills, a complex that currently features 781 condominiums and town homes as well as a separately-owned, 18-hole golf course.

Red Seal is seeking approval from the Cook County Board for zoning changes that would pave the way for the project, which would involve building on half of the existing golf course.

The Cook County Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) voted unanimously to advance Red Seal's proposal back in December. As a result, the Cook County Board's Zoning and Building Committee is slated to consider the project at its meeting on Wednesday morning. If the committee approves the project, it could go before the full Cook County Board for consideration later in the day.

Mission Hills Openlands, a group of residents leading the effort against the proposed development, claims the project would threaten the environment and property values in the community and lead to more flooding problems, among other concerns.

"What they're doing is an environmental travesty," stressed Mission Hills Openlands founder Karen Jump. "They would be clear cutting about 500 trees and taking 44 acres of open lands and putting it under asphalt and concrete. And we're in a very short distance to the Des Plaines River, and there's flooding all around us."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Wed Jul 30, 2014

Chicago City Council Roundup: Minimum Wage Bump, Phone Tax Hike & New Moratorium

Progress Illinois provides highlights from Wednesday's jam-packed Chicago City Council meeting.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Apr 29, 2014

Chicago Petcoke Ordinance Passes Key Hurdle

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s revised ordinance to regulate petcoke stored in Chicago cleared the city council's zoning committee Tuesday, despite an outpouring of objection from residents who want nothing short of a complete, citywide ban on the material. Progress Illinois was there for the hearing.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon Jan 6, 2014

Pilsen Residents Push Back Against Proposed Metal Recycling Facility

Chicago's Zoning Board of Appeals granted Pure Metal Recycling more time on its application for a special use permit involving the company's attempt to open a large shredding facility in Pilsen.

In late December, an attorney for Pure Metal Recycling asked that the hearing be postponed until this month at the request of Ald. Danny Solis (25th), whose ward would house the proposed metal shredder. The Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization (PERRO) had requested that the aldermen ask for the delay, citing environmental community concerns. The next Zoning Board of Appeals hearing on the matter is scheduled for January 17 at 2 p.m.

The company is seeking a special use permit to establish a $30 million metal recycling facility on 15 acres of land near Cermak Road and Loomis Street by the South Branch of the Chicago River. It would be nearly across the street from Benito Juarez Academy, 1510 W. Cermak Rd., and a few blocks from another metal shredding facility, Sims Metal Management, at 2500 S. Paulina St.

Some community members say the new scrap metal factory would be a step back when it comes to the recent environmental progress in Pilsen, such as shutting down the Fisk coal-fired power plant as well as cleaning up the H. Kramer copper smelting foundry and the former Lowenthal Metals site.

"There's no zero-emissions shredder," Nelson Soza of the community group Pilsen Alliance said in remarks after the December 20 meeting. "These metals are going to be particles that are going to fly into the air. These folks use water to suppress that, but there is no 100 percent assurance ... that this is going to be completely clean."