Hearing on controversial apartment plan delayed in Des Plaines as opposition grows

A second public hearing on a controversial proposal for a seven-story apartment building near downtown Des Plaines has been postponed so the would-be developer can make changes.

But the possibility of changes to the plan, which focuses on land at the corner of Graceland and Webford avenues, doesn't make Des Plaines resident Barbara Dalton and other opponents any happier.

"We have no idea what the changes entail, but that's irrelevant," Dalton said. "We don't want the project built on this particular corner."

Originally scheduled for May 10, the hearing before the city's planning and zoning board now is set for 7 p.m. May 24, at city hall, 1420 Miner St.

The hearing was delayed at the request of Barrington-based Compasspoint Development, city officials announced in a Facebook post.

Compasspoint had proposed a 187,000-square-foot building containing 131 apartments, a parking garage and a restaurant and bar on the one-acre site. Compasspoint CEO Joe Taylor has said he'd operate the restaurant and bar.

The Journal & Topics Media Group's building and a public parking lot occupy the land now. The building would be razed if the plan progresses.

The redevelopment plan requires city approval. Compasspoint had requested variances from the city's building codes concerning landscaping and other issues, and for three parcels there to be consolidated into one.

Dalton particularly opposes a request to rezone the property to a classification that would permit an 82-foot-high building without landscaping or much space around it.

"The developer must have the zoning changed in order to build this project, so that's our focus," she said.

Dalton and other opponents have vastly outnumbered supporters. At an initial hearing last month, audience members spoke about the plan for nearly three hours, and nearly all were critical. More people panned it at Monday's city council meeting.

Most of the opponents have been concerned about traffic and safety in the neighborhood. Some have said they don't think the site is big enough for such a high-density development.

Alderman Sean Oskerka agreed.

"We need to put the right development in the right place and make Des Plaines the community we all know it can be," said Oskerka, whose 3rd Ward includes the site.

Taylor intends to update the plan based on public input, city officials said. Oskerka appreciated the extra work.

"I do believe that he is making an effort to listen to the people and understand what they are saying," Oskerka said. "I look forward to the next zoning meeting to see the changes that are made and to hear some more feedback from the neighbors around this site."

The proposal still will be on the agenda for the May 10 meeting, but Compasspoint representatives won't attend and no new material will be presented, city officials said.

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Des Plaines weighing proposal for seven-story apartment building downtown

No recommendation yet on apartments

  A developer has proposed building a seven-story apartment building at the corner of Graceland and Webford avenues in Des Plaines. The Journal & Topics Media Group building stands there now. Mark Welsh/
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