Des Plaines council clears the way for controversial apartment building
After months of debate, the Des Plaines City Council on Monday cleared the way for a seven-story apartment building in the downtown area by rezoning the property.
Before a large audience at city hall, aldermen voted to make land on the 1300 block of Webford Avenue and the 600 block of Graceland Avenue part of the city's central business district. The adjoining properties are just south of the Union Pacific railroad tracks.
Barrington-based Compasspoint Development had requested the properties be rezoned from general commercial because a seven-story building wouldn't otherwise have been allowed there. Taller buildings are allowed in the central business district.
Compasspoint envisions 131 apartments, a restaurant and lounge, a rooftop swimming pool, a 179-space parking garage and other amenities.
But many residents in the neighborhood have opposed the proposal, citing concerns about traffic, safety and aesthetics. They did so again Monday.
One, Marian Cosmides, suggested a derailment along the tracks in that area could send a train hurtling into the apartment building.
A couple speakers said aldermen might find themselves voted out of office if they support the plan.
"If you make a mistake tonight, some of you will live to regret (it)," resident Oswald Nelson said.
Only one audience member not affiliated with the project spoke in favor of the plan.
The council approved the rezoning with a 7-1 vote. Alderman Sean Oskerka, whose 3rd Ward includes the site, cast the lone "no" vote.
Audience members stormed out after the vote, with at least one using a vulgarity to describe city officials as he departed.
The property's rezoning is dependent on the successful purchase by Compasspoint of a city-owned parking lot at 1332 Webford Ave. for the project, Community and Economic Development Director John Carlisle said Monday.
In a separate vote Monday, the city council tentatively approved selling the lot.
Officials previously had said the purchase price would be $300,000. But on Monday, officials said the price will drop to $10 if the developer purchases the Dance Building at 1330 Webford Avenue and promises to razes it and turn it into open space for the public.
It could remain privately owned, however, officials said.
A final vote on the parking lot deal could happen Aug. 15.
The Journal & Topics Media Group's building at 1368 Webford Ave. also occupies part of the proposed construction site. Compasspoint intends to purchase that land and raze that building.