June 7, 2016 ELVN Minutes
The ELVN Second Quarter General Meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Lakeview Presbyterian Church.
Ald. Cappleman arrived later but was not present at the time of Jim’s call for reports.
Third Space Project
Rev. Joy Douglas Strone, Pastor of Lakeview Presbyterian Church, gave a presentation about Third Space.
The building in which Third Space will hold activities was built in 1911 by and for immigrants. The vision for Third Space is a community building for a town square for Lakeview, where you run into new and old friends of all ages and interests. This summer it will experiment with programs and activities. A capital campaign is ongoing to raise $8 million.
Jim recognizes Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, Ald. Tunney, Will Demille of LVCC, and the Presidents of the Triangle Neighbors and Southport Neighbors.
Before commencing the Plaza presentations of the Cubs and Ald. Tunney, Jim reminded everyone that we are one community even when we fiercely disagree and asked that everyone remain respectful during the presentations and Q&A.
Mike Lufrano introduced Heather Way-Kitzes. Mike first stated that the Cubs’ goal with the Plaza project is similar to the entirety of the 1060 Project, which is to retool to keep the Cubs and Wrigley Field relevant and thriving. He said that the Cubs and the community need to work together.
Heather stated that in addition to her official role with the Cubs she also works with Hickory Street Development and Levy Restaurants. She stated that, in the many meetings that she has attended over the years, fear about a project usually drives large turnout. She stated her own acronym for fear to be false evidence appearing real.
She stated that she wants to dissuade people’s fears and to give the community the vision that the Cubs have. She stated that the Cubs currently have the best record in baseball and spoke about the charity work of the Cubs in Lakeview, including security officers before and after games, sweeping the streets of the community every day during the season. She also mentioned the renovations around Wrigley Field in the past several years. She stated that the hotel office building and Plaza are run by Hickory, which is also owned by the Ricketts family. The hotel will be ready in 2017 and will include retail which will not exclusively be hospitality businesses, along with 175 rooms under Starwood.
Heather stated that it is not the Cubs’ vision to have a 365-day beer garden. The Cubs have a security plan which is of extremely high priority, including a security staff present 24/7, cameras, and no alcohol is to leave Plaza. She showed a Draft Operations Plan which some commented was the first anyone had ever seen from the Cubs about the Plaza. The Plaza will be cleaned following each event and the Cubs will continue to regularly attend community meetings to receive feedback and concerns.
She stated that some examples of Plaza events will be an ice skating rink, movies when the Cubs are out of town, food/wine events, and small concerts. She stated that the Cubs did not file for a permit to circumvent the process. She stated that because several ordinances have been filed, the Cubs felt that discussions broke down so they filed an application. She stated that the permit does not give them exactly what they want but it gives them something. The license allows beer, wine, and spirits with a cutoff of 11 p.m. weekdays and 12 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. It is a liquor license so it is not ideal for what they want to achieve. She stated that other cities are having similar trends in baseball. They consider the Draft Kings bar as a model in terms of restrictions of time and service.
Ald. Tunney Presentation:
Ald. Tunney stated that he has a good relationship with the Cubs and has been working with them for 3 years on the Plaza. Wrigley Field is a very small space in relation to other stadiums, with 3 acres while most others have 30 or more. He approved of the outside operations in the hotel and Plaza and the office building. The Cubs have requested a patio permit which allows alcohol service 365 days per year. While the average Chicago patio permit covers up to 50 people and the current largest covers up to 240, the Cubs’ request would allow 4,000-6,000 people, to which he and the community strongly object. Ald. Tunney’s proposal is an experiment that sunsets in 2 years. He notes that Crane Kenney at one time said he would like up to 25 concerts in Plaza. In 4-6 weeks there will be a public hearing on the Cubs’ permit application.
Bennett Lawson provided many details of Ald. Tunney’s proposal. In 2013 many Wrigley Field issues were discussed and the one left for later discussion was the Plaza. In December 2015 community leaders looked at the Plaza ordinance and negotiated with the Cubs. The ordinance requires an applicant to get an amusement license for the events. Ald. Tunney’s proposed ordinance creates special events permits for large events over 1,000 people, specifies that it is not for a game or concert, and allows noise to exceed levels currently permitted by city ordinance. On game days the Plaza would be an extension of the concourse, beer and wine would be sold on Plaza and concourse and allow patrons to go back and forth. The Plaza would close 45 minutes after the end of a night game.
Concerts on school nights would be prohibited between Labor Day and June 15. If there were no game or concert, there would be events such as the ice rink, a low key concert, with closing at 10 p.m. on weekdays, 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, 9 p.m. on school nights, with the current noise ordinance observed. Ald. Tunney’s proposal would limit the Cubs to 8 special events per year, which could be fashion week, food/wine festivals, etc. The bathroom requirements would be in full effect as well. It would sunset 2 years after everything is done to see how it works and to get community feedback.
Signage issues are to be reviewed during the time too. The Cubs’ requested outdoor patio license would allow them to operate until 11 p.m. on weekdays, 12 a.m. on weekends, with a secured area and no amplified sound. Bennett never saw a plan of operation from the Cubs until tonight. He agreed that the Draft Kings bar is not used 365 days but that is only because the Cubs have elected not to do so. They could do so if they wished.
Comments are due to the liquor commissioner by 5:00 p.m. Thursday June 9.
Jim calls for questions.
Mark asks about the comment process. Ald. Tunney says that there is a 35-day comment period after the application Levy made on May 5, the liquor commissioner reviews and either grants the permit, denies it, or the debate continues on the plan of operation.
Jeff a resident asks about parking. Ald. Tunney says that is why the community has permit parking, with the remote lot and Grace street lots, the Eddy garage that added 100 spaces, and we do not want to increase capacity with the Plaza which brings more people. He stated that we will always have a parking problem.
Tom asks about Heather’s mention of the Cubs contributing money for streets and where the money originates and also noted that he has never seen security by his street only blocks away. He also said that he never heard of the community focus groups mentioned by Heather. Mike Lufrano says charities raised money through the 50-50 raffle during games, at the Bricks and Ivy Ball, personal donations of the Ricketts and others. On street cleaning he said the Cubs do not decide where they clean, as it is OEMC which decides. He said the same about the security forces, as the 19th district decides where police go.
Lisa Iverson with Southport Neighbors says that near Patterson the Cubs cannot control the Jumbotron sound and that the Cubs must focus on nearby families’ expectations. She asks what the Cubs will do to address the noise issues. Mike Lufrano says that Ald. Tunney’s proposed ordinance limits the number of events to exceed noise limits and that the Cubs version has no exception for noise. No amplified sound on Plaza will be allowed. They will measure sound. Bennett says Ald. Tunney’s pulls back the hours to address the noise issue.
Greg from Southport Neighbors asks Mike and Heather to point out the parts objectionable in Ald. Tunney’s ordinance. Mike says it restricts private property and the Cubs want to offer fans lot of options.
Alan a resident states that Ald. Tunney’s ordinance seems to call for 100-120 days to serve alcohol while Heather says the Cubs’ version is merely “not 365 days,” so he asks what is the Cubs’ number of service days and what does 19th district think. Ald. Tunney says there are concerns from CPS but no official response yet. Mike says the Cubs have no answer but it depends on the permitted use, such as beer being allowed during ice rink use.
Max a resident asks if the Plaza will be similar to Millennium Park in allowing only one entrance. Mike says the office will be at the north end and it will not be one big open space. Also as to street closings Mike says they are not on the table after the City rejected the idea. Ald. Tunney says that he wants to keep streets open, but it seems that the Cubs want to own the streets.
Nicole a resident asks how many days events will be allowed, as concerts are most disruptive. Bennett says that conceivably an event could span 2 weekends, but realistically not likely.
Will from LVCC stated that LVCC recently sent a letter to the liquor commissioner asking him to reject the Cubs’ applied patio license due to many concerns about usage, noise, security, and signage, such as the OAR concert and snowmobiling that occurred in upcoming Plaza space. Will asks if the Cubs would be willing to submit a plan of operations and if the requested outdoor patio license would allow a tent like the former Cubs store. Mike says tonight’s described version is similar to that provided in early meetings and that the tent would not be the open space they envision for the Plaza.
Jenny a resident stated that construction routinely starts before 5:30 a.m and that she has concerns about security and home values, as she has already had people cut across her yard and that she opposes the Cubs’ proposal and supports Ald. Tunney’s proposal.
Mark a small business owner says that he is supporting the project and that, if managed properly, will help property values.
Doug from South Lakeview Neighbors says that he is on the Board of the Chamber that supports the Cubs’ Plaza proposal and asks why Ald. Tunney would not try the Cubs’ proposal for 2 years. Bennett states that it is because that is not how licenses work because once you get a license, it is permanent until revoked or relinquished.
Dennis a resident asks how the Cubs plan to control fights if possibly 4,000-6,000 people are on the Plaza. Mike Lufrano says that the plan would include security off-duty officers 3 hours after games.
Nolan Levine a resident states that he is concerned about a “not my problem” attitude of the Cubs regarding who will keep the noise down. He mentioned how on Grace and Kenmore last month a weapon had to be discharged to break up a robbery and that Bobcat machines are running at 5:00 a.m. out of the Grace lot.
People ask where police are on the street. Ald. Tunney says we have 367 officers and that the CPD commander controls where they are deployed.
Terie asks if the Plaza will be grass or concrete. Mike says it will be grass. Heather says it will partly be concrete and partly water too.
A few ask why there are no sound monitors outside of park. The license could call for revocation for deleterious impact due to noise Bennett says. Bennett says to call the alderman if there are any noise problems.
The meeting adjourned at 8:49 p.m.