WNC 2014 Year in Review

In 2014 the Winnetka Neighborhood Council made some significant changes and continues to work to serve the community. The Council changed meeting locations and can now be found meeting at the beautiful Winnetka Convention Center at 20122 Vanowen St. The conference room has recently been remodeled and offered to us for free. All meetings are open to the public and we encourage you to join us.

After our 2014 elections, our committees have been repopulated. This is where the real work gets done and we invite you to come and make your voice heard. The Outreach Committee is working hard to engage you in Council projects and meetings. In 2015 they plan to have some speakers you will want to come out and hear including a Health & Fitness Expert on Tuesday, February 24. Public Safety works on emergency preparedness events and education. Public Works & Transportation has been working on sanitation concerns in Winnetka with the Orange Line and will be considering the proposed Parthenia Road Diet. The Youth Advocacy Committee supports local programs that work with youth. You can find out more about our committees and when they are meeting at: http://winnetkanc.com/calendar.

The Planning and Land Use Management Committee regularly hears proposals for new construction and variance requests. The Winnetka Neighborhood Council continued to shape the community through meetings of the Land Use Committee and the whole Council on two major proposals.

The property at 8544-8654 Winnetka continued to be a focus of the WNC in 2014 after the Council made various recommendations in 2013 to meet the community’s needs. The proposal was to build 73 detached single homes. Board recommendations included ingress and egress changes, a dance structure at the Winnetka Recreation Center and planting of trees along the Chase side off Winnetka Park. Concerns about headlights on Penfield were mitigated with an agreement to build houses on Penfield instead of walls and fencing. Further, existing nearby homeowners with livestock were concerned about possible changes in zoning which would have eliminated their livestock. The WNC helped negotiate an agreement with the developer to relocate four condo units to meet the minimum distance requirements, thereby allowing the existing livestock to remain.

The WNC continued to express concern about the lack of sufficient on-site parking as the project went to City Planning in 2014, where it was ultimately approved without addressing the parking issue. The construction start date is unknown. Stakeholders have voiced concerns about squatters at the one remaining structure on the property. Williams Homes reports that they have asked the squatters to leave three times and have boarded up the windows and doors each time. The structure is scheduled to be demolished by the end of February.

In other development news, the Council created a forum to hear community concerns about a proposal at 19731-19737 Stagg Street for the development of sixteen single family homes. As a result, in June the Council asked the developer to reevaluate his proposal to include larger lot sizes, fewer homes, and more parking to reduce noise and parking impacts to the community. The developer has yet to bring a revised plan to the Council.

Next up for the Land Use Committee will be a proposal by LaTerra Development of a 4.28 acre parcel on Roscoe Blvd and Lanark Street. While the property is approved for a 124 unit, 3-story attached home community, the developer is proposing 25 single family homes and 52 attached homes. The Land Use Committee invites your comments and welcomes your participation as they explore how this project could benefit Winnetka.

In 2014 the WNC sponsored two major events including the Spring Clean and the Halloween Festival. At the Spring Clean volunteers worked to clean up the Orange Line busway and the neighborhood behind Quimby Park, east of De Soto. The Council partnered with Councilmember Blumenfield’s office, which provided a truck to haul away the trash. At the Halloween Festival, the WNC sponsored the carnival games and prizes. This was a great event where families could safely enjoy Halloween activities together. Board Members Eric Lace, Madison Lamoreaux, Trevor Owen, and Kathleen Peleaz worked the crowd, telling people about the Council.

“We are excited to involve more people in the work of improving our neighborhoods. We hope you will join us and voice your opinion on what Winnetka should look like in the future,” invites President Eric Lewis, “We need enthusiastic people to lead the charge!”

You are invited to join us for our Winnetka Neighborhood Council meetings on the second Tuesday of the month, 6:30pm.