• Heather Cherone
    FEB 28, 2018

    February 2018 Full City Council Preview: Council Mourns Slain Commander, High School Students; New Englewood High School Set For Final Approval

    The City Council will gather Wednesday for its first full meeting since CPD Commander Paul Bauer was slain steps from City Hall on Feb. 13 and a gunman armed with an assault rifle killed 17 students in Parkland, Florida,  on Feb. 14.

    Both incidents have reshaped the debate over gun control nationwide and in Illinois, giving new life to a proposed state law —  now named for Bauer — that would ban extended-gun magazines, like the one used to kill the commander outside the Thompson Center.

    The council is expected to adopt a resolution of support for that law, a day after Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson traveled to Springfield to lobby for the measure. That law would also limit the use of body armor by members of the public.

    Aldermen plan to recess the meeting for a symbolic 17 minutes, one minute for every victim of the Parkland shooting.

    Face Lift Looms For O’Hare Airport

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel is also expected to introduce an $8.5 billion project to expand and modernize O’Hare Airport that has been the subject of intense negotiations.

    The project would add dozens of new gates and several new terminals to bring the airport into the 21st century, officials said.

    The council is also expected to approve a host of new 15-year rental agreements designed to pump $37.5 million into the effort to expand and modernize O’Hare Airport’s ground and cargo operations.

    Aldermen are also expected to approve $150 million in bonds to be issued to build the Aeroterm cargo development at O’Hare. While the firm needed the city’s blessing to get the bonds at a low rate, taxpayers are not obligated to repay the funds.

    Final Approval Set For New Englewood High School

    Plans for a new $85 million high school on Robeson High School’s campus will be up for final approval Wednesday.

    Simultaneously, the Chicago Board of Education is expected to vote to close Robeson, Harper, Hope and TEAM Englewood high schools, which district officials consider under enrolled.

    Although a self-imposed moratorium prevents the district from closing schools, officials have said they are acting at the request of Englewood residents who are demanding better schools with more resources for their children. However, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Sunday that the leading advocate voices for the new high school came from suburban residents as well as a Chicago Public Schools contractor.

    The three-story, $85 million steel-frame building will eventually house 1,200 students. It cleared the Plan Commission earlier this month and is scheduled to open to a freshmen-only class of 300 students in 2019.

    Ald. Danny Solis (25) said the state-of-the-art school would “inspire parents and students to excellence,” while Ald. George Cardenas (12) applauded CPS for embracing a “go big or go home” philosophy.

    Other Items Slated for Approval

    • New Sexual Harassment Provisions (O2017-8684) – Aldermen approved language changes that would broaden the city’s definition of sexual harassment in the city’s Governmental Ethics Ordinance. Under the changes, constituents, business owners, and lobbyists who interact with aldermen can bring a harassment complaint to the city’s Board of Ethics. Our story.  Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26) announced on Twitter that he would introduce a new city law that would also require city “contractors to have a comprehensive sexual harassment policy.”

    • $20 Million Settlement for Off-Duty Crash – The settlement with the families of Andrew Cazares and Fausto Manzera will be considered Wednesday by the full City Council. Both died in a fiery car wreck after Chicago police Detective Joseph Frugoli drunkenly crashed into their car. The suit alleged the city was liable for their deaths because Frugoli escaped punishment for two previous accidents after being protected by other officers. Frugoli, the suit said, came to believe that he could “drink and drive with impunity.” Our story.

    • Tax Break for Old Main Post Office (O2018-657) – The redevelopers of the Old Main Post Office, 601W Cos., will make up for part of its $292 million spend to rehabilitate the art deco building that hovers above the Eisenhower Expressway and Amtrak rails. Aldermen approved a $100 million break on their city real estate taxes for the next 12 years, granting the building its Class L break. Our story.

    • New Euthanasia, Humane Policies for Shelter Animals (O2018-178) – Resident animal defender Ald. Raymond Lopez (15) won approval for two ordinances. One requires Animal Care and Control Commissioner Susan Russell to develop a written euthanasia policy that specifies the grounds on which animals are selected to be put down and outlines a “humane procedure” for conducting the procedures. Earlier this year, the city’s Animal Care and Control Center became so overcrowded the center warned it would have to begin euthanizing animals. Aldermen also endorsed another ordinance authored by Lopez (O2018-180) that would require all animals deemed dangerous to be treated “humanely at all times” while in the city’s shelter. Our story.

    • Vienna Beef Sale (O2018-159) – The city sold a piece of land near the once-cluttered intersection of Damen, Elston, and Fullerton to Vienna Beef. The company plans to redevelop the property with a Chick-fil-A and a Panera, both with drive-thrus. The $765,000 sale is part of a continued back and forth with the city at that site over several years - some of which likely benefited Ald. Ed Burke (14). Ald. Deb Mell (33) voted against the measure because of traffic concerns. Our story.

    • Eight Long-Term Riverwalk Cafe Licenses (O2018-639, O2018-624, O2018-637, O2018-643, O2018-642, direct introductions) – Eight businesses won multi-year rights to set up shop along Chicago’s riverwalk in the Housing Committee. Neighbors in the condominiums across from one of those licensees, Island Party Hut, wanted assurances the city would monitor noise coming from the tiki-themed bar. Those licenses will help the city pay back a multimillion dollar federal loan to fix up the riverwalk. Our story.

    • Resolution for Haitians to stay in the U.S. (R2018-37) – This latest resolution aimed at President Donald Trump asks him to allow Haitians to stay in the United States under provisional legal residency because of the lingering effects of a massive earthquake in 2010 and the cholera epidemic and humanitarian crisis that followed. Our story.

    • The appointment of Amanda Carter to the Chicago Electrical Commission (A2018-2)– Carter replaces Morris Toporek, who resigned. The commission, whose website has not been updated since 2016, enforces the Chicago Building Code. Aldermen also approved a change to the revamped Electrical Code in Rules Committee (O2017-8554).

    • Another Homeshare Ban from Quinn (O2018-133) – Ald. Marty Quinn (13) breezed by reporters at License committee to speak in favor of another ban against Airbnb or other home-sharing services from setting up shop in his Southwest Side ward. This measure would ban it in the 14th precinct. Our story.

    • New West Loop Library (SO2018-156)– The committee approved a redevelopment agreement with 118 N. Aberdeen LLC for renovation of a two story building into a new library and regional office. Developer Sterling Bay’s density bonus payments for the nearby development at the former Coyne College site (330 N. Green, below) will help pay for the project. Our story.

    • West Loop Towers (02017-8983) – The committee approved the $260 million Sterling Bay project, which includes a 20-story office building at 330 N. Green St. and a 19-story office building at 333 N. Green St. Both buildings will have shops on the first floor, and replace the Coyne College building and its adjacent parking lot. The developments will add $9.1 million to the city’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund. Our story.

    • Lakeview TOD (O2017-9003) – This eight-story, 140-unit transit-oriented development at 3300 N. Clark St. in Lakeview will have five affordable units on site. The developer will pay $1.125 million into the Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund. Our story.

    • West Town TOD (O2017-6218) – A seven-story 97-unit transit-oriented development at Milwaukee and Chicago avenues in West Town got a green light from the Zoning Committee. Plans call  for 19 on-site affordable units (of 97 total) in this mixed use building. Total project cost is $17.9 million. Our story.

    • Old Town’s Father and Son Plaza Replacement (O2016-8617) – A new 12-story, 261-unit apartment complex near the CTA Brown Line at 633 W. North Ave. Seven affordable units will be included in the project, and the developer will contribute $2.4 million to the city’s affordable housing fund in lieu of the other 19 required affordable units, officials said. Our story.

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