Des Plaines council could decide fate of controversial plan for apartments

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The fate of a controversial proposal for a seven-story apartment building near downtown Des Plaines soon could be decided.

The city council has been asked to consider rezoning the land for the 131-unit building on the northwest corner of Graceland and Webford avenues so that it can be built as tall as proposed. Aldermen could cast the first of two votes needed to make that happen when they meet Monday.

If they vote in favor of the plan, a second vote could occur immediately or at the council’s next meeting on Aug. 1.

Additionally, the council will consider selling land that’s needed for the project for $300,000. A public parking lot is there now.

As with the rezoning, the sale requires two votes.

In addition to apartments, the building would contain a restaurant and lounge and a 179-space parking garage.

Approval isn’t certain. The city’s planning and zoning board, which advises the council, essentially recommended the council reject the rezoning request from Barrington-based Compasspoint Development when the panel voted 3-3 on the proposal last month.

And public opposition has been significant. Foes of the plan have publicly pleaded with officials to reject it, expressing concerns about traffic, safety, and neighborhood aesthetics.

Des Plaines resident Jim Hansen, who lives across Webford from the site, said he’d love to see the property redeveloped but insisted a 131-unit apartment building isn’t the right fit. Conversely, the building that’s been proposed could be perfect for other property in town, Hansen said.

“It’s not the plan — it’s the location,” Hansen said.

Alderman Sean Oskerka, whose 3rd Ward includes the proposed construction site, predicted opponents will pack the council chamber Monday for the 7 p.m. meeting.

“They are passionate about their community,” Oskerka said. “I am already expecting to be there ’til midnight based upon how hot this topic has been over the last few months.”

Some residents have been meeting one-on-one with aldermen at the site in efforts to win them over, Oskerka said.

“Many (aldermen) have been going back and forth,” Oskerka said.

Compasspoint CEO Joe Taylor couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.

In addition to the parking lot, the Journal & Topics Media Group’s building sits on the land now. The building would be razed if the plan progresses.

You can watch the meeting live online at bit.ly/3RyTteH.

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July 15, 2022 at 02:47PM

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