Dec 13

UVNA December Holiday Social at the Rainbo Club!

Rainbo Club (photo via chibarproject.com)

Instead of the typical members meeting for December, the UVNA will gather at the Rainbo Club (1150 N. Damen Avenue) for a little holiday socializing on Thursday, December 19th from 6:30-8:30pm.  We’re inviting our neighbors in the associations around us to stop by for a little holiday cheer too. We look forward to seeing everyone!

Nov 13

UVNA November 2013 Meeting Notes

Thursday November 21st, 2013 – 6:30pm – St. Helen School Cafeteria

Officers and UVNA Board Members in attendance:

  • President:  Paul Matwyshyn
  • Vice President: Patrick Danaher
  • Treasurer: Harriet Siller
  • Secretary: Samantha Arnold
  • Board Members: George Matwyshyn


Presentation on Illinois PIRG’s efforts to educate Illinois Residents about the HealthCare Marketplace

We had a presentation from a Loyola University student and intern with Illinois -PIRG, a non-profit consumer awareness group.

Right now, Illinois PIRG is working on educating consumers about how best to shop for the new insurance options that are available to them.  As a consumer watchdog group, our main goal is to educate the general public about the new system and make sure that everyone is aware of their options and how to use their new benefits. We would like to provide information about the main changes of health insurance with the Affordable Care Act, a quick overview of how to get started with the Health Insurance Marketplace, and provide additional resources consumers can contact for more information.

  • Illinois’s website and process has been running much more smoothly than the federal website, and your best bet is to start with the state site.
  • There are 3 levels of service
  • Signing up by December 13th 2013 means your coverage begins Jan 1 2014
  • See this guide on their website, which includes a downloadable .pdf
  • Can also call 866-311-1119 for “Get Covered Illinois” which will help answer your questions

West Town SSA#29 Reconstitution & Expansion

  • What is the West Town SSA?

The West Town SSA was established in November 2004 by City Council ordinance.  The mission of West Town SSA is to maintain and improve the shopping, dining and nightlife within the SSA boundary by providing a cleaner, safer and more attractive commercial environment both for consumers, residents and business owners.

The Special Service Area (SSA) is an economic development tool, created by state statute and city ordinance, which allows extra real estate property taxes to be collected to fund added services for a defined area. It is the only taxing body in which property owners choose to be assessed and have direct decision-making authority on the use of those funds.

  • What is the “Reconstitution and Expansion”

The West Town SSA#29 will be expiring on December 31, 2014, and unless reconstituted, all services will stop. The West Town SSA Commissioners have decided to apply for a Reconstitution & Expansion of the West Town SSA. The West Town SSA is currently SSA #29, but after the Reconstitution it will become a new number.

  • What does this mean to me?

If you are a property owner along the streets claimed by the proposed expansion map, you will be assessed additional property taxes to cover the activities for the SSA and these fees will continue for 15 years.

Here is the map for the proposed SSA – streets covered by the new SSA are highlighted in yellow (click on the  map to enlarge)

Here is a example of how the taxing could work for property owners along the yellow streets on the map  (taken from the presentation at the 11/18/2013 community meeting) (click on the image to view a larger version)
  • What happens next?
There will be two more community meetings scheduled in January, dates/times TBA.  You can read more about the SSA and the meetings on their website, their Facebook Page, their newsletter, or follow them on Twitter.
Hoyne Avenue Wesleyan Church (900 N. Hoyne) 
  • We were recently informed by the 32nd Ward office that a developer has contacted them about demolishing the church at the corner of  Hoyne & Iowa and replacing it with new construction. The church is not part of the landmark district and may not be a candidate for individual landmark protection.
  • We will follow-up with the Alderman’s office to understand if there is any input we can have about the construction of any new structure.
2014 Planning Survey
  •  During the meeting we brainstormed and created a list of possible activities for our neighborhood association to pursue in 2014.  We’ve got a short list of 9 ideas and are looking for your help in setting the priorities.
  •  Please take our quick survey and rate your interest in each item on a scale from 1 to 5.
December Social Event!
  • Our December meeting on Thursday the 19th will again be a holiday social event at a neighborhood bar.
  • We invite our friends from area neighborhood associations to join us, and we’ll confirm the location shortly.

Nov 13

UVNA 2014 Planning Survey

Let us know what you want your neighborhood association to be involved with in 2014. Help us set our priorities for the upcoming year!

Click  HERE  to take our short survey (only 9 questions).


Oct 13

UVNA Meeting Notes, Thursday October 17th, 2013

Thursday October 17th, 2013 – 6:30pm – St. Helen School Cafeteria

Officers and UVNA Board Members in attendance:

  • Treasurer: Harriet Siller
  • Secretary: Samantha Arnold
  • Board Members: George Matwyshyn


941-943 Hoyne -Permit Review 

The UVNA Building/Permit Review Committee is following up with the developer

Redevelopment Project – St. John’s Church on Hoyne

A letter was sent to the Alderman, and the developer re-iterating the organization’s stance on the project ( see notes from the August UVNA meeting),  that were also communicated in  a meeting with the Alderman and his staff at City Hall.  No word back yet from the Alderman’s office.

2014 Planning

The November UVNA Meeting will be a planning meeting for 2014.  Bring your ideas and suggestions for what sorts of speakers you’d like to see at meetings next year, what events you would like to see UVNA support or create,  social event ideas, and more!

December Social Meeting

We’re going to make the December UVNA meeting (12/19) a social event . Mark your calendars and bring any thoughts on a neighborhood location to next month’s meeting.

How to get a bike rack installed near a business

If you would like to see a bike rack installed near an business or area that you feel lacks bike racks, or you are a business that would like a city-installed bike rack near your business, you can request the installation of a bike rack via this online form on the City of Chicago’s website.  The same page also has a link to report abandoned bikes too.

CAPS  Update

Recent news and notes from CAPS  have been focused around the big upswing in graffiti in our area, as well as the large # of thefts over the last two months.  Vandalized cars and stolen bikes top the thefts list, and the graffiti is all over our area with Western between Chicago and North avenue being hit hard, as well as Augusta between Damen and Ashland.  Report any graffiti to 311, your alderman’s office, or use this online form on the City of Chicago’s website.  Come to the December 3rd CAPS meeting for beat 1212.  It’s an opportunity for police and community residents to exchange information about what’s going on in our neighborhood.

West Town SSA Reconstitution Meetings

The West Town Special Service Area (SSA29) is in the process of reconstituting and redefining its map for future services. The SSA Expansion Advisory Committee determined a PRELIMINARY MAP for future West Town SSA boundaries and services.

Proposed Future West Town SSA Corridors:

  • Chicago Avenue from Western to Halsted
  • Ashland Avenue from Chicago to Division
  • Milwaukee Avenue from Erie to Division
  • Damen Avenue from Chicago to Huron
  • Ogden Avenue from the Kennedy Expressway to Fry

Upcoming Community Meetings

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
11 am – 1 pm
@Chicago Dramatists
1105 W. Chicago Ave

Monday, November 18, 2013
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
@Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art
2320 W. Chicago Ave

The SSA Commission is currently creating a large colorful informational brochure that will be mailed directly to all of the property owners / taxpayers and registered voters located in the proposed future West Town SSA. The colorful mailer will announce the community meetings and contain more detailed information on the West Town SSA.



Aug 13

UVNA Meeting Notes August 2013

Thursday August 15th, 2013 – 6:30pm – St. Helen School Cafeteria

Officers and UVNA Board Members in attendance:

  • President: Paul Matwyshyn
  • Vice President: Patrick Danaher
  • Treasurer: Harriet Siller
  • Secretary: Samantha Arnold
  • Board Members: George Matwyshyn


Update on the Redevelopment of 913-925 N. Hoyne St (St John’s Lutheran Church)

Based on the questions and discussions with the developers and the Alderman in our June meeting,  we sent a letter to the Alderman’s office summarizing all the concerns raised at the meeting, including those concerns submitted via an online form on our website. This information was for use by the Alderman in his next meeting with the developers.  The developers followed-up with a a letter to the Alderman earlier this month to address the concerns that were raised, and then met with the Alderman as well.  The Alderman’s office asked UVNA to review the further information provided by the developers and to follow up with the developers and/or Alderman’s office with any additional concerns.  Following is the information provided by the developer in response to the concerns that have been raised by the community.


There were concerns raised that while the developer and architect have experience in residential and commercial properties, it seems that their historic renovation experience is limited.  In response, the developer provided this additional information about the team that will be working on the project:

  • Developer is Mokin Development LLC, a branch of Regency Development Group,  which has developed residential complexes in Moscow Russia, and Chicago.
  • The design team is lead by Orest Baranyk, an architect with over 40 years experience – though the landmarked buildings that he has rehabbed have been residential and smaller in size than this project. Therefore he will employ a ‘prominent preservation expert’ Hasbrouck Peterson Zimoch Sirirattumrong (HPZS) “as a consultant in matters relating to conservation and restoration.”
  • The structural engineer Harry Marshall, also has over 40 years experience in designing rehab projects as well as new buildings.

Plans & Preservation

Much discussion has surrounded the exterior and interior changes that will be made to the church. The developer has stated that:

  • “Minimal changes will be made to the exterior.”
  • Windows (except those on the Hoyne Street elevation) will be replaced, though they will replaced with windows that replicate the style of the original windows, based on Landmark approval.
  • The enclosed bridge between the church and school will be removed
  • “The ramp from Hoyne St. to the underground garage would be below grade with a wrought iron railing (similar to the existing) above grade.”
  • “The interior structural work will be phased in a manner that will reinforce the existing exterior walls before any demolition begins”.
  • “With the preservation architect’s assistance we will endeavor to recycle/restore stained glass windows and any other historic elements.”
  • “Detailed plans of all the above items have been presented for Landmark Commission approval.”

UVNA will be following up with the developers to review the plans provided to Landmark  as we have still only been provided with limited exterior plans.  We will also follow up with the developers about the  recycling/restoration of the stained glass windows and any other historic elements as that work gets underway. 

Property Maintenance & Safety

Questions were asked about the maintenance and security of the property, now through construction, as well as going forward. According to the developer:

  • “The property will be maintained and secured by Lamarco Security, Inc.”
  • “There has been no vandalism since property was purchased by Mokin, LLC”
  • “Additional exterior lighting for sidewalk illumination can be added.”
  • “The basement parking garage will be fully enclosed…and the Hoyne ramp will be gated.”


The developer desires a zoning change from RT-4 to RM-5 to allow them to create 19 units in the development instead of 17. The developer has suggested that  “After the project completion this parcel should be down-zoned to RT-4”.

UVNA would like to work with the Aldernman’s office and the developer on assurances that the down-zoning will take place. 

Curb Cut/Driveway on Hoyne

The developer would like to make a curb-cut on Hoyne Street to allow for the driveway/entrance ramp to the parking garage as the alley entrance would not allow for a wide-enough turning radius. According to the developer:

  • “The curb cut from Hoyne would be 16 feet wide, which is a loss of one car at street parking.”
  • “The Chicago Department of Transportation(CDOT) has reviewed our proposal and concurred that the Hoyne access is safe and maneuverable, while the alley is not. “
  • “The driveway would consist of a concrete ramp descending into the basement level, the walls of the ramp would be flush with the grade and landscaping at each side, topped by a wrought iron railing matching the existing metal fences. “
  • “At the property line there would be a electronically operated w.i. gate. “

The UVNA membership does not oppose the curb-cut on Hoyne

Financial Concerns

Both the UVNA and the Alderman raised concerns that the property being properly insured as well as that there is  proper financing in place for the condo association once the units are built and sales begin. The developer has stated:

  • “The property is insured for liability and will have a builder’s risk policy.”
  • “The construction loan has been approved and secured by Community Bank of Oak Park”
  • The developer has experience from previous projects in setting up condo associations and proper financing of similar projects
    • Sierra Lofts (824 W. Superior) 40 residential + 14 commercial units
    • Opera Club Condos (Oak Park) 36 residential + 3 commercial units
    • Madison Square Townhomes (Oak Park) 46 townhomes

The UVNA would like to follow-up on the details of the insurance policy with the developer and/or Alderman, as well as get more details on how the condo association will be initially financed.

Next steps:  UVNA officers to meet with the Alderman

Update on Beer Run Chicago

At the July meeting we had a presentation from Tony Wojewocki about his package liquor license request  for his liquor delivery business that he will be opening on Chicago Avenue.   We would like to establish a ‘plan of operation’ with Tony as a way to state the expectation of  the amount of  ‘walk-up’ sales that he can transact.  The 2nd ward office has referred us to the 1st ward office and the EVA as they have some experience structuring similar “plans of operation”  in their neighborhood. We  will follow up with those groups.

Street Flooding in Heavy Rains

Even though the water mains were replaced along Oakley last summer, there have been complaints that the drains back up horribly during storms.  Besides trying to keep the grates clean of debris, there were questions raised as to if there are restrictors  on these mains  (unsure)- which limit the volume of water that can pass through –  and if so, can they be removed?

We will try to follow up with the Alderman’s office

Billboard at 2134 W. Haddon

Concerns were raised about the size of the newly posted project sign at this property as it is very large.  We will follow up with the Alderman’s office concerning this issue.

Notes from recent CAPS meeting for 1212

  • Bike thefts have been a big problem in our area this summer
    • 15 out of 27 thefts in the last two months were bikes
    • Bring your bike inside whenever possible
    • Lock your bike when on outside porches or in garages
    • Use high-quality locks (U-locks or chain locks) do not rely on cable locks
  • If you discover your building/apartment has been robbed call 911 and do not go inside – if you do, the CPD will not send an evidence technician as they will consider the crime scene to have been tampered with.
  • If you don’t have your street address posted on your alley-facing garage, you are actually required by law to have them posted. You can pick up reflective numbers from your CAPS representatives at the 12th district for free.

Next meeting is Thursday , September 19th, 6:30pm, St. Helen School