Opposition growing to Arena's controversial 'upzoning' proposal
Plans by Chicago's 45th Ward alderman, John Arena, to change the zoning in a Northwest Side neighborhood from residential to commercial – a process known as “upzoning” – is being met with stiff opposition from a neighborhood group organized to fight the change.
The Northwest Side Neighbors News group has created a Facebook page to air its concerns about a proposal to change the zoning of 5150 N. Northwest Highway to accommodate a proposed warehouse and apartment complex.
The group’s GoFundMe page has raised about half of its $25,000 goal to fund the effort as of the week of March 5.
Critics of upzoning are opposing the overcrowding and traffic that would be generated by commercial use of once residential areas. Seattle faced the same issue in 2015, leading to what The Seattle Times called a “referendum” during that year’s city council races.
A similar battle is brewing in Chicago’s upcoming races, with a slate of candidates positioning themselves against the rezoning. One candidate is Bob Fioretti, running for president of the Cook County Board.
Others on the slate include Jeffrey Laporte for state representative in the 19th District, John Fritchey in Cook County Board District 12 and Lorraine Murphy for judge in the 10th subcircuit.
Above a mock ballot on Facebook listing those candidates, the Northwest Side group proclaims, “Independent Democrats oppose wasteful spending,” and references Arena’s support for city and state funds for the projects slated for 5150 N. Northwest Highway.