WBEZ | land use http://www.wbez.org/tags/land-use Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en A slow-mo glimpse of urban sprawl in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/slow-mo-glimpse-urban-sprawl-chicago-108126 <p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="750" scrolling="no" src="http://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v3/reporterel.ChicagoBuilt.html#12/41.8265/-87.6561" width="620"></iframe></p><p><strong><a href="http://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v3/reporterel.ChicagoBuilt.html#13/41.8779/-87.6798" target="_blank"><span style="color:#ff0000;">(View fullscreen map here.)</span></a></strong></p><p>By the time your eyes hit this sentence, you&#39;ve likely encountered the spray of neon colors adorning a black map of Chicago. This is no exercise in design for design&#39;s sake. Instead, it&#39;s a WBEZ data play on this&nbsp;<a href="http://labratrevenge.com/pdx/#14/45.5211/-122.6490">amazing visualization of &nbsp;the city of Portland</a>.&nbsp;It got our juices flowing enough that we put together several views of Chicago data for you to get a look at.</p><p>But other than some serious eye-candy, what&#39;s going on here?&nbsp;We&#39;re basically providing a slow-mo glimpse of urban sprawl: how Chicago grew over almost two hundred years, and where it&#39;s currently growing. (If the concept sounds familiar, it&#39;s possibly because we used the same technology utilized by Open City apps to visualize buildings, zoning and demolitions in the Chicago area in a project dubbed <a href="http://edifice.opencityapps.org/">Edifice</a>.)</p><p>For the map above, we took data from the <a href="http://data.cityofchicago.org">City of Chicago&#39;s data portal</a>&nbsp;(presumably originating with the Department of Buildings) and combined it with a wild color scheme (thanks again, Portland!). The color-coded display shows where buildings were constructed in Chicago within certain time periods, with white being the most recent. The data appear to be valid between 1850-2012, though you may notice a few notable buildings are missing (e.g., Wrigley Field). Interestingly enough, Soldier Field appears white, meaning the data suggest it&#39;s a recent structure. The entry likely accounts for the field&#39;s new spaceship-like modifications made in 2003.</p><p>Below, though, we break out frames to show you before-and-after snapshots during important historical milestones. We&#39;ve by added light blue lines to display boundaries of Chicago <a href="http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/319.html">community areas</a> so you can keep your bearings from one era to the next. &nbsp;</p><p><strong>After the Great Fire</strong></p><p>This shows the boom in construction during the 1870s and &#39;80s. This occured after the Great Chicago Fire.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/postfire.jpg" title="" /></div><p><strong>1920s</strong></p><p>There were other booms, especially in the roaring 20s. The South Side, with its meat-packing plants, factories and railyards, made up the industrial backbone of the city:</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1920s.jpg" title="" /></div><p><strong>The Great Depression</strong></p><p>There were major declines during the 1930s. As you can see here ... not much happening. The Great Depression probably had something to do with that.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/GreatDepression.jpg" title="" /></div><p><strong>Post-WWII</strong></p><p>In the 1950s Chicago expanded westward, especially in Jefferson Park, Norwood Park, West Ridge Ashburn, Garfield Ridge and West Lawn.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1950swestbound.jpg" title="" /></div><p><strong>Cooler by the lake in the &#39;60s</strong></p><p>See the line of magenta stretching along the northeast portion of the city? That&#39;s the North Side lakefront&#39;s high-rise boom, which happened in the 1960s. The highrises and other buildings grew in Edgewater, Uptown, the Near North Side and Lakeview. The expansion along the lake continued well into the &#39;70s, with scarce development happening elsewhere in the city. The 1980s began to the rise of Chicago&#39;s downtown structures, with moderate growth appearing in Lincoln Park.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/coolerbythelakeinthe60s.jpg" title="" /></div><p><strong>Chicago under Daley the 2nd</strong></p><p>The section shows the period between the 1990s and 2012, which saw the largest expansion of new structures since the 1950s.</p><p>West Town, Lakeview, Lincoln Park and the Near North Side exploded with growth in the &#39;90s, during the reign of Mayor Richard M. Daley. If you focus on the neighborhoods of Wicker Park, Bucktown and Lakeview, you&#39;ll recognize blocks that were once dominated by the city&#39;s storied A-frame multi-family houses, but were crowded out or entirely displaced by popular cinderblock condos and 3-flats.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/daleyschicago.jpg" title="" /></div><p><strong>The boom before the recession</strong></p><p>The early 2000s saw the expansion of the city&#39;s South and West Loop, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/west-loop-boom-108122">a story covered by WBEZ data intern Simran Khosla</a>.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/theboomberforeression.jpg" title="" /></div><p><strong>The decline of the South Side</strong></p><p>The map also shows that the South Side hasn&#39;t experienced the same growth the North Side has the past 20 years.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/northvssouth.jpg" title="" /></div><p>Further, and possibly more depressing, is that the amount of abandoned buildings (above) that were demolished and turned into vacant lots are much more apparent on a map, displaying as jagged teeth-like structures when compared to other North Side neighborhoods.</p><p>See anything above that should spark a conversation? Please hit us up in the comment section below.</p><p><em>Elliott Ramos is a data reporter and Web producer for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://www.twitter.com/ChicagoEl">@ChicagoEl</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 22 Jul 2013 16:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/slow-mo-glimpse-urban-sprawl-chicago-108126 Evanston prevails over new Jewish boys’ school http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/evanston-prevails-over-new-jewish-boys%E2%80%99-school-106969 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Jewish school.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>An Orthodox Jewish school has lost <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/evanston-favors-vacant-lot-over-school-92297" target="_blank">a legal battle</a> with the City of Evanston in its bid to open a new learning facility there. In 2006, the Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov Elementary School purchased the former Shure Brothers electronics company building along Evanston&rsquo;s southwest border. They hoped to renovate the property into a new facility for early child education and for its growing boys&rsquo; school, which is currently located in Chicago&rsquo;s West Ridge neighborhood on the far North Side.</p><p><a href="http://www.cityofevanston.org/news/assets/Opinion%20and%20Order%20d%20%204-30-13.pdf" target="_blank">In a ruling this week</a>, Cook County Judge Mary Anne Mason sided with the City of Evanston, which denied the school permission to use the land for anything other than industrial purposes.</p><p>&ldquo;They made a business decision to go ahead and purchase the property, knowing that they still had a number of steps to go through afterwards to secure city approval,&rdquo; said Grant Farrar, Corporation Counsel for the City of Evanston. &ldquo;The City of Evanston was concerned about removing this property from the tax rolls.&rdquo;</p><p>Forty percent of Evanston&rsquo;s land is tax-exempt, owned by religious institutions, universities, and nonprofits. Some Evanston aldermen expressed concern that reclassifying the zoning for the school&rsquo;s property from light industrial to commercial, which would allow for use as a school, would permanently chip away at an already-diminishing property tax base. Evanston&rsquo;s industrial sector has thinned during the last several decades.</p><p>The board purchased the property for $2 million with knowledge that they would have to secure a change or exception to the zoning rule. They did not include a contingency clause in their purchase that would nullify the purchase if they failed to obtain the zoning -- a precaution that is common in similar cases. Still, representatives of the Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov Elementary School say they intend to fight further by appealing the ruling.</p><p>&ldquo;We continue to believe that that is an ideal property,&rdquo; said Moshe Davis, president of the school&rsquo;s board. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re looking at all options because we have to make sure that our children are taken care of.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is the reporter for WBEZ&#39;s North Side Bureau. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/oyousef" target="_blank">@oyousef</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 03 May 2013 09:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/evanston-prevails-over-new-jewish-boys%E2%80%99-school-106969 Climate change could worsen Chicago floods http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-03/climate-change-could-worsen-chicago-floods-106174 <p><p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/dc60618/2857566291/" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bowmanville%20chicago%20river.jpg" style="height: 458px; width: 610px;" title="A swollen Chicago River runs through Albany Park in 2008. (Dominic Casey via Flickr)" /></a></p><p>Climatologists predict rainstorms will become heavier and more frequent in Northeastern Illinois, but many Chicagoans don&rsquo;t need mathematical models to know flooding is a problem.</p><p>Azarina Cerkic, 37, was living in the 5100 block of North Bernard Street in 2008, when a record-setting storm dropped more than 6.5 inches of rain in one day. (That record has <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-07-23/news/chi-chicago-weather-heat-rainstorm-20110723_1_storms-move-rainstorms-chicagoweathercenter-com">since been broken</a>.) The North Branch of the Chicago River rushed over its banks in Albany Park, dumping more than seven feet of water into Cerkic&rsquo;s basement.</p><p>&ldquo;There was so much water it flipped my washer and dryer right over, effortlessly,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;And those are some seriously heavy things.&rdquo;</p><p>Cerkic and her husband had moved to the neighborhood from nearby Portage Park only three months earlier. Worried about the rising water, she said she called 311 on Friday and was told it would be fine. On Saturday the Red Cross evacuated her street.</p><p>Neighbors who had lived next to the river since the 1970s told her not to worry about flooding, Cerkic said. Like her, many of them did not have flood insurance. Cerkic, who now lives in El Paso, Texas, lost everything in her basement except for some childhood photographs that happened to tangle themselves up in plastic, surviving the water damage and mold.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve had a lot less attachment to physical things since the flood,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Even the most rigorous models cannot predict the future with certainty, but <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-01/climate-change-warnings-sharp-relief-104942">the third national climate assessment released in draft form in January</a> said the Midwest is likely to see a substantial increase in extreme rainfall events as a result of climate change.</p><p>The frequency of heavy rainfall in the region has doubled since the 1970s, according to the <a href="http://www.chicagoclimateaction.org/">Chicago Climate Action Plan</a>, and the 10 most extreme floods in northeast Illinois all occurred after 1950.</p><p>State Climatologist Jim Angel cautioned that climate models can be difficult to plan around. He and his colleagues reviewed several models available in 2007 and found widely varying predictions for future rainfall in Illinois.</p><p>&ldquo;Even if we had the perfect climate model,&rdquo; Angel said, &ldquo;we still don&rsquo;t know what society is going to do with greenhouse gas emissions.&rdquo;</p><p>Still, Angel said, the trend is toward wetter conditions. Not only are the annual precipitation totals greater, but heavier events have become more common. Last year&rsquo;s drought was severe, but 2012 was the exception in a decades-long trend. In terms of overall precipitation, it tied several other years for the 10<sup>th</sup> driest in Illinois history.</p><p>Apart from rising greenhouse gases, changes in land-use may also be accelerating the effects of climate change. As more natural landscapes are ceded to development and urban sprawl, hydrologists register an explosion in &ldquo;impervious surfaces&rdquo; such as concrete, brick and pavement. Water that once seeped slowly through the soil is instead shunted off into rivers and streams directly as stormwater.</p><p>Agricultural development also contributes to the rising frequency of extreme storm events.</p><p>&ldquo;You couldn&rsquo;t design a more efficient way of pulling moisture out of the soil and putting into the atmosphere in July than what we&rsquo;ve got with the corn and soybean crops,&rdquo; Angel said.&nbsp;</p><p>While the Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation District prepares to release a watershed management ordinance later this year &mdash; similar measures have been in place for more than a decade in the collar counties &mdash; it is not expected to factor in climate change.</p><p><em>Chris Bentley writes about the environment. Follow him on Twitter at <a href="https://twitter.com/Cementley" target="_blank">@Cementley</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 20 Mar 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-03/climate-change-could-worsen-chicago-floods-106174 Evanston favors vacant lot over school http://www.wbez.org/story/evanston-favors-vacant-lot-over-school-92297 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-21/IMAG0148.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Communities are having a problem with vacant properties in this recession.&nbsp;They’re struggling to generate tax revenues, properties are deteriorating with neglect, and neighboring property values are plummeting.&nbsp;Most towns are scrambling to find new tenants for these buildings: businesses, homeowners, anyone.</p><p>But that’s not always the case in north suburban Evanston.&nbsp;When it comes to empty industrial land, the city’s actually turning down offers.&nbsp;It’s hoping that manufacturers will return someday.</p><p>DAVIS: Let’s walk around, okay?</p><p>Moshe Davis has found his dream. It’s a dark, damp, abandoned building in southwest Evanston.</p><p>DAVIS: As you walk over here, walk on the right.</p><p>You have to side-step puddles of standing water in the building's corridors.</p><p>Davis is chair of the Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov elementary school on Chicago’s North Side. It’s an Orthodox Jewish private school. A few years ago the school’s board bought this old building. It used to be an audio electronics company.</p><p>DAVIS: This is where the deliveries would have come and that kind of stuff. And in my mind I see over here a basketball court or two, and that kind of thing, a gym, maybe, or something like that.</p><p>Davis thinks this property is perfect for Joan Dachs’s boys school. The school’s facilities in Chicago’s West Ridge neighborhood are cramped.&nbsp;When the board bought the property in Evanston, Davis knew they were taking a gamble. The property is designated for industrial use, but the board believed Evanston would change that.</p><p>First, the building had sat on the market for years. Second, Davis says industry has been fleeing Evanston, moving to other suburbs. And, who wouldn’t want a bustling, healthy school to revitalize an empty shell?</p><p>DAVIS: We see it as a blight on the community, the vacancy of this building.</p><p>And in the remote possibility that Evanston would not change the property’s zoning, so what?</p><p>DAVIS: We'll do a cost analysis, we sell the property, no problem. And quite frankly, we would have sold the property.</p><p>Yeah. That was 2006, when you <em>could</em> sell property. But Davis never imagined what would come next. Evanston refused to change the zoning, and the real estate market fell apart. Davis can’t sell the property now, even though he's tried.&nbsp;</p><p>DAVIS: As businessmen I don’t think any of us have encountered this kind of resistance. It’s the kind of thing that’s ... not just not rational. We can’t figure it out.</p><p>Five years after buying it, Joan Dachs has sunk millions of dollars into purchase and maintenance. Davis has spent tens of thousands on property taxes. And, Joan Dachs students still attend class in their crowded Chicago facility.</p><p>The school has filed a lawsuit against Evanston.</p><p>SIEGEL: On principle, it just seemed to me that Evanston should continue to have areas available for tax-yielding, light industrial uses.</p><p>This is Jack Siegel. Siegel used to be Evanston’s attorney, and he handled the city’s side of this case when it started.</p><p>I talked to him because Evanston officials wouldn’t comment to me about this case, since it’s still in court. Siegel says Evanston officials always considered tax ramifications of land use applications. He says Evanston has to.</p><p>SIEGEL:&nbsp;Without doing a scientific investigation, I would think that Evanston probably has a greater percentage of its land devoted to exempt purposes than any other municipality in the Chicago area.</p><p>Siegel puts that percentage at 45 percent. In other words, nearly half of Evanston’s land is used by religious, non-profit or educational institutions that don’t have to pay property taxes.</p><p>That’s not an issue for other suburbs.</p><p>SIEGEL: In the 60s and the 70s, Arlington Heights and Schaumburg, like so many other communities in particular the Northwest and Southwest suburbs, were expanding, because there was so much unincorporated land. Evanston has been landlocked forever.</p><p>Evanston has a workaround: It’s called “payment in lieu of taxes.” It’s a sum of money that tax-exempt landholders agree to give the city voluntarily. Not taxes, exactly, but maybe close to what taxes would be if the land were owned by a business or a resident.</p><p>Moshe Davis says the school is ready to negotiate something like that. But Evanston isn’t interested. That’s because if the city allows the land to be used for a tax-exempt purposes ... it’ll stay that way forever —&nbsp;even if the school one day decides to leave Evanston.</p><p>Attorney Jack Siegel says keeping the land vacant is better than putting a school on it. He says Evanston shouldn’t give up on the idea that industry will come back. And he isn’t the only one who thinks that.</p><p>Evanston resident Michelle Hays lives 1.5 miles away from the property. But she testified at a planning commission meeting in 2008 because she feels the issue directly affects her.</p><p>HAYS: Just because it’s vacant doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the potential to become a viable commercial property at some point.</p><p>Hays says she understands that the property couldn’t be sold to an industrial tenant. But we’ve been in a recession. Hays says when the economy recovers, maybe an industrial tenant will come along.&nbsp;And for Hays it’s not just about losing part of Evanston’s tax base. She says there are other benefits of keeping Evanston’s few remaining industrial districts set aside for those purposes.</p><p>HAYS: Right around the corner is one of the poorest census areas in Evanston, and those people need jobs. And very often, commercial entities are the ones that provide jobs for the very, very low-income, unskilled people in Evanston.</p><p>Hays says she doesn’t have anything against the Joan Dachs school coming to Evanston. The problem, she says, is how the school board went about it: buying first and then assuming the city would change the zoning for the school’s needs. Hays says Evanston is the sort of place where residents expect to have input on those kinds of matters —&nbsp;right from the beginning.</p><p><em>Music Button: Band of Frequencies, "The Pass", from the CD Under The Sun OST, (Ubiquity)</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 22 Sep 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/evanston-favors-vacant-lot-over-school-92297 Winning a referendum is no silver bullet http://www.wbez.org/story/200-cut-rate-liquors/winning-referendum-no-silver-bullet <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-13/REFERENDUM_Rea_Woods.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The idea behind a referendum is to give voters a direct voice in making their community better. These ballot questions can cover anything from stem-cell research to the fate of an empty lot. They may be binding or just advisory. Last month, referenda were on ballots in nine Chicago precincts. But it&rsquo;s not clear the voters will get what they had in mind &mdash; even if they were on the winning side. We&rsquo;ll hear now from WBEZ reporters in three parts of the city. We start with Chip Mitchell at our West Side bureau.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Kurt Gippert lives near a building here in Humboldt Park that seemed like a magnet.<br /><br />GIPPERT: Gang banging, loitering, drug sales, some prostitution, tons of urinating.<br /><br />MITCHELL: It was a liquor store.<br /><br />GIPPERT: In 2010, we had at least nine people shot in front of that store.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Under city pressure, the store closed last fall. Gippert and his neighbors wanted it gone for good, so they turned to a 77-year-old Illinois law that lets voters ban selling alcohol in their precinct.<br /><br />GIPPERT: It&rsquo;s the only power we had &mdash; the only surefire, effective thing that was going to last longer than six months or a year.<br /><br />MITCHELL: They petitioned to put the referendum on last month&rsquo;s ballot. And voters passed it about 4-to-1. Starting next week, the precinct will be dry. There&rsquo;s just one problem.<br /><br />SOUND: Car alarm.<br /><br />MITCHELL (on the scene): The place with the gang bangers in front wasn&rsquo;t the precinct&rsquo;s only store selling alcohol. I&rsquo;m outside a CVS a few blocks west. The clerks inside tell me booze accounts for about half their sales. But there&rsquo;s also a stream of customers who rely on this CVS for everything from prescription drugs to shampoo and milk. Without its liquor sales here, some of these folks worry CVS might close this store.<br /><br />CUSTOMER 1: Some of my family members get their prescriptions filled here. And it&rsquo;s really convenient that they can walk here instead of worrying about getting a ride or catching the bus.<br /><br />MITCHELL (on the scene): Do they have cars?<br /><br />CUSTOMER 1: No.<br /><br />CUSTOMER 2: I got three kids, so we need milk. If you get something for them from the corner store, it&rsquo;ll probably be old.<br /><br />CUSTOMER 3: Everybody around here, I guess, is poor. So they need to get to a place that most of them can walk to. Bus fare is high. Cab fare is high. So, yeah, it would hurt them.<br /><br />MITCHELL: CVS isn&rsquo;t answering whether it&rsquo;ll keep the store open once it quits selling alcohol. Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) supported the referendum. But he admits there&rsquo;s collateral damage.<br /><br />MALDONADO: We don&rsquo;t have a lot of retail in the area. And we have never heard complaints about CVS. However, if they depend on liquor to remain viable, then they should not be open.<br /><br />MITCHELL: I ask Maldonado about other precincts in his ward.<br /><br />MITCHELL (on the scene): Businesses that are selling alcohol and doing so responsibly, without a lot of problems out in front, do they have anything to worry about?<br /><br />MALDONADO: No, they don&rsquo;t have to worry as long as they are conscious about their own responsibility [to be] a good business neighbor.<br /><br />MITCHELL: And as long as residents don&rsquo;t vote the precinct dry. Reporting from Chicago&rsquo;s West Side, I&rsquo;m Chip Mitchell.<br /><br />MOORE: And I&rsquo;m Natalie Moore at our Side South bureau. The situation was different in a 3rd Ward precinct along East 47th Street. Voters didn&rsquo;t take aim at all liquor. They had specific targets: Night Train, Wild Irish Rose, Thunderbird &mdash; cheap, fortified wines that some residents say attracted low-end elements to the neighborhood. The referendum was nonbinding, nothing more than an opinion poll. Still, the majority voted to ban fortified wines at two stores. No more malt liquor either. But one of the stores took 22-ounce malt liquor off the shelves in July.<br /><br />MICHELIS: Took a hit on sales, between $20,000-$25,000 a month, but I gained it from the wines I put in the store.<br /><br />MOORE: Steve Michelis owns a store called 200 Cut Rate Liquors. Michelis says voters got what they wanted. He says the loitering and begging in front of his place stopped last year. Still, he didn&rsquo;t mind last month&rsquo;s referendum.<br /><br />MICHELIS: I don&rsquo;t care. I don&rsquo;t have anything to hide.<br /><br />MOORE: Maybe another reason Michelis didn&rsquo;t mind so much was because he was already getting other pressure &mdash; from Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd).<br /><br />DOWELL: You have people who stand outside, they drink it, they throw the can down, they beg for money or they go back in and get some money from somewhere and go back and buy another can.<br /><br />MOORE: Residents targeted Aristo Food and Liquor on the ballot, too. While residents gathered signatures for the nonbinding referendum, Dowell had her own approach. She&rsquo;s been working on getting the owners to sign agreements to stop selling the cheap liquor. She&rsquo;ll then attach them to their liquor licenses with the city. That would make them binding. The owner of Aristo says he plans to comply with Dowell. But the alderman says she&rsquo;s still waiting to hear back from him. Reporting from the city&rsquo;s South Side, I&rsquo;m Natalie Moore.<br /><br />YOUSEF: And I&rsquo;m Odette Yousef. Here on the North Side, one alderman and some voters are not on the same page. And, the issue isn&rsquo;t liquor. It&rsquo;s land use.<br /><br />GLAZIER: There&rsquo;s going to be three large driveways next to each other.<br /><br />YOUSEF: This is Josh Glazier.<br /><br />GLAZIER: Two for trucks coming in and out of the project, and one for several hundred cars that are going to remain inside the building.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Glazier lives behind this unused hospital garage in Lincoln Park. He&rsquo;s not happy about a developer&rsquo;s plan to turn it into a grocery store.<br /><br />GLAZIER: The community really objects to the grocer and the trucks.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Glazier says Ald. Vi Daley (43rd) has heard him out. He and others recall her saying she&rsquo;d stay neutral until the community reached a consensus on the project. But in spite of overwhelming opposition at public meetings. . .<br /><br />GLAZIER: We&rsquo;ve been hearing for quite some time that the alderman had this secret list, with the names of all the project&rsquo;s supporters and opponents. And increasingly she&rsquo;s been telling us the count was very close. And we didn&rsquo;t feel like a secret list should be the basis for any decision on the project.<br /><br />YOUSEF: So Glazier and fellow opponents gathered signatures to put the issue on their precinct&rsquo;s February ballot.<br /><br />YOUSEF (on the scene): So you knew going into this that this would not be a binding result?<br /><br />GLAZIER: Of course it was not going to be a binding result, but it was going to create some transparency.<br /><br />YOUSEF: And that&rsquo;s what Glazier says he got. Most voters opposed the project at the polls. So he was stunned to hear Ald. Daley&rsquo;s official position just days later. In a statement, she wrote, &ldquo;I will not delay this project any longer and I will vote to approve this project at City Council.&rdquo; Daley said only a narrow majority of voters opposed the development. She said she heard from many ward residents who do want it. They live outside the precinct that voted on it. I asked Prof. Christopher Berry of the University of Chicago if that was a legitimate reason to discount the referendum results:<br /><br />BERRY: Well, it&rsquo;s a legitimate tack to take, but the only way we would really know the answer is to have some sort of scientific public opinion poll that was done, that included everyone in the affected geography.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Berry says referenda are anything but scientific. They&rsquo;re often put together by self-selected groups on one side of an issue. And, usually, only a small fraction of voters come out to decide it. Berry says with referenda, the real story often isn&rsquo;t about how the vote came down. It&rsquo;s that an issue came down to a vote at all.<br /><br />BERRY: When you see a referendum, which means citizens have to be directly making this policy, it suggests some sort of failure or breakdown in the process between the citizens and their representatives.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Berry says those breakdowns are rare because politicians usually want to get reelected. But, in Lincoln Park, that&rsquo;s not the case. Ald. Daley retires in May. On Chicago&rsquo;s North Side, I&rsquo;m Odette Yousef, WBEZ.</p></p> Mon, 14 Mar 2011 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/200-cut-rate-liquors/winning-referendum-no-silver-bullet