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Developers Want to Level Citgo, Build Mixed-Use Structure

The Bucktown Community Organization will hold a zoning meeting this weekend review a request by Sedgwick Properties to rezone the land at 1720 W. North Ave. to allow for a four-story building.

A North Avenue Citgo gas station may soon be a thing of the past.

The station, located at 1720 W. North Ave., will be replaced with a four-story mixed-use development if Sedgwick Properties representatives get their way. The Bucktown Community Organization is holding a Saturday morning meeting to discuss the developer's request to change the property from a C1-1 commercial classification to a B3-3 classification.

That change would make way for a space that would have a business on the first floor and residential units above it. The developer proposed the zoning change at a previous meeting, but the BCO zoning committee did not find the presented drawings and plans adequate, said the organization's president, Steve Jensen.

"It was almost too rough for us to take it seriously, you know?" he said. "We need to see exact drawings and exact materials to be used in order to give a vote on it. We can't vote on hypotheses."

Jensen said some community members are particularly concerned with the exterior design of the proposed building, wanting to keep it in line with the neighborhood's current aesthetic.

"They want to see more brick and more classic elements to fit in with the neighborhood being of a Victorian nature," he said. "So we'll see how the vote turns out and we'll take it from there."

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He also said that neighbors have split opinions about losing the gas station at the corner of North and Hermitage avenues. The developer has already purchased the property.

"There's a number of people over there who are glad to see the gas station go," Jensen said. "There is a number of people over there who say the gas station is an important economic engine for that area, for that small little intersection."

The meeting was scheduled on somewhat short notice, with the developer originally asking to meet on Dec. 6. The BCO zoning committee is posting fliers to get the word out, and Jensen said the organization would likely require more advance notice for these kinds of meetings in the future.

"We need to get a heads-up about two weeks out so that we can definitely get the most people to attend," he said. "These developers like to play fast and loose with the dates and the rules sometimes, and we all know that. They sometimes would like to have three people show up to these meetings, and we cannot facilitate that. We have to facilitate the most amount of people showing up at the meeting."

A phone call made to Sedgwick Properties seeking comment was not immediately returned Wednesday.

If the BCO approves the zoning request, it will serve as a recommendation to 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack and the city's Zoning and Planning Bureau, with whom the final decision lies.

"We'll be taking a vote," Jensen said. "The alderman obviously has the final say, but the community will be taking a vote on Saturday morning and expressing their opinion. Whichever way the community votes, we will support that as the neighborhood group."

The meeting will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 8 at Lincoln Tavern, 1858 W. Wabansia Ave.

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