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City Council Approves 6-Month Moratorium On Demolition Permits Near The 606 Trail


CHICAGO (CBS)– The City Council has approved an ordinance to freeze all building demolitions in an area near the popular 606 trail for six months, in a bid by local aldermen to address gentrification in their neighborhoods.

The measure sponsored by Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) and Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) sponsored the ordinance, which they said is aimed at providing a temporary halt to gentrification in the area, while the city studies more nuanced long-term solutions.

The ordinance would prevent property owners from obtaining demolition permits within an area near the 606 for six months, starting Feb. 1. The aldermen want to halt the trend of people buying existing affordable multi-family homes and replacing them with luxury housing, pushing out working class and middle class families.

People who live in the Logan Square neighborhood, one of a handful that border the 606, said home prices have skyrocketed since the popular trail was completed in 2016, forcing many longtime residents out.

Gary Jimenez, 19, said his family lived in the Logan Square neighborhood for 10 years, and he was looking forward to the 606 as a place to run and play with his friends, but his parents were forced to move in 2015 — even before the trail was completed — because their landlord raised their rent by $500.

“Our rent went from the hundreds to the thousands, and there’s no way my parents could afford that, so we had to move out,” he said.

Some building groups, however, have warned the measure could violate property rights, and have asked aldermen to quickly form a group to find a better solution.

Assistant Corporation Counsel Rey Phillips Santos, who drafted the compromise ordinance on behalf of the aldermen, said he’s confident it will pass legal muster.

“I don’t have an issue with the legality of this. I am quite secure that this ordinance is legal,” he said.

The City Council Housing Committee approved the measure Wednesday morning, sending the ordinance to the full City Council, which unanimously approved it without debate Wednesday afternoon.

Ramirez-Rosa has said displacement of local residents has reached a record pace since the 606 was completed, resulting in under-enrollment at public schools, and local businesses losing clientele.

“I think this is the right policy at this moment to pursue,” he said.

The moratorium would cover an area bounded by Armitage Avenue on the north, Kostner Avenue on the west, Hirsch Street on the south to Kedzie, Kedzie Avenue on the east from Hirsch Street to North Avenue, North Avenue on the south from Kedzie Avenue to California Avenue, and California Avenue on the east from North Avenue to Armitage Avenue.

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Posted in Noticias, Youth, Immigration, 606 Bloomingdale Trail, Affordable Housing