A plan for a six-story luxury apartment building and two-story restaurant in downtown Mount Prospect's "Busse triangle" area has received concept approval from the village's planning and zoning commission.
On Thursday, the panel forwarded the plan to the village board, with the understanding that such issues as traffic and parking raised by neighbors in nearby condominiums would be addressed in the final development plan.
"I'm going to vote aye because I want this to continue," commission member Agostino Filippone said. "This just means that that discussion will be taking place. It doesn't mean the building's going to get built tomorrow. It just means that we're not putting up a wall and ending this discussion before it even started."
The development at 20 W. Northwest Highway would be located near the northeast corner of the intersection with Wille Street. It would consist of 73 apartments and the Mia Cantina restaurant, which currently is across the tracks on Prospect Avenue, said Nick Papanicholas Jr., vice president of the developer Nicholas and Associates.
One of the primary concerns is the number of parking spaces -- 78 interior spaces on the lower and ground floors for tenants, fewer than the 96 that the building code would normally require. There are an additional 77 spaces on roadways and parking lots within the triangle, which is bounded by Wille Street, Northwest Highway, Main Street and West Busse Avenue, that can be used by the restaurant and other businesses in the area. Overflow parking would be available in the village's parking deck, with about 380 spaces, and Metra lots, with about 140 spaces.
Papanicholas said parking should not be a concern because not all the renters will have cars and instead will rely on Metra, Uber and Zip cars.
Neighbor Sandra Tureck was skeptical, saying, "Are you going to call Uber every time you want to go grocery shopping?"
Commission member William Beattie asked, "Do we then not do anything with that triangle area? Do we not develop anything there?"
Resident Valerie Owen responded, "What we're asking for is more comprehensive planning."
Another concern is the impact of traffic on the heavily used "alleyway" behind Brick City Tavern, between Main Street and Wille Street.
Resident Martha Kastens said traffic already speeds through the area and it's clogged with garbage trucks, service vehicles and moving vans.
Christopher Coleman of Wingspan Development Group, who presented the plan, brought up the alternative of turning West Busse Avenue into a two-way street to relieve some of the pressure from traffic that might be tempted to go north from West Busse Avenue toward the alleyway.
In response to neighbors who don't like the location of the garage entrances, Coleman said alternatives had been explored but would be detrimental to the parking count.
Hovering above the discussion was the question of parking for future development of vacant land in the triangle, which now is used for parking.
"It seems like we're building in a problem that's going to keep us from being able to fully develop the rest of the properties here," Beattie said.
Papanicholas, however, said that's a separate issue.
Chris Coleman, VP of Development at Wingspan, periodically shares his thoughts and observations on property development news.