There’s plenty to talk about at the sidewalk café this spring.
Typically, the leafy Sheffield community welcomes the landscape bounded sidewalk cafés that enhance the neighborhood like the one proposed by the Derby Bar & Grill—located at the corner of Webster and Magnolia Ave. But this year, getting a sidewalk café permit is just one example of the festering confusion across Chicago caused by the City Council’s adopted 2012 Ward Remap.
Each year the Sheffield Neighborhood Association's (SNA) Neighborhood Relations Committee, chaired by Patty Hayes, actively review applications to provide input and make recommendations to the Ward Alderman and City. In the case of the Derby Bar & Grill, 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack along with staff attended a meeting to hear from the community and denied both their application and appeal.
However, the 2012 Ward Remap cracked the Lincoln Park Community into three Wards. Apparently, the Derby Bar & Grill has been relocated in the 2nd Ward and since many of the City's Aldermen have begun to operate under the remap, why wouldn't the owner's of the Derby do some forum shopping to see if Ald. Fioretti would sign off on their 2013 application?
According to SNA First Vice-President Ted Wrobleski, who’s in charge of the Association’s planning and communications, 43rd Ward Alderman Michele Smith acknowledged confusion about the new ward boundaries having gone into effect. In those areas that will be changing under the new ward remap, Ald. Smith claims to be cooperating with Ald. Waguespack. However, there was no mention of Ald. Fioretti or the 2nd Ward where the Derby sits under the remap and which now separates the wards of Ald. Smith and Ald. Waguespack.
So the question becomes, why wasn’t 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti part of the Derby Bar & Grill community meeting and decision? Particularly since, according to Patty Hayes, the SNA made no recommendation and “the Alderman’s decision is the first and final word.”
Ald. Fioretti’s ward boundaries were substantially altered in the 2012 remap cutting through portions of the lakefront, part of the Gold Coast, Ukrainian Village and parts of Bucktown, Wicker Park and the Sheffield Neighborhood of Lincoln Park.
How are these communities served, if at all, by the type of confusion created by early implementation of the remap?
Answers to questions about public services like trash pickup, rat abatement and café permits confused by the timing of the new ward boundaries, most likely will be decided by a federal lawsuit filed this month by the League of Women Voters. Their complaint alleges the 2012 remap to be clear evidence of gerrymandering. The lawsuit seeks to enjoin early implementation of the ward remap as well as challenge the legality of the boundaries themselves.