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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

City Says Lawsuit Against Logan Square Affordable Housing Should Be Dismissed In New Court Filings

The property owners don't have the right to block the project, the city and Bickerdike argue in their motions to dimiss.

A rendering the development. (The mural that appears in this rendering is no longer part of the plans after community leaders scrapped the idea.)
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LOGAN SQUARE — Nonprofit developer Bickerdike Redevelopment Corp. and the city on Thursday filed motions to dismiss the lawsuit aimed at blocking the affordable housing project next to the Logan Square Blue Line station.

Both the city and Bickerdike argue the lawsuit, filed earlier this spring by a group of Logan Square property owners including prolific landlord Mark Fishman, should be thrown out.

“The Plaintiffs’ concerns, however valid they may be, do not rise to the level of constitutional violations on the part of the City, and the Complaint should be dismissed in its entirety,” a 28-page memorandum in support of the city’s motion for dismissal reads.

At the center of the lawsuit is the seven-story affordable housing complex Bickerdike is planning to build at 2602-38 N. Emmett St., a city-owned site next to the Logan Square Blue Line station that is currently being used as a parking lot.

Over the course of several months, city leaders voted to approve the construction of the complex and put $22.5 million in multifamily housing bonds toward the project. Chicago Department of Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara last year said the department “emphatically” supports the project. Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, whose 35th Ward includes the site, has for years championed the proposal.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs — members of the group Neighbors for Responsible Development — argue that replacing a parking lot with 100 subsidized apartments would cause them “irreparable injury.”

“By eliminating the only public parking in the area and replacing it with 100 apartments…the Project will choke off those residents, businesses, employees and visitors as people will no longer have a place to park and traffic will be a nightmare,” the 15-page legal complaint reads.

Also in the lawsuit, the plaintiffs take issue with the city’s financial support, calling it “arbitrary, irrational and capricious” and arguing that the subsidy violates the Illinois Constitution because it “serves no public purpose and instead benefits only the Private Party Defendants.”

This week, a researcher with the Metropolitan Planning Council concluded that the such arguments are “not supported by facts or data” in a new data-driven report.

“Illinois courts do not recognize a neighbor’s interest in their property value as a constitutionally protected interest that can serve as the basis for a due process challenge,” according to the city’s filing.

Thomas Ramsdell, attorney for Neighbors for Responsible Development, didn’t return messages seeking comment Friday.

Bickerdike CEO Joy Aruguete said in an email the plaintiffs’ response briefs are due May 18 and then the defendants’ replies to those briefs are due May 29. A brief meeting between the parties and court’s clerk is scheduled for 9 a.m. June 1, she said.

Read the filings here:

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