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Pilsen, Little Village, West Loop

Developers Could Pay A $15,000 Fee To Tear Down Homes In Pilsen And Along The 606

The proposal is the latest effort by Mayor Lori Lightfoot and aldermen to slow displacement in gentrifying neighborhoods.

People use The Bloomingdale Trail in Logan Square on Dec. 2, 2020.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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PILSEN — Developers could pay an up-to-$15,000 fee to demolish single-family homes and multi-unit buildings under a newly proposed ordinance aimed at slowing displacement around The 606 and in Pilsen.

On Wednesday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced the 606-Pilsen demolition permit surcharge ordinance, which would impose a fee of $15,000 for the demolition of single-family homes, while larger, multi-unit buildings would incur a fee of $5,000 per unit.

Lightfoot said the proposal built on “previous measures aimed at welcoming the changes that mark the constant evolution of our city’s history, but doing so in a way that prevents the displacement of long-term residents, particularly our low- to moderate-income community members.”

The fees will go to the city’s Affordable Housing Opportunity fund, an effort aimed at creating a pathway for homeownership for low- and moderate-income Chicagoans.

Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara said the proposal was “a major step” to ensure “changes in these neighborhoods protect long-time residents and their families from displacement.”

The proposed ordinance is the latest move to prevent displacement in rapidly gentrifying areas.

RELATED: New Ordinance Makes It Harder To Turn Apartments Into Single-Family Homes Along 606 And In Pilsen

Last month, City Council passed an anti-deconversion ordinance aimed at Pilsen and areas along The 606. The measures make it more difficult for developers to convert multi-unit apartment buildings into single-family homes. 

The latest ordinance is sponsored by Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st) and Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), whose wards include areas around The 606.

The ordinance would apply to buildings zoned as RS3 and RS3.5 in the area bounded by Armitage Avenue, Western Avenue, North Avenue, Kedzie Avenue, Hirsch Street and Kostner Avenue.

“It should go without saying that development should not come at the expense of existing communities and the loss of their diversity,” La Spata said in a statement. “With the passage of this ordinance and those prior, we will continue to work alongside community leaders and this administration to ensure development in these neighborhoods also protects residents from displacement.”

The fees would apply to large swaths of the Pilsen neighborhood .

“Pilsen is one of Chicago’s most historic and vibrant neighborhoods, and it is critical that we do everything we can to preserve affordable housing in our community,” Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) said in a statement. “These ordinances taken together will ensure that Pilsen remains affordable and will prevent the excessive development that causes displacement.”

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