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Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

Want To Learn More About City’s New Rules On Coach Houses And Garden Units? Check Out Webinar Next Week

Starting May 1, property owners in five pilot areas can apply to add garden apartments, attic apartments and coach houses to their buildings.

A three-flat apartment building next to a vacant lot on Hamlin Ave. in the North Lawndale neighborhood on March 10, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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WEST TOWN — Residents are invited to a city webinar breaking down an ordinance that eases restrictions on garden apartments, attic apartments and coach houses in several areas.

The info session about the Additional Dwelling Unit pilot program is being led by the Department of Housing at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Register for Tuesday’s event online or by calling 773-985-3510.

Starting May 1, property owners in five pilot areas can apply online to create “conversion units” in their buildings. Many non-conforming coach houses and garden and attic apartments are not legal, according to the city, but the measure would bring those units into compliance with city code.

The program applies to the following five geographic zones:

  • North Zone: parts of the West Ridge, Edgewater, Uptown, Lakeview, North Center and Lincoln Square community areas.
  • Northwest Zone: parts of the Albany Park, Irving Park, Avondale, Hermosa, Logan Square, West Town, Near West Side and East Garfield Park community areas.
  • West Zone: parts of the East Garfield Park, West Garfield Park, North Lawndale and South Lawndale community areas.
  • South Zone: parts of the Ashburn, Auburn Gresham, West Lawn, Chicago Lawn, Washington Heights, Roseland, Chatham, Greater Grand Crossing, Englewood, West Englewood, Washington Park and Woodlawn community areas.
  • Southeast Zone: parts of the South Chicago, East Side, South Deering and Hegewisch community areas.

It is co-sponsored by Alds. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), Daniel La Spata (1st), Scott Waguespack (32nd) and Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez (33rd).

Supporters of the pilot program think it will add affordable rental units to the housing market while allowing homeowners of existing units to come into compliance with city code.

While City Council approved the pilot program in December, Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) said he thought the program could give a legal pass to some property owners who illegally converted their basements into extra apartments.

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