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Alderman Allows Healthy Tree Removal for SUV-Sized Garage Builder

Alderman lets developer remove healthy city-owned tree to build "luxury" garage without seeking community input.
According to the owner of GC Construction, 47th ward Alderman Eugene Schulter approved the cut-down of a healthy 40 foot city-owned tree to allow the developer to build an SUV-sized garage. The tree blocks the path of the planned driveway for the garage. Although the construction site at 2224 West Cullom is in a northside area that has already lost over 900 trees to the Asian Longhorn Beetle, on March 14, 2000 the builder said that Schulter personally assured him he’d have no trouble getting a permit to remove the healthy tree. And furthermore, "The building is owned by cops," he said, "so there shouldn’t be any trouble getting what I need."

No hearings or discussions were held to determine if there is community-wide agreement with the Alderman’s decision to grant permission to remove the tree. But it may not be too late to save this tree and send a message to builders, developers, and the Alderman that trees are more important than garages. As of March 16 the necessary permits had not yet been granted by the Department of Transportation and the Bureau of Forestry for the removal, although the garage construction is complete except for the driveway.

Responding to neighborhood complaints about his undemocratic actions, in a letter dated March 16, 2001, Schulter wrote that, "I do not approve…building plans and permits…aldermanic approval is not required." However, this statement conflicts with both common knowledge and current builder practice; for example, the GC Construction builder sought Schulter’s approval and based on the Alderman’s word felt confident enough to build the garage before seeking the needed permits.

Call Alderman Schulter at (773) 348-8400 (ward office) or (312) 744-4021 to tell him to stop making decisions for the community without talking to the community.

Then, plan on attending the 14th annual Greening of Ravenswood Cocktail Party on Friday, April 27, 2001 from 5:00 to 7:30 at Ravenswood Hospital (4550 N. Winchester). Schulter's letter says, "I would be pleased and honored if you would join me" at the event. Take him up on the invitation and tell him that "Greening" should refer to plants--not dollars.



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