Affirmative Testimony for Development in Jefferson Park - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Affirmative Testimony for Development in Jefferson Park

MPC's Marisa Novara stands in support of proposed development in Jefferson Park. She provided testimony at the planning commision meeting on September 13, 2018.

My name is Marisa Novara, and I am a Vice President with the Metropolitan Planning Council. I am here in support of the proposed development at 5150 N. Northwest Highway, and to encourage the City to support the amendment of the Planned Development. We have testified in support of this project numerous times. In the past, we’ve pointed out that

  • land near transit is one of our region’s most valuable assets, and we should maximize its use to the greatest extent possible.  Transit locations are the city’s best opportunity to capture population growth, tax revenues and reduce traffic congestion.
  • According to an analysis by the Chicago Rehab Network, over 40% of the rental households in Jefferson Park have a high housing cost burden, paying more than 30% of their income on rent. People who live in Jefferson Park already need this housing.
  • We’ve pointed out that Chicago is losing If we want Chicago and our neighborhoods to grow, we have to provide more places to live near transit and near job centers like O’Hare at a range of incomes.

These are points we’ve made before, so this time I’d prefer to focus on the fact that

Chicago already has signaled that it values housing near mass transit with the 2015 strengthening of our transit-oriented development ordinance; we cannot relitigate matters of density and affordability on a case-by-case basis, and especially not in areas where we have very little affordable housing.


Less than 2.5% of Jefferson Park’s rental units are affordable. We have an alderman who’s trying to do something to change that, and I have yet to hear, over the years of testimony on this project, a fact-based reason not to back him in supporting this project.

I don’t like anything over 4 stories tall is not a fact-based objection.

We want our neighborhood to stay semi-suburban is not a fact-based objection.

No Cabrini in Jefferson Park is not a fact-based objection.


Chicago is saddled with profound racial and economic segregation, the costs of which the Metropolitan Planning Council has painstakingly documented. We’ve deferred to local decision-makers on matters that should be citywide policy, and we’ve allowed individual and systemic racism to flourish. 

It is past time for the parts of the city with very little affordable housing to do their part in creating it. That’s what this Alderman is trying to do, that’s what this project would advance. It should receive this Commission’s full support.



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