(Above) One East Erie, an office building with retail tenants on the ground floor, as seen from the corner of North State Street & East Erie Street.
Neighbors say city did not give them adequate notice of opportunity to object.
12-Aug-17 Unit owners in River North are not just upset about an eating disorder center moving into their neighborhood but how easy it was for the center to dodge objections.
A special use permit was approved by the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals on July 21 for Eating Recovery Center, LLC, to establish a 30-bed transitional residence on the fourth floor of One East Erie, a six-story office/retail building at State & Erie, to serve as an eating disorder treatment facility.
Though not directly permitted for the zoned area, it is a special use, a medical residential facility, and allowed if neighbors do not object.
Within 200 feet of One East Erie are about 1,000 condominium units and according to one unit owner who attended the July 21 meeting, only two people from neighboring buildings knew about the meeting.
Tom Hanson, who lives across the street at 2 East Erie and is president of a commercial real estate company, says he knew about the meeting only because he happened to see a notice in a window of his building.
Almost every few months I get notified by law firms of zoning variances for their clients, says Hanson (left). But this time, I received nothing.
He says he was told by the zoning board that for homeowner associations with more than 25 units, only the property manager or condo board president is notified, a policy he says, is a joke.
Two hours into the meeting, he and Ernie Rossi, another resident of Two East Erie, were allowed to address the zoning board. Hanson told the board they opposed the permit because it would lower property values, increase traffic and noise, and change the character of the neighborhood.
He is specifically concerned that an office building is going to have at risk residents living there.
Once approved, it will allow other special use medical clinics to lease space in One East Erie and get special use medical residential permits. One East Erie will then evolve into the medical residential clinic building. The landlord will make big money. The medical residential clinics will make big money. The negative is more ambulances, police, noise, character of the neighborhood will change, and real estate values will be affected. One East Erie will turn into a hospital.
He suggests Eating Recovery Center build the facility at 333 North Michigan Avenue, where its headquarters is located. He says that building has 100,000 square feet of vacant office space.
Im not against the use, says Hanson. Rather, I am against the residential special use permit, to have an overnight facility in the office building.
No one from three nearby buildings notified, unit owner claims
Hanson says he checked with property managers and condo board presidents at 2 East Erie, 55 East Erie, and 630 North State, and no one from those buildings was notified of the July 21 zoning board meeting.
This rule of only notifying one person in buildings with 25 or more units is a loophole for attorneys to fast track special use permits in areas that are very congested and lucrative for tenants wanting to be in these areas.
Hanson says his only option now is to file a complaint in Circuit Court to appeal the zoning permit.
The location will treat binge eating disorder. People with the disorder frequently consume unusually large amounts of food and feel unable to stop eating.
|We are confident it will be a positive addition to the medical services located in the neighborhood, including those at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, said Dr. Susan McClanahan (right), Chief Clinical Officer of Eating Recovery Center. Before we proceeded with creating this location we followed all special use requirements.
McClanahan, a Certified Eating Disorders Specialist, is president and founder of Insight Behavioral Health Centers, three of which are in downtown Chicago.