Revised Lincoln Yards plan approved by Chicago Plan Commission

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago Plan Commission approved the revised plan to develop land along the north branch of the Chicago River, known as Lincoln Yards, Thursday.

Lincoln Yards is the largest development the city of Chicago has considered in decades, at 52 acres and $6 billion. Developer Sterling Bay released its revised master plan five days ago. The new plan gets rid of a 20,000 seat soccer stadium, but adds more density.

"Instead we are now getting two new buildings and three enlarged buildings to have a 25 percent increase in the density of the entire project," said 43rd Ward Alderman Michele Smith.

The mixed-use development is expected to bring an additional 30,000 residents to the already-dense Lincoln Park and Bucktown neighborhoods.

While the revised plan does include more green space, Ald. Smith and 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack, whose wards are in or near the site, said it's not nearly enough. Both were hoping 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins would delay the vote.

"The community organizations, the local businesses, residents all want this thing to be slowed down and looked at with a real microscope," Waguespack said.

"When people tell me it's too fast, my response has been that is a purely subjective opinion," Hopkins responded. "Too fast relative to what?"

After rejecting the original plan, Hopkins said it's time to move forward with the new one.

The controversial project resulted in a packed and heated meeting Thursday. Neighborhood groups are asking for more information about an independent traffic study and schools to accommodate new residents.

"We were told repeatedly the community will have adequate input before we move forward, there has been no community meeting held since then," said David Somers, resident.

With thousands of jobs expected to be generated from the development, unions and contractors spoke in favor of the plan.

The development will also include new bridges, intersections and a new Metra station.

The next step is approval from the Zoning Committee and then the full City Council. Some aldermen hope the process will be delayed until Mayor Rahm Emanuel leaves office.
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