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respect wrigleyAt last check, the Chicago Cubs had paid for a free remote parking lot, as part of the agreed-upon Wrigley Field renovation package, and as required by City Council to get a deal done. The idea was to increase the number of spaces the Cubs offered in a remote lot, and to provide free parking/shuttle service to clear up pre-and-post-game congestion in Lakeview.

Days before the lot was to go active, a handful of nearby residents complained that it was going to be a disastrous nightmare of epic proportions, complete with zombie uprisings and raining frogs. And then Opening Day came, and it turned out that it was no big deal.

But that won’t stop the political wheels that are already in motion. The alderman of the ward in which the remote lot sits has been pushing for the Law Department to conclude that the Cubs’ operation of a lot of a private business violated zoning restrictions (because parking was supposed to be just for people using that particular business), and, this weekend, the Law Department agreed, according to Serena Dai at DNAinfo.

What does that mean for the Cubs? Well, you can read Dai’s piece for some of the particulars, including a response from the Cubs, but the upshot is: they’re going to have to scramble to come into compliance with the zoning rules. They will have to apply for a special permit – and application that the alderman intends to oppose. In the interim, they can continue using the lot.

In the grand scheme of the renovation process, this is a relatively minor issue (case in point: the renovation hasn’t even started yet because of the major issue sitting outside Wrigley’s outfield walls). But the politicking of the city and its officials continues to frustrate the Cubs’ efforts, even as they try to do things to be good neighbors.

  • JoeyCollins

    What a joke.

  • CubFan Paul

    Tom Ricketts said this morning that the renovation will cost $350MM-$375MM & would take 4yrs.

    That would make it a $550MM-$575MM project

    • JB88

      That’s not surprising. The cost of fuel and raw materials keeps rising year after year. If it doesn’t start this offseason, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that number go over the $600M mark by next year.

  • blars82

    Wow, the politics in Chicago are frustrating. I don’t know how the front office deals with all of that crap … they must be very patient. Hopefully they’re not secretly drowning kittens or anything.

  • Jon

    What do people with no tangible workplace skills, no social skills, and an incredibly low IQ do when they grow up? They become Chicago City Alderman.

  • DarthHater

    Come on, you can’t expect to conduct any business in that alderman’s ward and not allow him to wet his beak!

  • kj1

    Move already please! The Cubs are handcuffed with everything, there is absolutely nothing within their own powers they can accomplish without somebody stopping them. Wrigley Field a 100 years ago maybe not a bad idea but today it’s simply impossible to operate in that neighborhood. Thanks for the memories, but it’s time to move on.

  • Jon

    I literally wanted to reach through my screen and choke that city/alderman apologist in the comments section.

    I just want the Cubs to leave to let that part of the city fall back into the sewer it is.

  • TommyK

    I can’t believe the Cubs keep letting themselves get pushed around like this. Ricketts needs to grow a backbone. Actually, he needed to grow one two years ago. I don’t get how any Cubs fan can be in the mood to celebrate Wrigley today. I just find the whole thing depressing.

  • Edwin

    It’s a slow walk from the bottom to the top.

    • kj1

      Called the 125 Year walk!

  • Sandberg

    Couldn’t let us have our happy Wrigley day. Because, Cubs.

    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

      Well aldermen have to get press time today, Wrigley can’t have all the glory.

  • dash

    The way this has played out, the entire City Council must be Cardinals fans.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    What a bunch of Shysters. Chicago has to have about the most flawed and corrupt system of government in the nation. It’s like a bunch of thieves sitting around on the corner waiting for their next mark. And Ricketts is that mark. I think if I were him I would build a new stadium with a retractable roof in the burbs and let the blood suckers stew in their own juices.

  • Funn Dave

    Calm down, everybody. Chicago isn’t the only city with zoning restrictions.

    • Jon

      It’s more than that here….

  • itzscott

    Replicate Wrigley elsewhere and move on.

    • Jon

      You know if a suburb is willing to donate the land, coupled with the increasing cost of renovations as each year passes, the costs of building new vs remolding might be pretty close. It’s time to up the anty here.

      • TommyK

        Other cities provide public financing to keep pro teams. Chicago is the only city that tries to extort money from pro teams to allow themto stay. And Ricketts goes right along with it.

  • No Longer JR

    Agreed Funn Dave. And what idiot in the front office failed to check the zoning requirements, get the necessary special permits, and discuss the entire thing with the alderman in whose ward they planned to put the lot? To me that is just incompetence and where any frustration should be directed, not at residents advocating for their interests or the Alderman advocating for his residents. It is my understanding, by the way, that Alderman Pawar achieved office as a reform candidate, defeating the candidate the machine tried to install.

    • BT

      This is, of course, complete nonsense. Even the alderman, at the time the Cubs were opening the lot, didn’t realize he had them on the zoning restrictions. It was something he figured out later. At the time, as far as he, the Cubs, and everyone else was concerned, it was 2 private parties making a deal with each other. It’s not incompetence, it’s not stupidity, it’s someone with a smart lawyer finding a loophole they can use. There was no guarantee the Court was going to find for them either.

      • Funn Dave

        ” It’s not incompetence, it’s not stupidity, it’s someone with a smart lawyer finding a loophole they can use.”

        It’s not just some accidental loophole someone’s trying to take advantage of. These regulations are in place for a reason. If you’d just moved into a nice, quiet neighborhood, and someone put up a giant parking lot next door, wouldn’t you be upset? If not, can’t you see how someone else could be? Nobody’s looking to get rich off the Cubbies here, man. They just don’t want their neighborhood substantially altered from how it was when they bought their houses.. As for this mysterious person with a smart lawyer whom you mention, it’s really on the Cubs to have their own smart lawyer to look into these things for them.

        • hyde4us11

          You sound like you have a dog in the weiner race.

          • Funn Dave

            Funny you should say so, because it seems to me like I’m one of the few people here not acting as though I have a horse in the race. The people jumping at the alderman’s throat seem to have taken on the perspective of, “anything the doesn’t go exactly the Cubs’ way is the result of bad politics and greed,” whereas I’m viewing it from a much less biased angle.

            • BT

              The point isn’t that they are gaming the system. The point is that the zoning issue was not an obvious one, and likely did not occur to anyone in the process until the alderman’s lawyers were trying to find any way to stop the Cubs. Here’s a direct quote from Ald Pawar on April 2:

              “”It doesn’t require any aldermanic oversight. I wish it did,” Pawar said. “You have one private entity allowed to make a deal with another private entity. ”

              I’m not saying parking lots shouldn’t be covered by zoning laws. I’m saying the idea that every time someone leases a parking lot from someone else and forgets to check the zoning laws, they’ve made some glaring error, is ludicrous. I’m not a lawyer, but my guess is most deals like this are not undone by zoning law restrictions.

              • Funn Dave

                Why are you so hung up on when / how the zoning issue was realized? The fact is, the Cubs made an error regarding zoning restrictions, and now they need to rectify that error. It really isn’t a big deal on either end.

  • mosconml

    I happen to live in the ward with the parking lot (though not near the lot itself) and I’m familiar with the alderman. I’m probably biased here, as I really like the alderman’s work (lots of school improvements, new business in the area, etc.), but this is a case where I at least understand the complaints.

    The parking lot is a good 2.5 miles away from Wrigley Field and adjacent to a park that serves youth sports leagues and Boys & Girls clubs. The area is a family area, which is not something I consider Wrigleyville to be, and the people nearby are worried about the extra traffic, potential drunk-driving risks, and possible tailgating that could come from an extra 1,000 cars in the area. In regards to the fact that there haven’t been issues yet, here’s a quote (via the Tribune) from a nearby resident:

    “It’s still early,” said Carol Rich, who lives less than a block away. “It’s still cold out. We have worry about what it will be like when the Cubs are in full season.”

    As far as the alderman goes, he’s saying that he’s simply responding to the concerns of his constituents.

    I’m as frustrated as anybody with the renovation hurdles, but I’m choosing to live in a quiet, friendly neighborhood away from the ballpark and I certainly wouldn’t want to deal with a bunch of extra traffic in my area, particularly without any extra benefits.

    • Jon

      So even though there have been no issues, we aren’t going to give anyone the benefit of the doubt, and just assume there will be issues and therefore pout like little babies about the entire thing and attempt to hold up the process.

      I bet the neighborhood enjoys the benefits being 2 miles from Wrigley does for property value

      • candyland07

        Jon, there has been no issues cause most people do not know about the free parking and free shuttle. Also the Cubs are failures at this point and time when it comes to attendance at Wrigley Field and might not show the potential (everybody that loves the Cubs front office should understand the word; potential) traffic congestion , accidents , drunkards, noise and crowd control twice a day for night and day games.

        I understand that Cubs Are being good Neighbors, but to whom ? The residential population or Cub fans that will use the parking lot during Cub games. I think its understandable if residents have concerns.

        This is what happens when a stadium is surrounded by a residential area. As a Cub fan that does not live in the immediate area I think its GREAT the Cubs will provide a lot that i can park free (if it stays free) and I can take a Shuttle to the Park. But i do not see how this makes the Cubs a good neighbor in that particular neighborhood. prior that Neighborhood did not have those concerns Which may or may not be problems. BUT, they are valid concerns.

        • Jon

          Bullshit. Thirty years ago that neighborhood and everything around it was a shithole. It was Roseland on the north side. The Cubs are the ones that brought it back. So unless you are 100 years old living there your whole life, you knew exactly about the Cubs when you moved in and have benefited from their existence. That’s being a friendly neighbor. If you think the Cubs “owe” you anything, kiss my arse downtown and print it!

          Are you a Cubs fan or a fan of the BS Chicago Political machine?

          • Funn Dave

            You keep mentioning Wrigley’s alleged benefit to the neighborhood as though it has some sort of bearing here. It doesn’t.

            • Jon

              If you want to take an ignorant/obtuse way of looking at it. The Cubs want to stay in the neighborhood, continue to infuse cash/revenue into the neighborhood all while not taking a single taxpayers dollar. And people want to fight the Cubs tooth an nail on every issue. Maybe the Cubs should just erect a 10K parking lot out of their ass and place it next to Wrigley.

              Oh I love how the alderman and his band of crooks hid behind the “children” umbrella. OMG this new lot, think of our children!!!

              Was there ever any problems with the Devry lot?

              • Hee Seop Chode

                all while not taking a single taxpayers dollar.

                Well that’s just not correct. There’s a 9% city amusemt tax on every ticket sold.

                • Hee Seop Chode

                  Oh god, delete.

          • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

            “Are you a Cubs fan or a fan of the BS Chicago Political machine?”

            Are you now, or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party? Or, are you a God-fearing, red-meat eating, apple pie and ice cream, baseball loving lover of America?

            FTFY.

          • candyland07

            No it was not Jon , Thirty years ago . I was 18 and Wrigleyville and lake view was still a quite neighborhood that still is a prime example of small business and neighborhoods that kept its districts or wards profitable with low crime and increase property values. The park districts surrounding is clean , the public libraries are modern . The zoning laws keeps the area looking and operating good for its citizens and the Cubs did not do any of this.

            • InTheoWeTrust

              Okay fine then 35 years ago it was a bad area. Trust me in the 70′s up until 78,79,80 it was like bucktown was 18 years ago. The Cubs did bring it back. You people need to wake up.

              • Brocktoon

                How ever did Bucktown become what it is today without a baseball stadium in the center of it?

          • mosconml

            The parking lot isn’t in Wrigleyville, dummy. And no, I don’t think the property values have much to do with proximity to Wrigley Field. Otherwise every surrounding neighborhood would be wealthy by now, and — surprise! — they’re not all wealthy. Aside from Wrigleyville itself, which I DO believe owes its prosperity to Wrigley Field, property value has to do with the strength of the community (safety, school quality, etc.).

        • Blackhawks1963

          Bullshit is right. The people who live around Wrigley Field owe the vibrance of the neighborhood and their sky high property values to the existence of the Cubs, who PREDATED every friggin human being living in that neighborhood. Yet the rooftop owners and the “special interests” and the rat bastard public officials are going to keep holding the Cubs hostage…even though they have proposed a tasteful renovation of Wrigley that even got Landmark Commission approval and has passed though every single construction permit hurdle that exists. Even though the Cubs are building a hotel that will further enhance the neighborhood. Etc., etc.

      • Funn Dave

        Why would the FO get the benefit of the doubt? If you ask me, the burden is on them to prove that a parking lot would not disturb the neighborhood, not vice versa.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      All of this talk about possible tail gate parties etc. endangering families in the area. Those Cub fans are a salty lot indeed. Lock up your women and children. I’ve got a freaking news flash for all these dummies living in the vicinity of Wrigley field. Without the Cubs your neighborhood will be crack infested patch of turf for gang bangers to fight over. Wise up.

      • Edwin

        “Without the Cubs your neighborhood will be crack infested patch of turf for gang bangers to fight over.”

        I belive the official term is “US Cellular field”.

        • candyland07

          That comparison is awful and wrong. one can look at the history of the zoning laws of the neighborhoods that actually derails that type of construction to curtail that type of behavior and nuisance.

          • Blackhawks1963

            So where would you like Tom Ricketts to send your extortion money? Because that is what all of this comes down to. Rat bastard greedy residents, special interests and city politicians who want a slice of the pie.

      • Jon

        After winning a world series my next fantasy would be the Cubs actually moving to stick it to all the nearby jack wagons that benift in some fashion because of the Chicago Cubs, but don’t want to meet them halfway on anything that will help them continue to operative and thrive in that environment.

        It’s the “ME ME ME ME” society we live in….

      • DocPeterWimsey

        You don’t know much about the neighborhood if you think that: at worst, the high-priced condos in the area might take a small hit if they replace Wrigley with more condos that (slightly) increase the supply relative to the demand.

        • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

          The Cubs leaving might actually do a lot of good for the neighborhood. Developers would move in to put up the condos and rebuild a lot of the run-down crappy looking buildings in the area to put in strip malls and boutique stores.

          There might be less money flowing into the area from outside but it might spur some new developments.

      • Funn Dave

        Nobody in the Wrigleyville area owes the Cubs anything.

        • Blackhawks1963

          So in other words, your view is the Cubs should be subjected to further extortion in their quest to spend $550 M to renovate Wrigley Field and build a new hotel property that has been officially approved by the Landmark Commission, City Hall, etc. Yep, just keep lining up all the special interests and make sure they get their slice of the pie. Through objection and roadblock up at every turn until the Cubs put something in your outreached hand.

          • candyland07

            Actually I feel the Cubs should move. The Cubs have a strong following and its has grown bigger than the property on Clark and Addison in the year 2014 . This is not about Wrigley Field or ownership, its about space and continued growth that every Business wants to enjoy.

            The Cubs are just too big …… they need to move but its all about the money on both sides except it really about the expansion and one day the Cubs will need more land ………

          • Funn Dave

            You know full well that I never said anything of the sort. Your aggressive ignorance goes on full display whenever an article about the renovation pops up….

        • Jason P

          Yes, they do. Even if you toss aside the effect being around Wrigley has on property value, the Cubs themselves and the bars around the stadium have created thousands of jobs.

          The Cubs need Wrigleyville and Wrigleyville needs the Cubs

    • Blackhawks1963

      So in other words the alderman and you and your neighbors want the Cubs to kiss your ass and give you something. Sickening. Cesspool of special interests with their hands out at every turn for their piece of the pie.

      • Jon

        As a Cubs fan I bet he sure as hell likes living a brisk walk or cheap cab ride away from Wrigley. But let it be clear, that’s 2 miles ..so no I shouldn’t have to endure any type of public lot that might disrupt my way of life!

        • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

          If it’s against zoning laws…no they shouldn’t.

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      This.

      It’s frustrating that it seems like the Cubs can’t get anything done without an alderman speaking up against it but this is a neighborhood away from Wrigley and the lot is, literally, next door to a park.

      The lot owners should have known about the zoning restriction and never have leased it to the Cubs. Then no one would be up in arms about anything right now.

      • Funn Dave

        I think so, too.

        • BT

          No one “knew” about the zoning laws, that’s why it took a court of law to decide if the transaction was valid or not. It was ONE interpretation of the law that the Law Department subsequently agreed with (and again, one I don’t think occurred to the alderman until well after the Cubs started using the lot). A lot of you are acting like Basic Wire and Cable and the Cubs were trying to pull a fast one and got caught. Everyone involved thought it was on the up and up until the alderman (and his lawyers) figured out an angle that said it wasn’t. That doesn’t mean the alderman or the Law Department are wrong, it just means it’s nowhere near as cut and dried as you guys are trying to make it.

  • Blackhawks1963

    The brazen greed of these alderman and Wrigleyville special interests is a never-ending joke. They all are trying to extract a pound of flesh from the Cubs at every turn. What a cesspool.

    • Funn Dave

      How does greed play a role here exactly? Nobody’s getting rich off this special permit for which the Cubs need to apply.

  • ari gold

    Welcome to Chicago! Most corrupt city in the US

  • Funn Dave

    It’s amazing how quick everyone is to cry “corruption” and “greed” at every misstep in this process. If this were taking place anywhere else people wouldn’t be nearly as up in arms about it, if at all. No one is being greedy here, and no one is being unreasonable. People’s biases against Chicago politics are causing them to see shady politicking when that simply isn’t what’s happening.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Yeah, you’re right. Wrigley Field has been in place since 1914 and how dare they propose a thoughtful and tasteful renovation of Wrigley that they shall pay 100% of the tab on with nary a dollar of taxpayer dollar and that has been approved by the Landmark Commission, City Council, etc. How dare they put up a compromised Jumbotron design and right field signage that doesn’t block views in the name of generating additional revenues to keep the Cubs relevant in the cuthroat competitive world of Major League Baseball. A Jumbotron and signage that has already been blessed by the Landmark Commission, City Council, etc. by the way.

      And how dare they offer free parking in a remote lot as part of the deal to get City Hall deal. Because now, the people in that adjoining neighborhood want to be Johnny Come Latelies who take a page from the Wrigleyville resident playbook by extoring their own payola !! How dare you park your car here !! You gots to pay me what I’m owed for the “inconvenience” of it all !! My alderman’s campaign coffers are running dry and you need to make a “contribution” to this reelection campaign !! And you need to give us inconvenienced residents some sugar too !!

      • Funn Dave

        Are you ever going to respond to any of my points, or will you simply continue to spout, buzzword-filled, politicized nonsense?

    • Jon

      There is no bias against Chicago politics. Alderman are bought and sold like commodities. That’s simply is a fact.

      • JB88

        No, it is an opinion, supported by certain examples.

  • Dustin S

    There are plenty of things in the whole renovation thing that are mind bottling, but this free parking thing has to be the most bewildering one. I used the parking a couple weeks ago. It works well and actually is quicker to get in and out of than the old DeVry lot. I didn’t expect to be riding a school bus instead of a normal bus shuttle, so it’s cramped for adults but hey it’s free so it’s fine. But the lot is a fairly disrepair old factory parking lot, not some prime real estate. Most importantly, it’s directly on the route off of the Interstate that just about everyone going to and from Wrigley was already taking! So it’s not like it added additional traffic. If anything it relieves a lot of traffic in-between the lot and Wrigley. I really cannot for the life of me understand why the alderman would be opposed to the Cubs using an old decrepit lot that wasn’t being used anyway, that actually reduces game traffic which is what they claim to not like. Some of these city complaints seem to just be for the sake of complaining without even looking at the pros and cons, and this seems to be the best example of it. Ugh…

    • Patrick W.

      Wait… did you say mind “bottling”?

    • Blackhawks1963

      This is the alderman’s way of saying to the Ricketts family that they need to make a six figure contribution to his poltical warchest. And agree to make some token and visible “improvements” to the neighborhood that the alderman can convince his dope constituencies he got the Cubs to provide in exhange for his gracious allowance of letting them use a graveled parking lot at a blighted former factory site. That’s all it is.

      • Funn Dave

        That’s completely ridiculous. How about you provide any evidence whatsoever that anyone is looking to be paid off? Because as far as I can tell, you have an incredibly paranoid, unhealthy distrust of politicians that has led you to make some pretty ridiculous assertions.

        • Blackhawks1963

          Apparently, I struck a nerve. Guessing your a bureaucrat of some sort. Either that or you work for the alderman or have a personal political agenda that believes all business interest are inherently evil and must be made to pay.

          • candyland07

            I doubt you struck a nerve with anyone , your opinions are funny . Say the lie enough and eventually people will believe the lie. Alderman that are for sale have the worst problems in Chicago because their seats and agenda change but the people in the northern wards kinda like their neighborhoods the way it is and certain zoning laws have kept those neighborhoods modern and profitable and steady . The reason Why northern Chicago is clean and modern is because of those very same alderman are careful to what gets build and how its gets build- with the understanding that the Community comes first.

            • Blackhawks1963

              Yeah, a shithold shuttered factory site is part of why northern Chicago is “clean and modern.” And yeah, shoving even more car traffic on the eastward trek down Addison to Wrigley Field does wonders for the pleasantry and air pollution in this “clean and modern” nirvana you describe.

              • candyland07

                I said nothing of Nirvana , your trying to paint a picture that is full of emotional bison crap.

          • Funn Dave

            Or I’m just a rational human being who doesn’t assume that since some politicians are corrupt, all of them must be.

        • fossilhippie

          Don’t be naïve. This is Chicago. Corrupt as any city has ever been in the US.

  • candyland07

    No its not.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Yeah, we can’t have Wrigley Field patrons peeing in a gravel parking lot attached to a blighted former factory site !! And hell, make those fans drive further east down Addison so the traffic congestion is compounded. After all, how dare they use a shithole shuttered factory site to park their BMWs and SUVs…make them clog traffic to the East of me…

      • Jon

        Has there been any evidence this poor fan behavior happening? As far as I know it’s been operating smoothly since the opener. Again the protests are from self serving ignorant people that bitch about anything that doesn’t serve them directly. Continue to bury your heads in the sand about the logistic problems of Wrigley parking and pout like toddlers becuase something “might” inconvenience you.

      • JB88

        Are you actually advocating that Cubs fans urinate in public?

  • berselius

    I hope the Cubs are getting a bulk rate discount on briefcases full of cash

  • 5412

    Hi,

    This is called a SHAKEDOWN.

    I love it! Keep it up and they will have a neat new digs in the burbs after all.

    Regards,
    5422

  • hawkboy64

    let’s see cubs provide free parking but forgot to kiss the right alderman’s ass good grief Will this petty bickering ever stop. This must hve had due process to be approved where was this jackass alderman then.

  • blackmaskreplica

    Ald. Pawar is one of the good guys. He is on the side of the local citizenry and came to his postiion from outside the Chicago machine. While I disagree with him on the issue of the parking lot, it should be noted that the lot is NOT in ‘Wrigleyville.” It is in a quieter neighborhood. Pawar IS NOT Tom Tunney. Do not confuse the two.

  • fossilhippie

    Someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that parking lot is about 4 or 5 blocks down the street from Kerry Wood field, where the Cubs have poured money into helping clean up some contaminated soil and will also build a new baseball stadium for high schools to use. That area is largely non residential, if google maps is correct.

    Its time to announce a change of venue for the next 2 season’s games, while they can do two things at once – do a complete renovation of Wrigley and by not being there, starve out the rooftops and seriously hurt some of the businesses that make their livelihood off the team and have been blocking a lot of his efforts to rebuild the park and by effect, the team.

    Ricketts will then be able to buy whatever buildings and businesses he wants for pennies on the dollar and not have to screw around with any neighborhood opposition.

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