Open Letter to Alderman Hairston – May 26

Ald. Leslie Hairston, 5th Ward
2325 E. 71st St.
Chicago, IL 60649

May 26, 2017

Dear Alderman Hairston,

Thank you for engaging in a spirited discussion with the South Shore community at your May 23rd ward meeting. We share your objective of bringing more quality businesses to 71st Street. Diverse neighbors in attendance – joined by the nearly 200 who have signed our petition for a comprehensive planning process – voiced deep concerns about your proposal to down-zone the street, but remain enthusiastic about the prospect of a community Master Plan.

We applaud your commitment to continue delaying the zoning committee vote on your proposed ordinances in order to pursue a transparent planning and economic development process including:

  • Sharing the existing 71st Street Master Plan before your next ward meeting, in your office and online, in order to provide opportunity for constituent comment.
  • Expanding on and sharing specifics of your consensus-building process at Ward meetings through which constituents will provide input and “vote” on prospective businesses.
  • Listing and sharing your action steps related to attracting new businesses to the community.
  • Leveraging and sharing expertise beyond the Ward Advisory Committee to fully understand the impacts of down-zoning over time including negative effects on property value, ability to get financing, density control and other factors not yet addressed.
  • Evaluating and sharing existing zoning/planning models in use in other areas of the city.
  • Researching tax breaks granted to absentee landlords and their impact on South Shore.
  • Inviting the community to participate in the cited 5th Ward Advisory Committee with Susan Campbell, Director of Planning & Development for Cook County, and other unnamed members.
  • Utilizing social media platforms to broaden ward meeting attendance.

We believe that undertaking the above steps prior to holding a vote on your proposed ordinances at the Committee on Zoning will result in a plan for South Shore’s future development that you and all of your constituents can enthusiastically support.

We look forward to participating in this process with you at the upcoming June 27 ward meeting and during the intervening weeks. We are always available via email at We are also happy to help broaden participation in this process by sharing information, including your responses to any of the above, via our website’s Questions & Answers page and on social media.

Thank you for your hard work and leadership on behalf of our community.

Reclaiming South Shore for All

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