A far less epic confrontation took place Tuesday night as Michelle Foik, partner in Eris with Katy Pizza, presented plans for the cider house/brew pub/restaurant at a community forum attended by residents of Old Irving Park.
Though the majority of attendees expressed support for the project, a small but vocal group of neighbors from Kildare Avenue, whose garages would share an alleyway with Eris, raised several objections ranging from traffic to fumes.
Primary among their concerns: the prospect of delivery vehicles blocking access to their garages, and Eris’ request for a zoning change that would allow for just 17 parking spaces at a restaurant with 150-seat capacity.
Foik countered that delivery drivers could be directed away from the alley. Regarding parking, she emphasized that she and Pizza chose the site at 4240 W. Irving Park Rd. because of its proximity to a number of public transportation options.
A veteran of both Revolution Brewing in Logan Square and Goose Island’s Wrigleyville location, Foik said that she had experience dealing with challenging parking situations.
“All my guys rode bikes,” she said of staff at Revolution.
Ald. John Arena (45th), who will decide whether to approve or reject the zoning change Eris needs to open, offered to host a separate meeting between the Kildare neighbors and the Eris team.
Asked by the Kildare group whether the zoning change was already a “done deal,” Arena responded: “Do I think this has merit? I do. Will it affect parking? Yes. Will it affect alley use? Yes. Are those changes an overall positive or an absolute negative?”
The property, formerly a Masonic Temple and currently home to the Korean Bethel Presbyterian Church, has, throughout its history, been tax exempt, Arena stated.
A conservative estimate would have Eris generating $80,000 to $100,000 in property taxes alone, with liquor and sales tax on top of that, he said.
“The city needs revenue. We need to activate properties that are underperforming,” he said.
Economic benefits aside, Arena said, to widespread applause, “This community is starved for a place they can walk to exactly like this.”
In the event that the alderman approves Eris’ zoning request, the measure would take 60 to 90 days to work its way through City Council.