Ruling is not discouraging us

To the Editor:

Last week the judge hearing the McMobil zoning case, Kathleen M. Pantle, granted a motion filed by the University of Chicago’s lawyers to dismiss our lawsuit. The motion alleged that the title company we hired to mail required notices miscalculated the property boundaries and thus failed to notify seven property owners on the east side of Dorchester Avenue. We are disappointed by the judge’s ruling. There is no precedent in case law for dismissal of a zoning suit on the basis of alleged procedural errors by a party making a good faith effort to give notice, though suits have been dismissed when no notices whatsoever were sent. We intend to pursue all legal avenues available to us to appeal this decision.

On behalf of myself and my fellow plaintiffs, I would like to thank the many supporters who have backed us over the last six months, and also to remind everyone that we are moving ahead vigorously with this. We continue to believe that the proposed development at the McMobil site is grossly out of scale with the surrounding area, that the university’s agenda in developing that site is out of sync with the desires of the neighborhood, and that the university has so far avoided a meaningful discussion of this issue. If the judge had allowed the case to go forward, we would now be preparing to have that conversation in court. Now any discussion in the courtroom of the merits of the case will be delayed for some time while the appeals process unfolds.

Our position has always been in favor of development at the McMobil site, but we want the right building for that site, and this is the wrong one. (As always, there are more details at save53rdstreet.org.) The judge’s procedural ruling does not lessen our commitment to work towards a 53rd Street that will be best for the future of Hyde Park. The community and the U. of C. are not identical. What the U. of C. thinks best isn’t necessarily good for the community.

Michael Scott