Send McMobil plan back to drawing board

To the Editor:

There is a plan before our political leaders to build a monstrous 13-story high-rise structure at the so-called McMobil site on 53rd Street across from Nichols Park. This building should not be built. The proposed structure is grossly out of proportion with its surroundings and would degrade the quality of life for everyone living, working and shopping within a wide radius around it. We add our voices to the growing chorus of Hyde Parkers who oppose the plan by Mesa Development LLC and call on Ald. Will Burns (4th) to prevent it from going any further.

Our reasons for opposing the plan are several and correspond closely with those raised in the Herald editorial of Feb 20:
The building would dwarf everything around it and destroy the view from Nichols Park. Today, people in the park gazing northward see sky; if this building goes up they’ll see only skyscraper.

The building would create added population density where we need it least, namely, several blocks from any public transportation. This is contrary to the sentiment expressed in many community meetings. Being far from buses and trains, residents of the building would have strong incentives to own cars, which would add to the traffic congestion on 53rd Street. It would also make it easy for these mobile Hyde Parkers to leave the neighborhood to shop, exactly the opposite of what we’re supposed to be trying to accomplish with neighborhood development.

Perhaps most ominous of all, it would set a new precedent for outsized structures on that stretch of 53rd Street, which was neither designed for nor can handle high-volume traffic. The result, down the line, could be not the density we desire but the congestion we can live without.

Before the Mesa plan can proceed, the site has to be rezoned, and the decision on this lies with Ald. Burns. For the good of the neighborhood, we urge him to halt the rezoning and bring all of the parties back to the table to design a sane alternative, this time with the community input and consensus the current proposal lacks.

Stephanie Franklin
Robin Kaufman
Marc Lipinski
Tom Panelas
David White

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