Hairston, Taylor say they will support changes to housing proposal to make sure it is legal

Ald. Hairston (left) speaks to a reporter from Bloomberg News after the Nov. 26 City Council meeting. (Photo by Aaron Gettinger)

Staff writer

Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20th) said a Monday meeting with Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th), a legal representative from the CBA Coalition and the city departments of Law and Housing illustrated the legal challenges their July-introduced ordinance faces, and she said she would support changes to ensure its legality.

“There might be some legal challenges because it’s just for Woodlawn and not citywide,” she said. The city officials suggested that the effort could apply across Chicago, Taylor said, which she would support.

An official for the Department of Housing, however said that the city’s working ordinance is designed to apply primarily to the area around the proposed site of the Obama Presidential Center.

“The imminent ordinance would apply primarily to Woodlawn, while the Department of Housing continues to work on long-term citywide housing solutions, including changes to the ARO ordinance,” the official said.

Hairston said a lot of work remains before the plan can be finalized by the end of the year, which is Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s goal.

“We all know that once something is submitted, people get to make amendments to it. Especially when you have portions that are illegal, which they knew were illegal when we started this. So, I need (the CBA Coalition) to negotiate in earnest and in honesty,” Hairston said Tuesday. “I need that from them. I want to work with them, but I need them to work with us.”

She said she enjoys a “very good” relationship with Taylor, echoing her desire to get more parties involved in the drafting process.

Taylor said the process appears to be moving in the right direction. She identified a conflict over calling it a “CBA ordinance” but cautioned she would not split hairs over terminology.

“It’s still going to be ours,” she said. “It’s just some edits to it, and there’s going to be some more substitute ordinances to it, more pieces to go onto it.”