Lightfoot should try again to speed up approval of commercial boards

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“I was surprised to learn on Monday at 9:00AM a Rule 41 was filed with the Clerk’s Office. Does that look remotely like “negotiating in good faith” to you?” “The Commissioner reiterated that she wanted to continue to work with City Council in good faith to try and find a compromise on the issue. I expressed an interest in doing that as well,” Reilly wrote in an email to the Sun-Times. Reilly said he is “still interested in pursuing a compromise” that will “get business owners their permits faster,” while preserving City Council’s authority.

Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) led his colleagues in the sign rebellion, arguing that aldermen “need to retain a role” in the approval process. It would shave up to two months off the 150-day wait for business permits, signs and awnings by ending the long-standing practice of requiring a separate ordinance for each public way permit.

Reilly said Monday he was “disappointed” the Lightfoot administration was “pressing forward, especially after” his meeting late Friday with retiring News Affairs and Consumer Protection Commissioner Rosa Escareno ended without a deal on “potential compromise language.” Last month, the City Council voted 25-24 to separate out that portion of the mayor’s kitchen-sink package.

“If expedition is the goal and having the process be faster, I don’t know of a single alderman who is against that. We’d all like to speed it up. But to suggest that it’s impossible to speed it up without removing our sign-off authority is nonsense,” Hopkins told the Sun-Times. “There’s got to be a procedural way to include aldermanic sign-off on an expedited process. … They’re trying to work that out right now. If they do, it’ll be a compromise that everyone can support — including the business community. They only want a fast process.” Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) had joined Reilly in the sign revolt and will join him again in Wednesday’s opposition to the do-over vote.

“The ordinance needs more work and, by rejecting it on Wednesday, we can negotiate a better proposal that serves the business community and helps to protect the quality of life in our wards.” “I’ll be encouraging my colleagues to vote NO on the ordinance being called up under Rule 41. If the City Council holds the line on Wednesday, we can get a superior ordinance passed in September. It would be a shame for the City Council to give away its negotiating leverage on this issue and we can avoid that by voting “No” this week,” Reilly wrote.

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