Thank you all for attending the community meeting about Prery, located at 1714 N. Damen, on Monday night (10.22.2018). We appreciate the time you took to attend the meeting to express your concerns and/or support.

Purpose of Meeting: To meet the owner and operators of Prery, discuss the license and zoning relief they plan to apply for, and enable nearby residents to ask questions and express concerns. Prery would be located at 1714 N. Damen and is zoned C1-2.

Background: Prery is a company that wants to apply for a Public Place of Amusement (PPA) license and parking exemption to run a special events company. Prery would run the business, but the owner of the business and building is John Kreager.

The business would operate seven days a week and only be open during scheduled events. Customers would book the space and the services of Prery for things such as weddings, corporate events, and pop up stores. Most events would be private (unless it’s a popup shop or community event, such as the community meeting we hosted) with a limited guest list or require advance tickets. Prery would not seek a retail food or liquor license, as those services would be provided by licensed and insured caterers. Hours of events would vary based on customer needs and request, but could be as late as 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. on Saturdays, per what is allowed with a PPA license. A PPA license is required for this business model because the capacity of the space is over 99 people and they plan to rent it to customers and include booking entertainment such as DJs and bands.

Prery presented an overview of the business as well as a first draft for a plan of operation. In addition, per the zoning code, the business is required to have a certain amount of parking for a PPA. Because they are within 1,320 feet of a CTA El station, they are eligible to apply for a 100 percent reduction in their parking requirement. To eliminate their on-site parking requirement the business would have to gain approval for a special use permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals. The exact number of parking spots required are unknown as Prery has not yet received a letter of parking determination.

Feedback: We had a great turn out for this meeting of at least 60 residents. The concerns expressed are summarized below.

Hours for the business: Do the hours have to be as late as those stated in the plan of operation? Can the hours be more restricted?
Patrons: How will Prery handle patrons for events with several hundred people? Can they manage to have a space inside the venue for people to wait? What will be done in cases of long lines? How will Prery move folks out of the venue in an orderly fashion so that there is limited loitering? Where is the designated smoking area?
Noise: What will Prery do to ensure that sound doesn’t carry outside the venue? Will they create a way to communicate with residents if there are problems with sound or unruly patrons? With such large front windows, what is the plan to prevent the sound from traveling outside and how will it be tested?
Capacity: Although, the capacity of the venue is up to 500 people if the space is void of tables, chairs, etc., it is not likely that the actual number would ever be so high? What will be the maximum capacity per event. **NOTE: Elizabeth is going to also research the process of how each event is approved by the city.
Loading and Unloading/Vendor Parking: The owner does maintain a loading zone in front of the building. Will there be a clause in the contract and directions telling vendors to load and unload in the front and find proper places to park avoiding residential streets.
Parking exemption/plans for patron parking: What is Prery’s plan to deal with parking if given an exemption. Will there be a valet or shuttle bus from a parking lot rented nearby?
Trash pickup and security: The plan of operation includes details about security cameras and actual personnel that will patrol the area. The plan also includes pick up for trash and recycling. If Prery chooses to do so, they can add a section about trash clean up outside the venue.
Next Steps: Based on emails and the verbal feedback we received, much of the concerns could be addressed in the plan of operation. The plan of operation is a document that a business owner can choose to submit to the City that would be attached to their business license. In most cases, a plan of operation is not created until a business has become a problem. In this case, they would submit the document prior to being issued the license to codify reasonable steps they are taking in advance to mitigate adverse effects on the surrounding neighborhood.

Outstanding issues to address:
– Our office will meet again with Prery to discuss these concerns and see what can be addressed and how.
– We will confirm with the Department of Planning and Development the number of required parking spaces.
– We will schedule another community meeting to discuss the status.

As we stated at the community meeting, we believe everyone wants to see a thriving business in that space. At the same time, we are committed to working with the neighborhood to mitigate any potential negative implications of this potential use. We will keep you updated as we work through these issues with Prery.

Prery Presentation 1018