The members of the Avondale Zoning Committee (AZC), review proposals of sustainable development by appreciating the diversity of cultures through a balance of commercial, industrial and residential uses of property in our community. We recognize the unique history of Avondale in Chicago through its central position as a manufacturing and transportation hub. We are an advisory body to the Board of Directors of the Avondale Neighborhood Association.

The AZC review is guided by Avondale’s zoning principles of transparency to all stakeholders, including government representatives, residents, developers, contractors, attorneys, and the media. These principles include, but are not limited to:

  • Reuse and preservation of existing structures maintains the character of our community.
  • A limit on new construction to four stories on these streets limits a canyon effect.
  • New development design should fit with the character of surrounding building stock on both residential and commercial streets.
  • We discourage demolition without a concrete plan for replacement structures to eliminate vacant unused property.
  • Curb cuts at the sidewalks are prohibited as they harm pedestrian safety.
  • We enforce Chicago’s affordable housing ordinance to maintain our cultural diversity.

The review process begins with consultation among AZC, developers, attorneys and alderman prior to any public meetings. We post proposals, including drawings and construction plans, on social media to alert those most affected by the projects so they may be informed prior to any public hearings. The AZC advises the offices of the alderman in the 30th, 31st, 32nd, 33rd and 35th wards of recommendations on representative proposals.



Chad Buch works in commercial real estate market research focused on industrial properties and holds real estate licenses in two states.  He earned a masters degree in geography with a focus on urban and regional planning.  Chad has lived in the neighborhood for five years.

Rodger Cooley is a 16 year Avondale resident and has a Masters in Urban Planning and Policy from UIC.  He has worked on local initiatives such as improving pedestrian safety at the Addison/Avondale/Lawndale intersection, a redevelopment plan for Avondale Park, and a playlot for Reilly School.

Joe Houlihan

Mitch Levin  He has twenty three years of the experience in environmental/health regulation and law.  For fourteen years, he prosecuted polluters in Cook County.  Mitch has lived in Avondale for 17 years and is a board member of the Avondale Neighborhood Association.

Liz Muscare is a life long third generation Avondale resident and a real estate broker for over 30 years.  She has experience with a variety of zoning issues and is devoted to having an impact on future Avondale development.  Liz is the current president of the Avondale Neighborhood Association.

Mark Thomas has been a community advocate in both Lakeview and Avondale for 40 years.  He is the owner of the Alley stores in Lakeview, and the Art Colony and Music Colony in Avondale.  Mark ran for Alderman in the 44th ward and was the founder of the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce.

Melissa Toops chairs the Avondale Zoning Committee. She is an Avondale homeowner, licensed architect, and a member of the American Institute of Architects.  She has nearly a decade of professional experience in the Boston and Chicago metropolitan areas, and provides a thoughtful eye for design while using her planning and management skills to help the neighborhood maintain a voice in new development.