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A Mixed Income Apartment Aims To Give Vets Priority

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A mixed income apartment building is looking to give veterans priority when it comes to housing, but some in the Jefferson Park community said the possibility of the new addition could change the feel of the area.

The location of a former food service provider is the proposed site for the apartment building, at Milwaukee Avenue and Northwest Highway. The building will have retail, a storage facility and 100 units.

"We're very confident that there's going to be great opportunities for local residents to get a chance at affordable housing," said Ald. John Arena.

Ald. Arena added that veterans are being given preference for the proposed housing.

"We have more than 3,000 veterans that live in this neighborhood alone. We know that veterans are looking for housing here."

Army veteran Robert Arciola is a board member with the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

"Over the years there's been a great need for accessible housing and affordable housing," Arciola  said. "Chicago's been lagging behind for a long, long time."

But the proposed complex hasn't been without opposition.

There has been public outcry. Resident Victoria Aviles said 3,500 petition signatures have been collected against the project, which could be as high as 70 feet.

"It's very unfortunate that this debate in the community has turned into that we're not welcoming, that we don't want people that are different from us. That has absolutely nothing to do with it," she said.

The perceived height of the building is where the concerns reside.

"There is nothing around there that is that height and it would just stick out," said Aviles.

Ald. Arena said the building height is needed to make the project financially viable.

Last week, the storage facility portion of the project passed with the planning commission.

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