Pope moves to solve Anan Abu-Taleb's liquor issue

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By Dan Haley

Editor and Publisher

The current Oak Park village board will go out Monday night with a bang not a whimper as it takes up two issues at its final pre-transition meeting that are sure to make news.

The village board will hear a presentation from a developer which will propose a mixed use retail and residential project for the so-called Colt site, the village owned property which fronts Lake Street in Downtown Oak Park. The proposal from Clark Street, long ago chosen by the village as its "preferred site developer" for Colt, will also include property the village more recently purchased on Westgate.

The Colt property is currently used as a very popular surface parking lot.

The agenda for the Monday meeting was released late Friday and says that Clark Street's proposals will include both residential and retail "as well as related public improvements for the site." Previous discussions of the Colt site have included space for a public parking facility and a north-south street that would fall between Harlem and Marion.

At the same meeting the village board will also direct staff to seek alternative development proposals for the same site.

Monday will also see an attempt to resolve the controversy over President-elect Anan Abu-Taleb holding a liquor license for his Maya del Sol restaurant while also serving as the village's liquor commissioner. Outgoing Village President David Pope will introduce an ordinance Monday night that would sync current village liquor laws with amendments now being rushed through the state legislature that would allow Oak Park to have an elected official other than the village president serve as liquor commissioner.

The proposal may or may not be controversial with some current village board members.

Contact:
Email: dhaley@wjinc.com Twitter: @OPEditor

Reader Comments

70 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

Downtown OP resident  

Posted: May 12th, 2013 3:40 PM

@ We are all Ciceroanians too: "And I'm glad you aren't leaving town based on an anonymous comment on the WJ website." :) No, thoughts of leaving have been building slowly over the past few years and the irritation is set off from time to time. On air pollution: Traffic-related Air Pollution near Busy Roads The East Bay Children's Respiratory Health Study http://www.atsjournals.org/doi/full/10.1164/rccm.200403-281OC. Village planners have been irresponsible in some particulars.

WAACT  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 10:50 PM

An important caveat to the Usatoday / EPA data is that those are based on reoprted, legal emissions companies are required (by size) to report. The illegal/weekend dumpers may well be smaller companies not on the map. The problem is likely worse than it shows, but we don't monitor air quality.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 10:39 PM

Thank you, WAALT, for the link. http://content.usatoday.com/news/nation/environment/smokestack/search/IL/~/oak+park/~/name/~/1/ And if you click on the name of the school, it also gives a list of the polluters, the names of the companies, most responsible for the toxics.

We are all Ciceronians too  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 10:20 PM

...the worst when it comes to air quality, due to polluters to our south. Check out that link to see a map of where the factories are that are dumping chemicals. No one talks about this, our property values depend on our "good schools" but it's the toxic elephant hanging over all of us. Perhaps an opportunity for Anan's plan for regional cooperation?

We are all Ciceroanians too  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 10:17 PM

And I'm glad you aren't leaving town based on an anonymous comment on the WJ website. We are all connected, but know that the air in DTOP is likely LESS polluted than your OP neighbors to the south. USA Today had a great report here: http://content.usatoday.com/news/nation/environment/smokestack/search/IL/~/Oak+Park/Irving/rank/~/1/ which shows that while ALL OP schools have among the most polluted air in the US, Lincoln, Longfellow, and Irving are...

Downtown OP resident from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 9:42 PM

@ we are all westsiders: You have restored my faith in internet humanity. My apologies to you too. My responses to you were thin skinned. I have no idea why I dragged ethnicity into the conversation. My comment about prejudice wasn't about ethnicity but about judging a commenter based on apersonal anecdote. I've never had a problem in OP because of my ethnicity. I haven't warmed to the place as much as others, but that is entirely my fault, I'm sure. West-siders deserve a livable village too.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 7:25 PM

Forty year old ordinance is not old?

Gene A from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 6:11 PM

John BM. I think you may have fallen for a faulty rational. It is not an old law. It was enaceted in the 1970's and substantially updated in the mid-nineties. The ethics ordinance is even newer. These are not the products of prohibition. They are protections several boards believed were in the best interests of Oak Park. Also, it was Harmon who said the amendments were intended to facilitate Anan, not me. I just agree with his assessment. Can we focus on the best solution?

We are all westsiders  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 5:35 PM

@Downtown OP Resident, I sincerely apologize for grouping you in with the "most Oak Parkers" who don't concern themselves with what happens east of Austin Blvd. There absolutely are some Oak Parker that work to help the environment and lives of all us "West siders" and I am grateful you are among them. Most OPers I talk to aren't aware of the illegal chemical discharges that linger into Sunday mornings and adversely affect all of us.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 4:07 PM

Gene - Anan felll victim to an old law that no longer serves a purpose. The law being proposed is not solely for Anan. It is for all people who encounter similar problems in the future. It is condescending to make it sound like the village is doing him a favor.

Gene A from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 3:40 PM

The proposed amendment to the liquor ordinance seemed like a law passed to benefit one man. I believe that a man should conform to the laws rather than make laws to conform to the man. I urged the trustees to resolve this matter quickly, seeking public input. My position is: What is good for Anan may not be good for Oak Park, but what is good for Oak Park must include what is good for Anan. The man who won a majority of the votes needn't give up his business to serve as village president.

Karen Walsh from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 3:15 PM

Thanks, Dan H. The story popped up on my computer immediately after I submitted my last comment.

Paul Obis  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 2:06 PM

It seems to me that Anan is doing the right thing. I'm glad that he won.

Dan Haley from Wednesday Journal  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 2:02 PM

Dear Karen, We've just posted a story on the Colt property presentation to the board last night. It is apartments not condos being proposed. The range was 200 to 250 units. Studios, 1 and 2 BRs. Don't know the total number of condos and townhomes at SoHo. Modest by comparison though.

Karen Walsh from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 1:27 PM

It is speculated that 200+ condo units are being proposed by the developer at the Colt site. I understand from Dan Haley and Teresa Powell that a new developer will finish up Soho project as Home and South Blvd. I would like to ask if they know how many condos and town houses there will be at Soho? If all of these units are built, the impact on the area will be enormous. Very careful long range planning is needed vs making it up as we go along. Voters, demand a functional Board.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 12:37 PM

This comment is not about current event in the Anan affair, but a thought about obscure laws endangering a candidate's right to hold office in the future. The Cook County Clerk and OP Clerk certify the right of a citizen to seek elected office That would include age, citizenship, legality of residence, and, I would assume, that the candidate's employment or business ownership was not in violation of federal, state, county, or village law. If there is a possible violation of law, the county and village clerks should seek a remedy, including a legal or legislative solution for the . candidate before certification. Again assuming, the county and village clerks have a responsibility to ensure that all candidates receive a full and unbiased opportunity to serve. The vetting is a responsibility of the clerks offices, not the candidate's. In cases, when a winning candidate lied on a submission form, courts can removed the elected official from office. That is vastly different than removing a winning candidate from service before being sworn in. It is very odd that there has been no public involvement on the part of the county and village clerks in the Anan case. Political solutions to a problem caused by insufficient vetting is unfair to the candidate and voters.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 11:34 AM

@reality check, I agree with you about all this being nonsense. Considering that 99% of the Village President's work has nothing to do with liquor issues, and that he doesn't even attend (or vote at) liquor commission meetings, it's pretty obvious that this has nothing to do with a liquor ordinance. It didn't during the election and it didn't at last night's meeting.

Downtonw OP resident from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 11:20 AM

You know, people could have approached me and said, "let's all work on the air quality issue together." Prejudice is an ugly thing to witness.

Downtown OP resident from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 11:17 AM

@ we are all westsiders - I care deeply about the west side and air pollution, full stop. Why do you think I suggested a village study? It would benefit everyone. One personal anecdote tells you nothing about me or what I do for a living or how I contribute locally. There are children in downtown OP. It is possible to care about two things at the same time. I'm glad I posted. It's time for me to leave Oak Park. As an Asian woman, I've never felt comfortable here. Why are people so mean spirited?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 10:42 AM

I think that President Pope said the vote would be taken by the current board before the new board is sworn in. According the conversation at the board table (as I heard it), if a vote was taken by the new board, Anan would have to recluse himself creating a vote by five members of the existing board plus then new board member - Barber. The question in my mind is why Anan would have to recluse himself on a policy decision and who would step in as president for the vote since both the current president and president pro tem would have completed their term after the first vote.

reality check  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 10:38 AM

None of this nonsense of special laws and special ordinances just to please one man in necessary. Anan said he would divest himself of the liquor license if elected. What the voters of OP should be asking themselves is how can they trust a man who has already broken a campaign promise before he even takes office.

Joe Lyons  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 10:29 AM

Jim ?" Anan was elected by the voters of Oak Park. Nothing in the Liquor ordinance can prevent him from being seated as President. Failing to act, however, creates a guaranteed conflict of interest in serving as the Local Liquor Control Commissioner. The proposed amendments would provide a process for dealing with that. As it stands, the ethical way forward is on uncertain ground. This confusion could be easily solved by the Board, if they choose to do so.

We are all westsiders  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 10:27 AM

The air pollution isn't coming from Priuses parked on the colt parking lot. Go outside any Sunday morning and take a deep breath and smell the sweet perfume of weekend chemical dumping/burning coming from westside factories. It's clear most oakparkers don't care what happens to the people living on the other side of austin, but we breathe the same disgusting air. Instead of spending thousands of dollars cleaning your own personal air, let's stop all illegal dumping and burning.

dystOPia  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 9:24 AM

I assume the induction of newly elected board members is the first item on the May 6 agenda, as it has been in the past. This means the motion, discussion, and vote re. any amended village liquor ordinance will take place with two new trustees, with Anan recusing himself. As JBM has pointed out, where are the 4 votes needed to amend and pass this ordinance in an appropriate and expedient manner? How is Anan being inducted under the current liquor ordinance? Why has this not been resolved?

dystOPia  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 9:06 AM

JBM ... I agree that it wasn't just Pope, as Tucker and Salzman reverted to their weak junior trustee personas, and Johnson's and Lueck's silence was deafening. One of the 2 reasons Pope provided to table the motion was that Brewer was absent. So what? They had a quorum, and Brewer will be absent May 6 as well. The other reason was waiting for IL to pass their legislation, which is obviously not a valid reason. With home rule, there are numerous ways to proceed w/o waiting for Springfield.

Downtown OP resident from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 8:47 AM

Problems with more apartments at the Colt site include increased congestion, noise, pollution and traffic in an ill-suited area. As a resident, it is already a nightmare of navigation. Delivery trucks double and triple park, pedestrians run in front of cars, the alley way behind the 1120 Club is downright dangerous. I lived in a Boston area neighborhood that was more crowded but better planned. Quality of life was much better. Oak Park has many good qualities, I regret the move in some ways :(

Kate from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 8:46 AM

Re: Anan - I thought that Trustee Salzman, supported by Trustee Tucker, did try to move towards resolving the issue when he specifically made a motion to discuss the agenda item rather than table it. When the rest of the Board turned the conversation towards details of the State Assembly calendar and meeting protocol, it seemed a signal to steer clear of closure. I was so hoping the Board would choose finally to do the right thing and set the stage for a graceful transition. But no...gridlock.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 8:43 AM

John, I join with you in having concerns that retired village attorney Heise may be still playing a role in advising board members. You called it correctly that voters will be outraged if behind the scenes maneuvering denies Anan his seat. If what is needed is a "Profile in Courage event", let's call on each board member to publicly offer a comment explaining their support or objection. I do worry that a drawn out battle over this issue will force the courts to intervene and the last thing Oak Park needs is get bogged down in yet another lengthy and costly legal mess that sticks taxpayers with a huge bill.

4 Freedom  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 8:43 AM

Thank God Jim now has the power to judge what is right and wrong with the "Flag Innapropriate" link! The irony is that one could argue that his comment that exclaims it is off topic and doesn't follow policy. Now, I will leave you to your thoughts.

Downtown OP resident from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 8:40 AM

@John Butch Murtagh - Thanks for the reply. I bought a very high quality air filtering unit which was quite expensive, unfortunately. I got the name from someone working in China for an American company - it's that kind of air pollution filtration unit. My guess is that asthma and other lung illnesses are higher in OP than similar communities. It would be interesting to do the study. Also, I suspect shoddy building workmanship contributing. I hope the new developers are well vetted/inspected.

Brian Chang from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 8:27 AM

What kind of problems would be created by apartments in DTOP?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 8:24 AM

dystOPia - Hard to blame Pope alone on the debacle. No one else on the board stood up for what is right by forcing the vote. Four votes were required. Did Pope push the tabling because he did not have four votes? If yes; I don't see how Brewer vote can change that. The danger is that any goodwill that appeared post election hit a wall already.

Dan from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 8:16 AM

From my understanding, the proposal calls for a 4 story bldg on Lake St and another much larger building on the south site that would contain the bulk of the 200+ apts. I understand the need to create revenue on this site. However, significant revenue could be generated and the needs of OP met in a development that had retail on the north site & a large parking garage on the south site. 200+ apts. are not needed & create many problems. These are only included maximize the developers profit.

Dan Haley from Wednesday Journal  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 7:54 AM

We'll have a story up by early afternoon on last night's Colt presentation. But, yes, Brian, the site includes village owned land reaching from the Colt site fronting Lake Street and then another village owned parcel between Westgate and North Blvd. The plan presented last night, all very preliminary, was for two floors of retail and three or four floors of apartments on the Colt site. Then on the south portion both parking and apartments presumably with greater height though no one mentioned a floor count.

Brian Chang from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 7:29 AM

If I recall correctly from previous proposals, the project includes the Colt parcel as well as the village parking lots behind the Colt building extending to North Blvd. You wouldn't even need to build a particularly tall apartment building on that footprint to house 250 units.

Karen Walsh from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 4:44 AM

I agree with Speedway that the only one who would benefit from the proposed new project would be the new developer-certainly not the customers or current business owners on Lake St. This new project would be poor planning. It appears to me that random developers are the ones who organize our business community based on profit for them, not for the real needs of the community. I appreciate those who have given us first hand of Board meeting politics-feel better in formed this way.

Speedway from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 2:53 AM

I am surprised that the Colt development is suggesting 200-250 apts. That's a lot of people in a very small footprint. I believe the village is putting in for the parking, how are they going to manage with the possibility of 200-300 cars. I don't believe the current garage could handle even a fraction of that. The only winner here is the developer.

dystOPia  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 2:38 AM

Once again, it is difficult to discern if Pope is being manipulative or incompetent, but neither is acceptable. He included this item on the agenda, and then seemed to fabricate reasons for tabling it, leaving the board no choice but to go into the May 6 board meeting with no clear way to resolve this issue. This kind of intentional uncertainty is unacceptable, and leaves room for last minutes complications and political shenanigans that threaten Anan's rightful place as the people's choice.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 1:43 AM

Hi Bridgett - I could be dead wrong that the state's delay in signing the bill has spooked the board. If I am wrong, there is probably only two possible reasons for the nervous board members doing so much fumbling. One, some heavy duty politicians have created the possibility that Harmon's bill will be dumped or delayed. Second, there is a board split that could favor anti-ordinance members if they delay a vote until after Pope and Hedges leave office as a way to vote the ordinance down. Both Pope and Hedges seemed to have been leaning toward support of the ordinance and a lot of speculation that Tucker and Salzman also favored the ordinance. If right, there were four votes to approve the ordinance tonight. Why didn't vote tonight? Not sure, but it puts Salzman and Tucker on the spot. Assuming that Johnson, Lueck, and Brewer would be the board members that would like to keep Anan out of office, then Salzman, Tucker, or Barber would have to join them to give them the four votes they need. Anan's would probably have to recluse himself, but even if he didn't, the ordinance opposition would have four votes. Somewhere in all this is some desperate manipulating that will benefit no one while enraging the voters. It is worth remember that ex-Village Attorney is probably still in the background fingering through the code and ordinance books attempting to deny Anan his seat.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 1:23 AM

"Why does Oak Park need this massive development?" Dan, to answer your question: revenue. And for retail, it's revenue generated not just by Oak Parkers, but shoppers from other communities. That's why the whole discussion about what kind of stores is such a big deal--because the kinds of places Oak Parkers like to shop are not always the same as where those from other towns would shop.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 12:51 AM

John, I don't know if tabling it has anything to do with waiting for the state law to pass. The ordinance has built in to it, that it would only take effect if the state law passed--and they still didn't vote on it. They tabled it, with Pope saying that he would (with his Village President power) put it on the agenda for May 6th. They also talked about a "suspension resolution" until June 1st. So who knows how long this is going to go on--or, more importantly, why.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 12:20 AM

Hi Jim - I attended the meeting tonight, but before trying to describe the meeting, here's real news-- I just saw my first coyote of the year wandering around on Oak Park Ave. Now for the lesser news. Full house at the board meeting with most of them Anan supporters. There were about 8-10 public speakers with a strong "pro-ordinance" viewpoint. The board took over the stage with a discussion about what motion to be made. No one seemed to know what to motion. The star of the night was the village attorney who answered more board questions than she usually does in a year. Her final board response was classic. She told them they could do anything they wanted to do. It did not help much, since there was no evidence that any of the board members wanted to have any motion. They finally chose to table the item to next Monday and about 85% left the building. They did not seem angry, but they sure were confused. The problems seemed to be that the board was not sure if they could approve an ordinance to solve the liquor commission issue because the state legislature has not approved their bill yet. A gutsy board would have just approved the ordinance on a contingency basis, but tonight was not a Profile in Courage event. So now, everyone comes back next Monday. Residents speakers will make their statements again, the board will or will not decided what to do again, and the exiting board members will exit and the new board members will raise their hand and take a seat. There was a second issue on the agenda -- a developers vision of what should be done in DTOP-land. The developers' presentation was so bad that, it made the board performance look good.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 12:18 AM

@Dan, Regarding the Colt site, I agree with you about being left with more questions than answers. I think though, that this is like a "first date," with the developers trying to impress the Board. It is in its early, early, early stages of a long process.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2013 12:12 AM

Hi Jim, Pope made clear @ the beginning, that they would look for a motion to table the item. Then Tucker suggested moving item B (the liquor issue) above item A in order, since so many people were there for item B . There was public comment (by five people), and then...in a convulted procedural way, the ordinance got tabled. The video has already been posted. http://oak-park.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=311 The meeting starts at the 2:30 mark.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 29th, 2013 11:40 PM

Bridgett, I missed the board meeting broadcast and wonder if you are able to share any additional information. Was the motion to table the question made without comment or vote? Let's see if the Wednesday Journal is able get the trustees to speak publicly on the issue. I still hope that they will also go on the record via this forum. We're able to read postings here that have been offered by several board members on a wide variety of issues and concerns. This is a topic that needs to be explained and discussed.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 29th, 2013 10:32 PM

"The proposal may or may not be controversial with some current village board members." Well, apparently it is controversial with some current village board members. The ordinance vote was tabled.

Dan from Oak Park  

Posted: April 29th, 2013 10:11 PM

I attended the Board meeting tonight to hear about the proposed Colt site development and left with more questions than answers. All I heard was three out of town bumblers talking about how they are a "Best In Show Team". The VAGUE proposal is a $70-80 million project with ground floor retail and 200-250 1-2 Bdrm rental units above. A new "Station Street" would be created to service this development. Why does Oak Park need this massive development? How do 250 rental units benefit OP?

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 29th, 2013 10:08 PM

I just noticed that the forum is now offering an opportunity to flag a comment as inappropriate. Well done, Wedneday Journal! Here's hoping that folks will continue to follow the rules and guidelines outlined in the comment policy.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 29th, 2013 10:02 PM

Downtown - 1st, Lisa Dodge - I started to post to you and realized that it was Downtown I wanted post at. So treat my post to you as a Hi!. Downtown, the foul air and dust is not limited to downtown. I live on Oak Park Ave south of Madison and our porch cannot be kept clean because of fine dust. The dust is so fine that it cannot be swept up. It requires a full mopping and a rinse to get it clean and the heavy coat of dust reappears within a week or two. I think it is traffic dust from tires and that is caused by more traffic, and higher speeds. The dust has an impact on allergies so I ask our Heating and Air Conditioning to recommend better filter and perhaps duct cleaning. He told me not to waste my money. The problem is not in the house, it's outside the house.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 29th, 2013 9:50 PM

Lisa Dodge -

Speedway from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 29th, 2013 9:49 PM

To Jeff and Dan, when I see some of the comments posted on these blogs, I realize that I have been na´ve as to how far Oak Parkers have come. Some responses are down right scary. With the ease of getting personal information on the web, I for one am reluctant to use my real name. I have already been a victim to this. People beware!

Karen Walsh from Oak Park  

Posted: April 29th, 2013 9:28 PM

Teresa and Dan, thank you for the good news that the Soho development has a new owner who is moving toward restarting the project. It was that complex I was referring to. Brian, your question reminds me of a certain Joni Mitchell song...

4 Freedom  

Posted: April 29th, 2013 8:59 PM

It may be refreshing to see real names but some of us may have something to lose for having a voice or others may only be using real-looking names. This is the Internet after all.

Downtown OP resident from Oak Park  

Posted: April 29th, 2013 7:54 PM

Excellent conversation. I would like to make one small plea for downtown residents on the subject of traffic congestion and air quality. While anyone living downtown accepts air pollution as part of the package, I have noticed indoor soot/exhaust stains since the Colt building was replaced by a surface lot. With the loss of the walking mall and more restaurants, I am concerned about air quality for people living downtown. Is there any way to balance shopper/business and resident interests?

Lisa Dodge from Oak Park  

Posted: April 29th, 2013 7:24 PM

Why do we need more retail space? There is so many "Dave King" signs in the windows of buildings, that a friend visiting asked if he was the Donald Trump of Oak Park! We need to find new small businesses to fill these empty spaces already built. Parking is still an issue anywhere you go in the village. Forest Park is where I work and tend to shop because three hours of free parking is great. Oak Park are you listening???

Dan Haley from Wednesday Journal  

Posted: April 29th, 2013 4:36 PM

First, I'm with Jeff. Love to see this string of comments with actual names attached. Second, let's clarify Karen's reference. Terry Powell, our village clerk, is referring to the partially built and about to be restarted SoHo condo and townhouse project at South Blvd. and Home Ave, (hence SOHO). Good news on that front. Or, Karen, are you talking about the village-owned parcel on Harlem at South Blvd. which remains undeveloped?

Teresa Powell  

Posted: April 29th, 2013 4:04 PM

In response to Karen's question about the SoHo development east of Harlem, a new owner is moving forward with development of this project.

Brian Chang from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 29th, 2013 4:01 PM

@Karen Walsh, perhaps we should just level the Marshall Fields building and replace it with a parking lot?

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 29th, 2013 3:11 PM

Jane- No offense taken. I do wish all the best to you, your family and Oak Park. All residents should join with us in wanting our new Village President to succeed and trust the board to act responsibly in resolving the issue relating to the liquor license. You are right that the election is over and it is in everyone's best interests to move on. There may disagreement but I viewed the results as voters not being pleased with the actions and policies of the current Village President and trustees. The only contested race provided them with an opportunity to express a need for changes. Perhaps a perceived lack of accountability and transparency played a role as did what appeared to be misguided attempts by some to smear and question the legitimacy of Anan. That was most unfortunate but thankfully neither candidate engaged in mudslinging and instead focused on the issues. These are difficult times for Oak Park and there is much to be done. The new Village President and our trustees will have to work together and find solutions to those problems.

Karen Walsh from Oak Park  

Posted: April 29th, 2013 11:38 AM

Actually the condo complex I referred to is not west of Harlem, but just east of Harlem behind Marion St. off South Blvd.

Karen Walsh from Oak Park  

Posted: April 29th, 2013 11:00 AM

My concern is the thought of getting rid of the surface level parking. Parking garages are far less convenient and can be perceived as less safe. River Forest has a thriving town center with both parking lots often very full. The former Marshall Field building, just across the street, still remains empty! Something is wrong. We need more surface parking and to fill currently empty retail space. And what about that unfinished condo complex on South Blvd. just west of Harlem? Common sense!

Jeff Schroeder from Oak Park  

Posted: April 29th, 2013 10:36 AM

I think we are setting a new blog record for the use of actual names in making comments. A refreshing change from the norm.

Jeff Schroeder from Oak Park   

Posted: April 29th, 2013 10:34 AM

Now that we have gotten used to having the Colt parking lot (which is always full, by the way), any future development should have to either be cash positive to the Village in the short term, or provide us with a heck of good new restaurant!

Jane Hedges from Oak Park  

Posted: April 29th, 2013 9:58 AM

Thanks, Bridgett. I think we agree with one another. We want Anan to succeed as Village President. We both want what is best for Oak Park. Jane

Dave Schiavone from Oak park  

Posted: April 29th, 2013 2:12 AM

I commend David Pope for doing the right thing and leaving office in such a classy way. I hope that the Board is equally sensible and sets the right tone for going forward with Anan at the helm,

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 28th, 2013 10:43 PM

Hi Jane. I'm confused by your comment to me on this thread. My comment was questioning the headline of this article. It implies that Pope is doing something to solve this liquor issue, which is not accurate. If you read other things I've written here at OakPark.com, I sometimes question WJ and their reporting. This isn't about the election nor about your husband, about whom, I've never commented, here or anywhere. I apologize for any offense I caused you.

Jane Hedges from Oak Park  

Posted: April 28th, 2013 6:02 PM

I'm sorry Bridget and Jim. John would never approve of my last comment. He truly hates political blogs. He loves what is best for our village. He will try to help Anan do what is right for Oak Park. We love this village and want Anan to succeed.

Jane Hedges from Oak Park   

Posted: April 28th, 2013 5:53 PM

Why are you worried, Bridget and Jim? You won. Why are you beating a dead horse? Give it up. John was beaten. Let's accept that and stop being nasty. My husband does not have an ego problem. He has always , and will always want what is THE BEST FOR OAK PARK

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 27th, 2013 9:43 PM

"Pope moves to solve Anan Abu-Taleb's liquor issue?" How I read the agenda is that the Village HAS to amend that part of the Village Code. Otherwise, it would be in conflict with a mandatory state law. The Village Board is doing it now, even though the law hasn't passed yet, because it's likely that it will pass. If it doesn't, which is unlikely, then the Village Code stays unchanged.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 27th, 2013 12:58 PM

If some elected officials "may or may not" view it as controversial to change the ordinance; they should engage in a dialogue via this forum. From reading the recent postings on the topic, there does not seem to be much of an issue with having another elected official serve as liquor commissioner. I'm not sure that the position itself is a that big a deal. The board of trustees must approve all liquor licenses.

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