Wesley lot split will ruin a block's character

Opinion

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I am writing this letter in protest to the proposed subdivision and development of the property down my street at 947 Wesley. If this development happens there will be a permanent change compromising the architectural beauty of this home, wiping away the open side yard to create a dense structure on limited space, creating a negative impact on our neighborhood for the personal monetary gain of the developer.

As of now our neighbors have banded together to bring awareness to the issue of this development. I am asking for support from others in the village who have faced protesting against a developer. Specifically, fighting changes if the development requires any kind of permit or zoning variation. If you have support to add please contact me at taridelisi@yahoo.com.

A brief synopsis of what has transpired thus far is below:

This home is a grand turn-of-the century home built by an architect that was his showcase house. Recently it was identified, but not pursued by the owners, to receive historic landmark status. It was meticulously and lovingly preserved for over 30 years by John and Martha Lussenhop.

Many Oak Parkers know of the Lussenhops and of their beautiful home and gardens on the large lot, which was featured on the Garden Walk a few years ago. John and Martha recently retired out of state and faced the decision to sell their home. We know how much John and Martha wanted the new owners to cherish it and preserve their land because my husband and I seriously considered buying it.

It would have been an honor to own and a measure of great responsibility to preserve the home's interior and beautiful gardens with the same care as John and Martha. It was their hope someone would care for their home and fear that a developer would buy it for the land. They were aware their lot could be subdivided and developed. I am not sure what happened in the transaction to sell their home, but their nightmare and ours as fellow residents will most probably come true.

Earlier this summer their house sold for a considerable amount of money $636,000; currently it is re-listed for slightly less, but without the side yard attached!

Imagine the upset this has caused concerned neighbors about the probable development on this beautiful open space. It feels like this loved and cherish home has been viewed as a money making profit venture for a developer.

It is unclear who owns the lot, but the home is vacant and with the drought the gardens are suffering. Recent property tax information lists the owner who is also a realtor. The home is also listed for sale by this realtor.

It is my hope that two things will happen. If the development cannot be halted, the village seriously considers amending the minimum lot size needed for development. (If not for this property, then for one on your street.)

Current Oak Park code lists that minimum build space is met. This lot is too small of a space for the negative cost it evokes on neighboring homes and the village as a whole. I am saddened that landmark status was not pursued to preserve this historic home and leave the land as it was intended to be with beautiful gardens, mature trees and open space to allow the home to shine and light to shine in its many stained glass windows.

Tari Delisi

Oak Park

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