Wesley subdivision controversy unwarranted


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Your article of Aug. 3 regarding 947 S. Wesley Ave. was incomplete and rife with factual errors and omissions ("Neighbors organize over possible property subdivision").

The facts are these. The Spillane family has lived in Oak Park for 43 years. During that time we have lived in and completely renovated more than 30 South Oak Park homes. Some of these homes were properties that not even the most aggressive rehabbers wanted. We have often sacrificed profit to produce a high quality renovation.

Regarding the property at 947 S. Wesley Ave.:

? The property was advertised for sale by John and Martha Lussenhop (at a near record price south of the Eisenhower Expressway) for $635,000.

? On June 17, the property was acquired for $636,000 via a commercial loan. The Lussenhops received more than their asking price for this property.

? The Lussenhops are now enjoying their retirement with the proceeds of this sale.

? The former owners were represented by a local attorney, and former neighbor, Patricia O'Connor, and a local real estate broker, Gloor Realty, throughout the entire sales process.

? The Lussenhops and their representatives could have but chose not to place any restrictions on the subsequent use of the extra lot attached to the property. Of course, any such restriction would have seriously diminished the value of the property as a whole.

? By their own acknowledgement at the closing, due to health reasons and the fact that they were moving, the Lussenhops had not tended the garden and the garden had fallen dormant due to the extreme weather conditions this year.

? The new owners have spent hundreds of dollars on a professional landscaping service to maintain the garden.

? In 2003, the Village of Oak Park requested that the Lussenhops apply for landmark status for the property. The Lussenhops declined.

? Any action to landmark this property would have also diminished its value.

? Neither the Spillanes nor their agents made any representation to the owners as to the subsequent use of either the home or the extra lot.

? The current owners never met or talked to the Lussenhops.

? Every neighbor and, in fact, every person now complaining in such strident terms about the potential development of the lot had an opportunity to purchase the entire property. They chose not to. All of them should respect the private property rights of the new owners.

There is a large public park (Rehm) located two blocks from the property that everyone in Oak Park is free to use. Any new home that may be built on the extra lot will be constructed in compliance with Oak Park's building and zoning code and will, undoubtedly, be an addition to Oak Park's community of homes. The fear and anger being expressed by certain people in this community are baseless. Oak Park is a dynamic community that will be improved by a new home and by new homeowners on the 900 block of South Wesley Avenue.

Joseph R. Spillane
Oak Park

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