The Oak Park village board, keen to aid residents of the 400 block of North Maple Avenue in their fight against a proposed four-story condominium building, agreed last week to fast-track hearing a recommendation on rezoning the block.
That recommendation, from the Village of Oak Park Plan Commission, suggests the board deny the residents’ plea to down-zone the block from R-7 to R-6. That change would reduce the number of units that could be built and lower the maximum height allowed by zoning.
Currently Allen Land Development plans to build a four-story, 11-unit condo building over two parcels on the 400 block of North Maple, an unusually undisturbed block of mostly single-family homes.
Members of the plan commission, although finalizing its recommendation to deny the zoning change shortly before a village board study session Thursday night, nonetheless said they supported the “plight of the block” and would urge the board to look to historic preservation as a means of protecting the block against inappropriate development in the future.
Later that evening, the board, in a calendar planning session, agreed to hear the commission’s recommendation tonight, May 24, and then vote on the matter at its next regular meeting, June 5.
Village Atty. Ray Heise has told the board that any change to the zoning on the block would not affect the plans the developer has already submitted. But changing the zoning now?#34;making the proposed building out of conformity before it’s even built?#34;could change both the financials for the developer and the dynamics of the situation, Trustee Ray Johnson said at last week’s board meeting.
The board tonight will also discuss the possibility of incorporating the block into the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District, a move that would take at least three or four months, according to previous estimates. Doug Gilbert, chair of the Historic Preservation Commission, told Wednesday Journal that changing one boundary of the district would not be appropriate without looking at changing other boundaries.
Residents said they would file landmark applications on Tuesday to nominate the three houses that are slated for demolition to clear way for the condo building. They said they collected more than 80 signatures on a petition supporting their cause and will argue that the proposed condo building violates fire code.