Always gratifying to see the comfort zone of the few take precedence over the common good of the many. The Oak Park Zoning Board of Appeals, whose members should probably be replaced after this latest exercise in futility, struck a blow for NIMBYs everywhere with their decision (actually more of an ineffectual failure to make a decision) to disallow lights at the OPRF High School football stadium.

To be precise they voted against a zoning variance for the particular lights proposal the high school had put forth. Whether the high school comes back with another proposal (perhaps not dependent on a zoning variance?) remains to be seen.

To be even more precise, one of the seven ZBA members recused herself (really, if you’re recusing yourself from the zoning board, should you even be on the zoning board?) so the vote ended up a tie. But you need four votes to approve–evidently even if more than three members recuse themselves–so in this particular case, the tie goes to the naysayers. Under the rules of the ZBA (which, hint, hint, the village might want to take a closer look at) that means the variance is denied.

Whatever. The important thing is that a few ornery homeowners get to protect their dark and dull neighborhood cocoon from disturbance by, gasp, student athletic events! As Louis Jordan once said in a movie (“Gigi,” I think), there is nothing quite so edifying as watching the privileged exercise their privileges.

These are folks who, as a friend once noted, are used to getting their way–and they got their way yet again, at the expense of the common good. They’ve been getting their way now for over six years, which is how long this saga has dragged on. Six years.

Some decades back, the village famously declared Oak Park a “Nuclear Weapons Free Zone.” They even put up signs at our various gateways to proudly proclaim it. Maybe they should put up signs on Linden and the surrounding streets declaring the area a “Student Free Zone.”

Maybe we should declare the rest of the village a “NIMBY Free Zone.”

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