Rendering of the Madison Highland Development.

Despite some opposition from nearby residents concerned about the loss of a village-owned surface parking lot used by neighbors, the Oak Park Board of Trustees on Monday approved a residential/commercial real estate development on Madison.

The five-story Madison Highland project, planned for the corner of Madison Street and Highland Avenue, will include 55 rental units and 11,000 square feet of ground-level retail. 

But some argued that the development will create a headache for an already difficult situation in the area for parking cars.

Charlotte Newman, an Oak Parker who lives near the proposed development, said neighbors use the 77-space village-owned parking lot, adding that parking already is “in short supply” along the commercial corridor. She said it will push cars into the neighborhood, turning it into a “massive parking lot.”

She also warned that a large apartment building with no green space could cause problems with storm water, which she fears would lead to flooding of basements in nearby homes.

Doug Gilbert of the village’s Plan Commission, which is tasked with reviewing such projects, said the developer could build the project without the village’s approval if it was willing to do so without height and setback variances approved unanimously Monday by the board of trustees. 

Village Planner Craig Failor noted that a storm water detention system that will be included in the project will protect the area from flooding.

The development is through partnership between the nonprofit organizations Mercy Housing Lakefront and Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives.

Developers have been working to build on the site for years now. A plan for an office building was scrapped in the last few years and replaced with the mixed-use proposal following repeated delays and missed deadlines.

UPDATE: This article was updated to correct the number of parking spaces in the village-owned parking lot.


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