I am a longtime resident of Oak Park and a congregant at Unity Temple. Along with other Oak Parkers, I attended the recent public session regarding their proposed 28-story high-rise at 835 Lake St. held by the developers, Golub and Co.
Here are my takeaways. Irrespective of the many questions and comments, Golub intends to submit this project for a “Planned Development Approval” as is “in the next few weeks.” Golub said they are “not entitled” to build this building, and that they have to go through a “process.” However, what they can actually build is entirely at the discretion of the village board.
Golub described the village’s usual process for review, public comment, and potential approval. They also stated their goal of receiving approval by the “end of Q1 2019.”
A number of citizens asked about affordable housing. Golub stated that an “affordable housing ordinance” is currently under consideration by the village board and that they would “wait and see.”
Listening to this, it seems likely that the current village board will attempt to by-pass the Plan Commission and consider this matter directly. It also seems likely that the current village board will seek to approve this project prior to passing an affordable housing ordinance, thereby allowing this developer to build without making any meaningful contribution toward addressing Oak Park’s affordable housing issues.
I cannot escape the feeling that this deal is already done and that we are going to end up with a misplaced, out-of-scale, shadow-casting, 28-story building forced upon us by the current village board without adequate citizen input.
I sincerely hope that I am wrong.