As an Oak Park resident who lives across from the proposed development at 203 S. Marion and who has watched Plan Commission hearings regarding the project and provided public comment, it troubles me to hear all the negative reaction about a welcome addition to my neighborhood.

Opponents act as if 158 more residents in our neighborhood will make it resemble Times Square on New Year’s Eve. That’s ridiculous! I strongly favor development near downtown Oak Park because more residents who live in the neighborhood will support local businesses that need every customer they can get.

As for the opponents who complain about height and the handful worried about their views, most of them may never be satisfied. To them, any building would be too tall if it rises above their window, as if they have a guaranteed right to a permanent view.

Some of the comments I heard at the Plan Commission meetings surprised me because they didn’t seem to be describing the 200 block of South Marion. A “charming streetscape”? Yes, the photography studio property is pleasant, but half of the west side of that block is parking lots and the YMCA. That’s charming?

I heard a lot of complaints about design, too. If Focus built something that resembled the architecture of the block, its proposal would resemble the Y and boxy, brick apartment buildings across from it. The fact is the six blocks from Harlem to Home and Pleasant to Washington have no single architectural style, material, or design and have structures built from the late 1800s to 2013.

Critics of the project might not like it, but constructing a high-quality apartment building on this block is an improvement to what’s there now and is what my neighborhood needs.

Marlene Scott, Oak Park

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