Since Gene and Anne Armstrong tee’d it up in their letter about the Oak Park Residence Corporation’s proposed project at Van Buren and Austin by claiming, “It will not require outlandish zoning variances,” I have to ask: define “outlandish.”

In short, the proposal is for too much building on too small a lot. The proposed structure utilizes the Planned Development process and requested variances to subvert the Zoning Regulations for an R-7 Multifamily District. The proposal does this by decreasing the minimum lot area for such a building by 70%, increasing the maximum height restrictions by 62%, increasing the maximum lot coverage by 18%, decreasing the minimum side setback requirement by 8%, and the rear setback requirement by 92%.

But wait, there’s more.

The proposed building really exceeds the height restriction even more by including roof-top solar panels which could elevate the top of the structure as much as 15 feet, although the zoning ordinance excludes that additional height from the building. The requested “allowances” would eliminate the buffer yard setbacks, and reduce by half the number of parking spaces required for the proposed 45-unit building. The proposal eliminates a loading area and the existing parkway while vacating a portion of the abutting right-of-way. If approved, by vacating the said portion of the abutting right-of-way, the proposed development will constrict vehicles (including moving trucks) from operating on the remaining portion of the Van Buren Street cul-de-sac.

Because I live more than a half-mile away from the site, I will leave the opposition to the building for the physical impact on those neighbors with homes or buildings within close proximity to the proposed building.

Chris Donovan
Oak Park

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