Several weeks ago we strongly encouraged Oak Park’s village board to take action to limit 24-hour gas stations in the village. By our count there were eight such businesses operating, and they can be a bright and accessible lure for crime.
We saw that with horror early this summer when a recent OPRF grad was murdered at the BP station on Chicago Avenue at Taylor. A young sister and brother from the city have been arrested and charged with the crime.
After hearing Village President Vicki Scaman speak to angry friends of Jailyn Logan-Bledsoe, the young victim, and to concerned neighbors who gathered at the station in the days after the murder, we anticipated action from the village. And so we were disappointed when village staff came back to the board with a decidedly cautious response and no call for action. Not much on our minds that River Forest and Forest Park, among other towns, allow gas stations to operate 24/7.
That the village board took an extended time at its early August meeting to discuss staff recommendations and to, effectively, send them back to work on more substantive policy changes was encouraging. This board needs to be responsive on this issue.
A week back, on the front page of our Viewpoints section, the Journal ran a lengthy and detailed letter from some 60 neighbors of the BP station demanding action. The demands were multiple and specific. The neighbors deemed the actions of the station owner as being “hostile” to the interests of residential neighbors.
There is not a right to operate a business 24 hours a day. The village and its stretched police force do not need the heavy duty of extra patrols at a business that could reasonably be dark from midnight to 6 a.m.
We’re looking for the village board to be more thoughtful and aggressive when this matter comes back to its agenda early next month.