We are writing to respectfully urge the village board to reject a zoning map amendment to reclassify the properties located at 327-329 Home Avenue from its existing R-5 two-family zoning.

We are residents of the building located at 339 Home just south of the property under consideration for rezoning (327-329 Home). This property, built in the 1960s, provides a moderate, affordable, and attractive living space for a diverse population of seniors, young families, and first-time home buyers in the heart of Oak Park.

The proposed rezoning for 327-329 Home would effectively reshape the neighborhood and the land that is the beginning of the Oak Park Historic District. Rather than the historic building and spacious green space that now abuts our property, the change in zoning would have us facing a wall of a new building, housing as many as 12 units despite the fact that the current structure on the 327 lot already has four units — what should be the maximum for the entire double lot.

We are also concerned that the zoning change would create unintended consequences for the neighborhood — and all of Oak Park — by setting a precedent for zoning changes. Owners to the north on Home, or elsewhere in the village, would be within their rights to receive the same rezoning consideration. The consistent pattern for zoning for nearby streets of Clinton, Kenilworth and Grove are all the same as the 300 block of Home. Changing the existing zoning will signal an open season for zoning changes for surrounding neighborhoods.

Zoning changes like the proposal under consideration by the council will create a slippery slope of unintended consequences that will create discord and disrupt a long-established neighborhood character, both on Home Avenue and elsewhere in the village. We urge you to consider all the consequences of creating this precedent that will invite developers to target other sites and communities in the village.

The developer is an experienced and seasoned politician as well as a longtime real estate developer. He and his group knew the existing zoning requirements when they purchased the property. Moreover, he and his group understood that the neighborhood was fully against any zoning changes. Notwithstanding unanimous opposition, they sought a zoning change to R-7 to build 18 units on the property located on the 329 lot and now they wish for the council to provide an R-6.

The village of Oak Park consistently stands for values promoting community, preservation of historically significant neighborhoods, and housing options for all of Oak Park. It stands for creating more affordable housing as it is a critical need in our community. The developers have stated firmly and unequivocally that with the zoning change no units will be set aside for that purpose.

We urge Village President President Vicky Scaman and the trustees to vote to uphold the clearly established neighborhood character and maintain the current R-5 zoning for the properties at 327-329 Home Avenue.

By doing so, village elected officials can fight and prevent rampant zoning changes in Oak Park neighborhoods.

Furthermore, with a No vote, our elected leaders in the village can demonstrate that zoning fairness is for all Oak Park residents, not just developers with no connection to the village.

A No vote will demonstrate that developers, no matter their influence, are not entitled to special preference over residents of the village.

Joseph Costigan & Nancy Cowles are residents of Oak Park.

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