My wife Bunny and I have lived in Oak Park for nearly 50 years. We moved here with two kids in 1975 because we were looking to live in a racially integrated community and Oak Park was struggling toward that goal. We loved the vintage homes, the tree-covered streets, the green parks, the top-notch schools. We bought a big old frame house — not the vintage kind but the shabby kind, the affordable kind. We wound up raising eight kids in that house.

We established and operated four businesses in town over the years. Two of them, which we no longer operate, continue to service the community, provide jobs, and pay a lot of taxes. We also served on our share of committees and commissions.

Oak Park has developed over the years. We’re proud that we made our small contribution to that development.

A few years ago we downsized to a condo at 339 Home Ave. The building is about 60 years old, and we’re told it was the first multi-unit building in Oak Park that was purposely designed and built to be a condominium.

We liked Home Avenue because the street is lined with big ol’ single-family vintage homes and shaded by big ol’ trees. Many of those homes and trees have been in Oak Park a lot longer than the rest of us. We even have a big ol’ green park right up the street. At night it’s dark and quiet.

Now along comes a developer who wants a zoning change that would allow 16 units to be built on the two adjoining lots that butt up to our condo building.

We neighbors don’t like the idea at all. Why not? Well, opinions up and down the block have resulted in a list of negative impacts for the area.

One obvious result of the increased density is the increased traffic this development will generate on both Home Avenue and on Chestnut Lane which runs adjacent to the west side of our condo building. It’s also going to make it even harder to find a place to park on the surrounding streets.

Home Avenue is mainly a street of single-family, owner-occupied vintage homes. It’s also part of the Ridgeland-Oak Park Historic District. Any large multi-unit building squeezed onto those two lots, whether the units are condo or rental, would not be compatible with the neighborhood’s character or that of the historic district.

The neighborhood consensus is that the increased density resulting from a zoning change will reduce all our property values. It will certainly radically reduce the value of all the condos in our building. Looking out the window, instead of green space we’ll be staring at a blank wall, probably cinder blocks, a few feet away. Lotsa lost green, lotsa lost sunshine.

You could say “this is a NIMBY issue.” But with our predicted plummeting property values who can blame us?

The developer claims the current zoning results in a financial and personal hardship. The developer further claims that the current zoning has hindered the sale of the property and that building a two-flat on the property, which is allowed by the current zoning, is not economically feasible.

Well, no surprises here. The developer knew the limitations of the current zoning existed when purchasing the property.

Now the developer wants a zoning change for financial gain. Unfortunately, the requested zoning change also results in a financial loss for the owners of the adjoining properties. The value of the developer’s property goes up, the value of the adjoining properties goes down.

On Monday Nov. 7 the zoning map amendment is scheduled to be presented to the board of trustees. The trustees can only vote yes or no.

A village staff internal project review team indicated they would not support the application unless a deed restriction were in place limiting the number of units. However, the board will not be allowed to impose any restrictions on the property. It’s a yes or a no. No restrictions.

If the zoning change is granted, this developer and any future developer would have carte blanche to increase the number of units on the properties to 16. Developers could proceed without any restrictions.

The developer’s property value goes up, the neighboring property values go down.

Doesn’t seem right.

Dennis Murphy is the longtime owner of Poor Phil’s restaurant in Oak Park.

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