The Oak Park Village Board’s decision on Nov. 21 about whether to grant the rezoning request for the lots at 327 and 329 Home Ave. — both within the designated historic district — is really all about fairness.

Is it fair, for example, that a developer with no ties to the village, who bought the lots in question knowing the zoning only allowed two-unit buildings and that any request to change it would be, as it has been, met with universal opposition, receive a dispensation out of left field to cram 16 units into the middle of a historic district?

We live directly across the street, and we can’t replace failing windows with vinyl because of the historic district, but some random developer can waltz in and willy-nilly plop down 16 units?

Is it fair that our neighborhood alone should bear the price on a day-to-day basis of increased traffic, more parking congestion, and more heat, light and noise — especially during construction — so the village at large can potentially obtain increased tax revenues? Is it fair that our neighborhood pays the price and someone else — the village and the developer — reaps the benefits?

Is it fair that the views and interests of scores of long-term neighborhood residents and property owners should be disregarded in favor of outside interests who are simply interested in making a dollar?

Is it fair for the village, just to satisfy the whims of one developer, to grant a re-zoning request that will set a village-wide precedent, virtually ensuring that every other quiet residential lot that borders on a more densely zoned area will also be eligible for re-zoning, nibbling away at our duly-established and much-lauded historic districts from the outside in?

Is it fair for the village to enforce its land-use laws in an arbitrary and capricious fashion that smacks of favoritism, in effect throwing its own Comprehensive Plan out the window?

On Nov. 21, we will find out.

Charles & Barbara Watkins
Oak Park

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