The application to increase the zoning density from R-5 (2 units) to R-6 (16 units) for the two parcels of land located at 327 Home Ave. should again be declined as the representation that it is for four units is not credible.
When last attempted, the developer showed his hand, producing a rendering of the project that maximized the units under the sought-after zoning – 16 units. This time the application shows a drawing of four rental townhomes but, if approved, the zoning would allow 16.
The developer’s architect curiously disclaimed the 4-unit drawing as the work of another architect (not present at the Plan Commission hearing), and took no responsibility for it; instead he asked the commission for approval of a zoning change allowing up to 16 units and based his argument on the four-unit drawing. If approved, however, any future developer can, by right, develop up to 16 units.
The Oak Park Historic Commission has pointed out the inconsistent location within The Ridgeland Oak Park Historic District, an area of architecturally significant single-family homes, including Pleasant Home at 217 Home Ave., the “Garland Home” at 241 Home Ave. (arguably Oak Park’s oldest residence), and the George W. Smith House at 400 Home Ave., a Frank Lloyd Wright home — all listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
When I moved to 305 Home Ave. in 1998, the zoning at my residence was R-1 — most protected. Though now R-5, that protection remains valid as it documents the village’s responsibility and intent to protect my home and others like it from encroachment. In keeping with the neighborhood character, I donated my home’s façade to the Department of the Interior to preserve the Victorian architecture.
My guess is that when a developer converted the existing 327 Home residence from 1 to 4 units, the justification was that it was spread over two lots. The village board has a duty to future generations to follow historic precedent and preserve architecturally significant pockets of the village’s historic character and reject the petitioner’s application.