Proposed new development at 7 Van Buren St. at Austin Boulevard. | Provided by Oak Park Residence Corporation

Our property rights have been violated by the Oak Park Residence Corporation (OPRC) and the village of Oak Park. Currently, because of the up-and-coming seven-story structure being built at 7 Van Buren, my neighbors, renters, and my partner and I have no access to our garages and our alley for at least two months. Access to our alley and garages was promised to us during the village deliberations on this building. In fact, a sign was posted stating that blocking the alley was strictly prohibited. Funny thing — that sign was recently removed.

During the summer, the building being constructed began with raucous trucks moving down Van Buren at 6:30 a.m., waking up dozens of residents, even though the permit states that construction will not begin until 7 a.m. Then the shaking and pounding began. When work is being done, everything in our house vibrates, including glasses in the cabinet. My immediate neighbors and I have attempted to accept this development, but this project continues to take turns that are making it impossible.

Last week, even though we were promised our alley would never be closed because, as one official stated, “It would be a fire hazard,” our alley is now closed for an indefinite period. During these cold and snowy months, we (along with two of our neighbors) are not being allowed to use our garages.

Furthermore, we rent out three parking spaces to people who are not being allowed access to those spaces. We have all been “generously” given 24-hour street parking passes.

Thanks to OPRC and the village, we were given no warning and just one day’s notice about this decision. And we had no opportunity to dispute it. So now it’s shaking, pounding, and being tossed out of our garages. I wonder how the village trustees who approved this project and OPRC would react if this happened to them. But I’m used to dealing with and understanding entitlement.

My neighbors and I are senior citizens, all over 65 years of age. When this project began, one of the goals was to keep Oak Parkers in the village where they can age in place — that is, except for us. As senior citizens and homeowners, we depend on our garages to keep our cars safe and protected from snowstorms. Now we will be shoveling out our cars when it snows. All previous communication with village trustees and OPRC has been ignored. So what will the village do for us? We have not been compensated for our inconvenience.

We have been consistently lied to by the village and the OPRC, who treat us like a nuisance. Being entitled should not mean mistreatment of Oak Park residents — especially when ResCorp is claiming that this structure will bring diversity to an already diverse neighborhood.

Diversity implies fairness for all. This is not fair and does not support the principles of sensitivity, concern, and understanding.

Jane Campbell is an Oak Park resident.

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