The Village of Oak Park is considering creating a new reduced parking permit fee program as part of its efforts to boost the affordability of the village. A draft of the ordinance was read to the village board at its March 6 meeting and, if approved, would go into effect April 1. 

As drafted, the ordinance dictates a reduced fee of $50 per quarter for eligible applicants that wish to park vehicles in village-owned lots and spaces.

“Depending on which permit somebody would purchase, you would save between 57% and 81% off the normal prices,” said Sean Keane, parking and mobility services manager for the village government. 

To meet the eligibility requirements, the registered owner of the vehicle for which the permit is being sought must be a current participant in the Oak Park Housing Authority’s housing choice voucher program. Village staff is also investigating broadening program eligibility, but the draft ordinance read March 6 only provides eligibility to housing choice voucher program participants. 

Applicants must submit a form approved by Tammie Grossman, the village’s Development Customer Services director, or the director’s designee. The program is subject to available village-owned spaces. 

The Oak Park Housing Authority submitted a Jan. 27 letter to the village board in support of the potential new program, stating that the roughly 500 families in the housing choice voucher program will benefit greatly from the village board’s consideration of reducing parking permit fees. 

The letter, signed by former village president and Oak Park Housing Authority Executive Director David Pope, also included the 74 residents of the Oaks, the 21 residents of the Farrelly-Muriello Apartments and the 198 residents of Mills Park Towers among those who would be positively impacted by such a program.

Residents of those properties, however, will not be included in the program’s first iteration. While the village initially intended to include residents of those properties as part of the program, according to Oak Park spokesperson Dan Yopchick, staff decided after internal discussion to remove them until it could be determined all of the other affordable housing locations that should be eligible. 

“Village staff needs additional time to meet with ownership of these additional properties in order to discuss the parameters and plan for administration of the program for these locations,” said Yopchick.

Wednesday Journal has reached out to the Oak Park Housing Authority for comment.

This program has been entirely an effort between the village board and staff, as fees are not within the scope of citizen commissions. The village board first discussed implementing such a program at its Feb. 14, 2022, meeting, while reviewing the village’s parking system, and directed staff to further develop it. Village staff informed the village board Nov. 21 that they would bring forth an ordinance codifying the program for board consideration in the first quarter of fiscal year 2023.  

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