The following letter was sent to Village Manager Kevin Jackson:

On behalf of the Oak Park Climate Action Network (OPCAN), I am writing to advocate for the hiring of a director of Development Services who is dedicated to promoting climate action, sustainability, affordability, and transit/bike-ability/walkability within our vibrant community.

We acknowledge the retirement of Tammie Grossman, and commend her years of service and dedication to Oak Park’s development and urban design. As we face a critical juncture with the restructuring of the department, it is essential to seize this opportunity to appoint a visionary leader who can shape the next 5-10 years and beyond, guiding our village towards a more sustainable and inclusive future.

The responsibilities outlined in the job description for the Development Services director position make clear how important this leadership role will be in realizing our collective aspirations. The director will oversee crucial departments such as zoning, development, urban design, building codes, and parking. Each of these areas hold potential for advancing bold policy changes that are essential to achieving the goals set forth in Oak Park’s Climate Action Plan.

As you know, our country is grappling with a climate crisis, an affordable housing crisis, and a traffic safety crisis, among other challenges. Oak Park has also experienced these problems. However, our community has a rich history of pro-actively addressing crises, guided by a commitment to inclusivity and integration that dates back to the 1960s and 1970s.

Now is the time for Oak Park to reassert its leadership and set an example for municipalities across the region and the nation. In light of the growing recognition of the need for reform, numerous communities are re-evaluating their zoning laws, parking restrictions, and building codes to promote climate-smart building practices, foster more affordable housing, and reduce reliance on cars. To maintain our true community character and demonstrate our values, we must lead rather than follow.

Therefore, we urge you to hire a director of Development Services who not only possesses the necessary qualifications but also embodies the goals of our Climate Ready Plan. We need an individual who recognizes the urgency of climate action, sustainability, affordability, and is committed to a walkable, bike-able, transit-oriented village. This leader should be prepared to advocate for these critical issues and drive progressive change in our village.

By selecting a director of Development Services who is committed to our shared goals, Oak Park can become a shining example of a community that successfully balances growth, climate and equity. This hire represents a crucial opportunity to lay the foundation for a sustainable and resilient future for all residents.

We are ready and eager to support the village’s efforts in any way we can. Together we can create a thriving community that fulfills its commitment to current and future generations.

Oak Park Climate Action Network (OPCAN)

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