Oak Park developer to run for board of trustees

Dan Moroney wants to reduce taxes with sensible development

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

A lifelong Oak Parker and real estate developer has announced his plan to run for the Oak Park Board of Trustees in the April 2017 election.

Dan Moroney has served on the Oak Park Historic Preservation Commission since 2014, the Oak Park Board of Realtors since 2005 and as treasurer of Horace Mann School PTO since 2011.

But Moroney is probably most well-known for being the developer of an 11,000-square-foot mixed-use, 4-unit apartment building in Forest Park earlier this year at 7228 Madison St. – between Fat Duck and Skrine Chops.

Moroney told Wednesday Journal that as a trustee he would focus on lowering real estate taxes on homeowners, generating "sensible development" beyond downtown Oak Park and creating stronger partnerships with the Austin neighborhood of Chicago.

Moroney, a former self-described house flipper, said he's more focused these days on new construction projects like the recent development in Forest Park.

He described himself as pro-development but said multiple large-scale developments downtown are changing the quiet suburban nature of the village.

"Nearly 800 units are being added to our downtown district via three enormous buildings. This scale of building is just too large for our community. The impact on our community will be great," Moroney said in a policy paper listing his reasons for running.

He said he also would encourage the village to reject approving a zoning change to allow for a 16-story building at the northwest corner of Lake and Forest, across from the new 21-story Vantage apartment building.

Moroney noted that large-scale developments will help reduce the tax burden, but "it can be argued that the developments have been allowed to be too large and the incentives too generous."

As an example of generous incentives to developers, Moroney pointed to a $100,000 request in TIF funds from Golub & Company, developer of the Vantage tower, to build out a ground-floor restaurant space for the building that was completed earlier this year.

Moroney says the village should focus more on smaller development projects along Madison Street, Roosevelt Road, North Avenue and Harrison Street.

"We need to get beyond downtown," he said in an interview.

He said high taxes are making it impossible for middle-class families to live in Oak Park. The taxes on his own home, Moroney said, have increased 150 percent since 2000.

"I have an 8-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son. I want them to be able to afford to live in Oak Park when they become adults," he states in his policy paper. "If real estate taxes grow at the rate that they have over the past 15 years, Oak Park will not be an option for them as a community to live in."

The three open trustee seats in the upcoming election are currently filled by Glenn Brewer, Colette Lueck and Peter Barber. Barber is the only trustee who has said he will run for re-election. Lueck said earlier this year that she does not intend to seek another term.

Moroney said he plans to seek the endorsement of the Village Manager Association, an organization that vets and slates candidates for elected positions at village hall, but added he will run with or without the group's backing.

CONTACT: tim@oakpark.com


Reader Comments

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Mike Connolly  

Posted: October 25th, 2016 12:17 PM

I agree with Dan that the Village has pushed too hard for developments that are too large. I suspect that this is driven by the fact that the bigger the development, the higher the price paid for Village-owned land. The Village acquired a number of parcels right before the Great Recession and now they want to get out from under some bad trades. The only way out is to push for larger projects. I haven't seen any feasibility studies or impact studies, but I suspect little attention was paid to how much municipal services will be CONSUMED by these projects vs. the tax revenues generated. I question whether a true net benefit exists. I also question the cost to small businesses that are literally covered in the dust from these projects. Surely the small businesses will benefit from more customers in the end, but getting to that end is a huge hurdle that the Village has not taken into consideration and has provided no compensation to the little guys while they bow down to the big developers. In short, the Village has found themselves in the Commercial Real Estate Development business with no ability to deal with the intricacies of that industry.

Vince Fratinardo  

Posted: October 8th, 2016 8:53 PM

Dan definitely knows buildings! He survived as a rehabber and developer through the housing crisis of the mid 2000's where many others failed. His experience would be a great fit for the job.

Ada Johnson Tikkanen  

Posted: October 8th, 2016 5:19 PM

Any brother of Mike Moroney has my vote.

Joe Girard from Oak park  

Posted: October 8th, 2016 2:57 PM

Dan has my support and vote! I've been lucky enough to know Dan since preschool at Field Center, and I can't think of a better candidate to represent our village on the Board of Trustees. He's got the main concerns of my family, and I'm betting most Oak Park residents nailed. I think his long history of working on homes in Oak Park, dealing with the village on a regular basis, gives him a real leg up on the other candidates.

Jason Blake  

Posted: October 8th, 2016 2:43 PM

I worked with Dan in the advertising field. I have never met a harder working person in my life. His passion and excitement is exactly what is needed for Oak Park. I cannot imagine a single person better suited for this position.

James P Loerzel  

Posted: October 8th, 2016 1:42 PM

It's interesting to see people comment on his honesty and integrity. My personal experience has been Dan Moroney lacks any honesty or personal integrity, having seen this first hand. There are far better candidates who are much more qualified and are far better representives of Oak Park. I wouldn't trust him as the local dog catcher.

Mike Moroney  

Posted: October 8th, 2016 9:06 AM

I'm sure I'm a bit biased because he's my brother, but I have utmost confidence that he would be a great asset for Oak Park once elected. Very excited for you, Dan.

Beth Fialkowski Burdin from Oak Park  

Posted: October 7th, 2016 11:21 AM

So glad to hear Dan is running. I know him personally and he's sure to tackle these issues in a respectable, responsible way.

Todd Kahn from Oak Park  

Posted: October 7th, 2016 10:35 AM

Dan Moroney is an asset to Oak Park now and will be an even bigger asset when he gets elected. His leadership and passion is exactly what our village needs. Those of us lucky enough to have had dealings with Dan either personally or professionally are excited about his candidacy!

Dave Slade from Oak Park  

Posted: October 7th, 2016 9:39 AM

Dan has my vote, let's hope he can bring to the table the sensible change this town needs. I do have to respectfully disagree with him on the idea that these large-scale projects will reduce the tax burden. The tax burden never goes down, and with increased population growth, there will be added pressure on village services, which costs money, which increases taxes. And I hope he can address the issue of the village's pension liability shortage of over $121 million, per the 2015 1st installment tax bill.

Chris Carl  

Posted: October 7th, 2016 9:36 AM

Dan Moroney will bring integrity, practical and relevant experience, and thoughtfulness to the village's board. In our many visits with Dan and his family, his love of Oak Park and his concern for its future have impressed us time and again. Although we are not residents of the community, but frequent visitors, we have always been impressed with Dan's pride in his hometown. Our daughter and her family are moving to Oak Park next month, in part, due to the kind of enthusiasm for the community's quality of life Dan and others have always demonstrated.

Jolyn Crawford  

Posted: October 7th, 2016 7:53 AM

I like the way he thinks, he knows what he's doing! He'd have my vote! He, his dad and sister one of the best builders and rehabbers! Hats off!

Jim Kelly  

Posted: October 6th, 2016 11:03 PM

I was Chair of the Citizen Involvement Commission when we recommended Dan for service on the Historic Preservation Commission. I was very impressed with him then, and even more impressed now with the content of the interview he gave the WJ. He will bring a a unique, impressive skill set and perspective to the Village Board table. The reasoned voices on the Board for sensible development are still in the minority.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: October 6th, 2016 10:45 PM

This guy sounds great. Love the idea of someone in this role actually thinking about holding the line on taxes as a goal.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: October 6th, 2016 8:51 PM

Does Dan Moroney support opening up the TIF books for public inspection? Would he call for a forensic accounting of the revenue collections and spending practices that have remained hidden from taxpayers and residents? Many people, including current and past trustees, have promised voters increased transparency of Village government polices and practices; not a single one has ever honored that campaign pledge. If Moroney is willing to open the books, demand open and competitive bidding , and block insider deals; he'll have my vote!

Oliver Sabitsana  

Posted: October 6th, 2016 8:38 PM

This is great news! I had the pleasure of buying a home from Dan and it was top notch. He was always responsive every time we had a question or needed a recommendation about the house. Over time, I've also gotten to know how much he cares and how knowledgeable he is about Oak Park. The Village is going to be well represented with a thoughtful advocate in Dan Moroney.

Kaidrea Stockman  

Posted: October 6th, 2016 7:49 PM

I heard developer and was worried but everything I read was exactly how I feel. I sure hope Dan becomes a trustee. We need someone like him!

Bruce Kline  

Posted: October 6th, 2016 6:41 PM

Chris: I agree with you. The VMA I think was formed in reaction to typical "big city" mayoral governmental corruption but now has degenerated here in Oak Park into a quasi Soviet like one party rule monolith. And with that, the undesirable and antidemocratic consequences of one party rule is now and forever upon us.

Michael Nowicki from Oak Park  

Posted: October 6th, 2016 6:41 PM

I've done many real estate deals with Dan and have known him personally for over 20 years. He's ethical, hardworking, and driven. His commitment to OP is evident. He will be an incredible assesst if elected.

Charlie Kohler from Oak Park, IL  

Posted: October 6th, 2016 5:55 PM

This is such great news! I cannot think of anyone else with more knowledge of passion for Oak Park than Dan. Having Dan on the board will be such a benefit for the entire village.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: October 6th, 2016 5:23 PM

You got my vote Dan. And if the VMA does not support you well screw 'em.

Lanny Lutz from Oak Park  

Posted: October 6th, 2016 5:06 PM

Delighted to read the consensus of comments is in favor of the candidate's desire to slow down the rush to develop. "Mayor" (President) Anan is a reasonable, likable guy, but we're going way too far with seemingly limitless development in our village.

Pam Rogers from Oak Park  

Posted: October 6th, 2016 4:55 PM

I have the pleasure of serving with Dan on Mann's PTO and within a very short time I have come to value his judgement and admire his integrity. His passion for Oak Park and its history are evident when he speaks. Dan's voice at the table would serve Oak Park well in paving a path for the future.

Carla Trankina Thornton from Forest Park  

Posted: October 6th, 2016 4:47 PM

If those stated policy goals are real, he is definitely what OP needs.

Jim Bowman from Chicago  

Posted: October 6th, 2016 4:46 PM

Dan (Moroney) seems a strong candidate, but from this article, it also seems that he would bring Oak Park back to the VMA anti-growth drawing board. Do I have this right?

Christine Vernon  

Posted: October 6th, 2016 4:45 PM

Sensible Development! Wow! Did I read that right? Somebody opened the window and let in some fresh air. We have generations that have lived here making Oak Park the inviting community it is. Aesthetically one of a kind, but then Moroney would know this from serving on the Historic Preservation Commission...Oak Park, with the work of over one hundred architects, making it a laboratory of American architecture. Over the years there has been a commitment made to fair housing (a commitment with law enforcement behind that) a commitment to diversity as far as race, religion and gender; and a commitment to environmental issues as well...so, we remain a suburb with urban conveniences but still suburban. Until now! Now developers who don't live here swoop in to make money with their grandiose lot line to lot line high-rises, yes, creating overcrowding and loss of open space for those crowds, parking problems, and high-rises one block from the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District that made the suburb famous. Talk about cashing in on the work and commitment of other people! The only place where Moroney is making a mistake is by asking for the blessing of the VMA. The VMA has pretty much ruled Oak Park unopposed for over sixty years. That's how we ended up with the current development issues. Our Village President Anan went for their blessing and look what happened, he showed them didn't he! Give Oak Parkers a chance to get out from under the domination of the VMA and supporting you as a worthwhile independent. We don't have a democracy in Oak Park otherwise. We have one party rule here and have had it pretty much since the 1950s. This is the one thing that is not a part of our proud history.

Aaron Walters from Oak Park  

Posted: October 6th, 2016 4:23 PM

I'm a huge fan of Dan Maroney. Great approach, sensible, trustworthy, and deep roots in Oak Park. I have full confidence in what he'll be able to accomplish in a role such as this and can't wait to vote for him.

Rosanne Knight McGrath  

Posted: October 6th, 2016 4:17 PM

I have worked with Dan Moroney for the past 3 years on the Historic Preservation Commission. He brings to that Commission a very balanced, thoughtful view of how to maintain the special qualities that are Oak Park but also allow for new projects and sensible growth. I believe that his views in that regard make him the perfect type of person we need on Village Board. The Board in the last few years has seemed to me to be 'Development at all costs"...and the implicit character that IS Oak Park is slowly being chipped away. Dan would bring a sensible, balanced approach to these issues - Good for you Dan for running, you have my vote!

Elisabeth Muhlenberg from Oak Park  

Posted: October 6th, 2016 3:50 PM

"Large scale developments will reduce taxes". Nobody has yet been able to explain to me how that is supposed to work. What I see is: overcrowding, parking problems, more car accidents, roads deteriorating, more kids in schools & Park District programs. All of that costs money. Where, please, will the reduction in taxes come from? In my opinion the above development mantra is at best wishful thinking and at worst intentionally misleading.

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