Tonight Oak Lawn’s Planning and Development Board members will hear and review a petition to rezone residential single family home zoning property with a special use permit that allows the construction of a 43,000 square foot, two story memory care facility housing up to 82 patients.
Amid strong opposition from the neighborhood affected by the project, the appointed nine member P&D board will vote to grant or deny the petition prior to the issue be decided by Oak Lawn’s Mayor, Sandra Bury, and the Board of Trustees. Village Manager Larry Deetjen has favored the development while Trustee Robert Streit, who represents the area, has been a vocal critic.
Last week, the Oak Lawn Leaf posted a survey allowing readers to provide answers to basic questions as well as add comments to the overall discussion. The survey found overwhelming opposition from those that completed the survey. In fact, 92.3 percent of respondents are against the proposed development at 101st and Major Avenue.
Do you support the Anthem Memory Care Development for 101st and Major?
Yes: 30 No: 360 Total Responses: 391
The overwhelming negative response to the 101st and Major Development may not bode well for any developer seeking to build in a residential area. The second question of the survey had the exact same results. That question asked respondents if they generally favored commercial development in residential neighborhoods. Overwhelmingly, the respondents answered that they did not support commercial rezoning of residential property.
In general, do you support rezoning residential areas for commercial use?
Yes: 30 No: 360 Total Responses: 391
That second result is probably not good news for the petitioner at 101st and Major or the petition to rezone property at 9711 and 9713 Melvina Avenue, where a builder wants to rezone residential property to mulit-family property. All news from the survey is not bad for Village officials who have been adamant in noting that Anthem Memory Care would be a welcomed facility in the village. A third question asked respondents if they supported the construction of Anthem in another location. It is an idea that has been espoused by Streit, who called the Anthem Memory Care Facility a good addition for the village if it is built in a different location. 94.8% of the respondents are in support of such a facility if it is built in an existing commercial area. Some of the areas floated in the past have included Southwest Highway, 111th and Cicero, 1110th and Central Avenue, and at a location near Advocate Christ Medical Center. The overwhelming response seems to approve of the idea in one of those locations despite the overwhelming negative response to the 101st and Major location.
Would you support the development in a different, pre-existing commercial zone?
Yes: 370 No: 20 Total Responses: 391
More troubling for Mayor Sandra Bury and her allies on both the Planning and Development Board as well as the Village Board, is the perception that the system is “rigged”. While there were less responses to the question allowing respondents to choose if the system is rigged or whether the elected officials will listen, the fact that 81.8% of the people think the system is rigged against the residents shows a deep distrust of Oak Lawn’s government officials.
Do you think the Mayor and Village Trustees will listen to the people, or is the system rigged against the residents?
System is Rigged Against the Residents: 180 They will Listen: 40 No Response: 171
Respondents were also able to provide comments in another section. These are the comments that were received:
“This and the Melvina suggested development are ruining Oak Lawn and are just lining the pockets of the mayor and her cohorts.”
“Please do not do this in our neighborhood. Put it on Central. The school can give up their prime property if they really want to sell that bad.”
“No more medical Centers”.
“The development looks nice, but not for a residential area. I hope the Mayor Village Trustees will listen to the people, but I’m afraid the almighty tax dollar is a big factor and the Mayor \ Village Trustees want the money. Also never really answered how the Christian School & Anthem met. Who got the two groups together? Someone from the Village?”
“Although I believe this is a much needed facility I believe that it doesn’t belong in a residential area, by a street that cannot support the extra traffic, as the traffic already on Central is not regulated to code. Also even though this is not a medical facility, there will be medical transport to doctor visits and it is reasonable to expect more frequent ambulance traffic to and from the facility. The development also does not have near the parking that the facility would need.”
“We have plenty of empty commercial building that could be used for this without re-zoning residential areas.”
“Politics as usual.”
“Not the business or any other I would want on my block..Plenty of locations available throughout the village…”
“The entire city government have their own agenda`s and do not listen to the people. Even the one trustee I thought was for the people sorry Bob Straight calling it as it really is.”
“The decision has been made and all of the input from the residents doesn’t mean anything to the rulers of the village of Oak Lawn. We residents have no voice in under this current rule.”
“I am giving the mayor and trustees the chance to listen because in my heart I do not want to believe this is a done deal. If this zoning is allowed then this opens up many more commercial developments in residential areas. This does not belong in our neighborhood. It is not fair for the neighbors in the area. Special rezoning should not be allowed.”
“I have nothing against the facility itself, however the location is just so wrong. Anyone that lives in the area will suffer from the size and the added traffic it is going to bring to our little neighborhood, along with many other concerns. If they want to build in Oak Lawn, there are plenty of places In Oak Lawn that could handle this type of facility.”
“I don’t think Anthem would go through all the time and money at this location if it wasn’t a done deal. Christian school will make a profit in this residential land to make improvement to their schools( which are not all in Oak Lawn). And I understand the need to bring revenue into Oak Lawn…but let’s get the vacant commercial property filled first instead of ruining residential areas!!”
“It’s a done deal. This mayor and her cronies haven’t been truthful or “transparent” since day 1.”
“Just the wrong location to build a two story facility”
“The Commission is stacked with fools. Mayoral loyalists whom I’d be shocked if voted independently against the mayor who supports Anthem more than residents of district 3.”
The P&D Commissioners will have a chance to prove the last resident wrong on Monday night when the board meets at 7:30 p.m. at the Oak Lawn Village Hall, in the second floor auditorium. Members of the public are able to speak and share their opinions. The survey is not scientific and is provided as a snapshot of the opinions of respondents to the survey. No respondents were able to comment more than once.
Editor’s Note: The ages of the respondents were not provided although the person writing the comment “Streit sucks” was the respondent that did not answer the other questions. He is believed to be under the age of reason and provided an email address of firstname.lastname@example.org.