Homeowner’s zoning fight continues

As my home was included in the Review’s recent “Nebulous zoning” story, allow me to personalize a complex issue.

The reason the village resists allowing me to create parking on my property is that my home is a two-flat, as opposed to a single-family home. The owners of the single-family home directly across from me on Adams built a garage this summer. There are technical differences, but the lot is a functional mirror image of mine.

I have plenty of land, my parking would not encroach on other property, it would not take away street parking and would create residential parking one block from Madison. My block is overwhelmingly populated with rental properties.

The village appears intent on ignoring that parking does not extend the use of a legal non-conforming property.

Most importantly, I purchased my home because I could afford it. It’s just that simple, folks. I do not wish to nor can I afford to live in the five-bedroom Victorian the village is twisting my arm to create. As our economy crashes around us, toppled by officials, bankers and buyers indulging in homes that were not affordable, Forest Park officials are still pushing that reckless dream.

In previous discussions with the village, once I became aware that “ownership” was important to them, I offered two very compelling options to accommodate their dreams for my property. They just said no, insisting the only option was to de-convert my two-flat and demolish my coach house. That was after they told my lender the property was “grandfathered.”

Mike Curry ran for office on the promise of rewriting our bizarre zoning laws and revealed last week that even our condos are legal non-conforming. Good grief.

Mark Hosty has acknowledged many times that enforcing our zoning codes will significantly hurt either the buyer or the seller. He’s been the straight talker on this issue.

Tony Calderone does not feel a need to change the codes as they don’t hurt “many” people. Not sure why my pain isn’t registering with him.

Marty Tellalian would consider voting for the variance if only my home was originally built as a two-flat, as opposed to being converted 90 years ago. If only someone had mentioned this before I purchased.

Rory Hoskins has not weighed in on the subject.

I am scheduled to petition the ZBA on March 16 and I assume the village council will vote on my petition the following Monday, March 23. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Sharon Daly
Forest Park

Goldilocks Calderone

The three blind mice, commissioners Hoskins, Tellalian and Curry, have awakened as the three bears coming home to find that Goldilocks has been eating their porridge, breaking chairs and soiling beds. Without a fairy godmother to make everything just right, they have a mess to clean.

Suddenly, “Papa Bear” Hoskins believes he is capable of running the village’s day-to-day operations. After a $900K loss and with increased spending this year maybe his department should do more than monitor cash expenditures.

After two years of glad handing, “Mama Bear” Curry wants all of us to know what’s cooking in the building and zoning oven. Why all the waiting? All that experience as chair of the zoning board of appeals should have provided enough research for swifter action.

“Baby Bear” Tellalian was not allowed to play with the grownups until recently. Hopefully he has learned his YMCA lesson and growls sooner. Unfortunately he is hungry and tired after all of Goldilocks’ visits.

These bears seem to have come out of hibernation but Goldilocks is mischievous and well schooled by the wicked wizards of the west. Approval of a real village administrator would make everything just right. If not, we may be asking who ate our porridge!

Tony Sarley
Forest Park

‘Nobody does it better’

Sixty-five pancake breakfasts were sold at the Harrison Street CafĂ© this past Sunday, Jan. 18. All efforts were made to benefit Forest Park Little League as well as promote registrations. The event was a hit! Everyone enjoyed the outstanding pancakes and touching base with friends from last year. It is always a treat to see the kids come together for a little while even if the opening day is a while off. It will be here before you know it! The idea of warm weather and blue skies, we can’t wait!

Thank you to all that participated including Rich Gray, Bob Dowdle, Mark Gordon and the tireless Caroline Eibenberger. We at Little League thank Sherry Ladd, proprietor, for her unfailing support of our kids in this effort as well as her generosity as our host. Nobody does it better!

Connie Custardo
Forest Park

Ayers controversy

On Thursday, Feb. 5 the Riverside Brookfield High School community fell victim to what could have been a disastrous event. Violent activist William Ayers spoke to a group of Riverside Brookfield students and staff at an after school club. Ayers co-founded the violent radical left organization the Weather Underground, a group that is blamed for conducting a campaign of bombing public buildings during the 1960s and 1970s. Ayers is now a professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. However, his respectable title of professor in the Illinois school system is now being called into question because of his violent actions against the governments of the United States and Illinois.

In a Chicago Tribune news story dated Feb. 6, 2009, state Sen. Larry Bomke wants Ayers removed from his university post because of his past actions. Ayers calls this a waste of time, but can in the same breath travel to Venezuela (in 2006) to praise communist dictator Hugo Chavez. A trip that I am sure many Illinois teachers take on their vacations every summer …

As an alumnus of Riverside Brookfield High School, and a former member of the Forum Club, I would have enjoyed coming to RB to sit in on the discussion and ask some valuable questions. However, the after-school event was apparently not open to the public, nor were the parents of our young adults involved until the last minute. I thank the member on the RB school board that stepped forward and urged the RB administration to allow parents to attend. I want to commend this last minute action as having the responsibility of promoting openness and communication within our school systems.

I think that school boards on every level should make sure to communicate with the parents of our children and young adults. The parents need to know what is going on at our schools, and should be involved in the educational system. Surprise visits from violent and questionable activists should not be tolerated unless the community validates them.

Mike Dropka
North Riverside
Editor’s note: Mike Dropka is a candidate for Komarek School Board District #94

Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor should include the author’s first and last name, town of residence and phone number for authorization purposes only. The Review will not publish phone numbers. All letters are subject to editing for space and content purposes and typically will be printed in the order they are received.

Letters to the editor can be received by e-mail at jadams@wjinc.com, or by mail to Forest Park Review, 141 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, Ill., 60302.