Without comment. After one year, countless hours, enormous efforts by the building department and the zoning board to forge a safe, functional and aesthetically pleasing parking pad at 447 Marengo, the village council voted 4-1 to deny the project. Without comment.
Director of Public Health and Safety Mike Boyle and I worked for months on a proper design, which he then recommended for approval to the zoning board of appeals. The ZBA spent two meetings dissecting the plan and then recommended its approval to the council. I went door-to-door to with drawings to my neighbors on the 400/500 blocks of Marengo. Fifty-three of my neighbors signed my petition in support, and only one spoke out against the plan. My attorney, Tom Pikarski, a zoning/land use specialist, presented to both the ZBA and the council, clearly demonstrating this project was well within our laws. The council rejected it all, without comment.
Mark Hosty initiated the motion to deny my project, without comment.
Marty Tellalian, widely regarded as our dogged “letter of the law” official, seconded the denial and ignored the legal argument, without comment. He did acknowledge I was a good neighbor. Or something.
Mike Curry, former chair of the ZBA and a real estate attorney, ran for commissioner on a platform of zoning reform. In February, Curry declared to the council that he was finally tackling the monster we call zoning, but hasn’t. Curry voted to deny, without comment.
Tony Calderone, inventor of our rotting zoning code, voted to deny, without comment.
Rory Hoskins offered the lone vote to approve, without comment.
This newspaper has investigated and reported on zoning in Forest Park for 12 years. Last week, the Review editorial blasted the mayor for shutting down discussion of zoning/building violations by two commissioners. The mayor defended himself saying our village council is not the appropriate forum for such discussions.
You get the gist. There is no forum in Forest Park to discuss zoning laws that leave 50 percent of our property owners without property rights. Yes, I am angry and disappointed by my loss, but much more so with our government in general. Unfortunately, our zoning problems are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Our real issue is a council culture that feels no need to justify or even explain its decisions to the citizens they serve. At this point, Forest Park has no forum for discussion or comment on any issue. “Call me, we’ll talk” is not governance.
We deserve better. We can do better. Please vote, April 5, 2011.
The village council has voted to deny two parking spaces at 447 Marengo. I would like to know the reasoning of our village leaders’ when they vote “no” on a project the building department and the ZBA recommended.
First there’s Commissioner Mark Hosty, who claims his contractor gutted the interior and enlarged the second floor without his permission, and without appropriate permits or zoning relief; that is until it was discovered by a citizen of the village. Then his after-the-fact permits flew right through the village. And please let’s not forget that Mr. Hosty currently parks his cars in his unpaved side yard.
And let’s not forget that Commissioner Mike Curry also forgot permits and a variance (and once served as ZBA chairman). Again, his after-the-fact variance flew through village processes. And then he votes “no” when a citizen follows the proper channels to have work done.
Commissioner Marty Tellalian owns a legal non-conforming home with a huge curb cut that exits directly onto a main thoroughfare. Where would his tenants park if they couldn’t park where they are allowed to park? His property also has a coach house on the back of the lot. I guess it’s OK for him to have side parking though.
Mayor Tony Calderone lives on a busy street where his cars exit directly onto the street from his wide driveway. Is this a danger to our town? I guess his 6-foot privacy fence doesn’t hinder his view when pulling out, but Ms. Daly’s would have.
Commissioner Rory Hoskins voted for the allowance.