Oak Park Plan Commission rejects alley closure

Residents voice opposition to plan to connect parcels on Madison Street

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

A proposal by the owner of Our Planet Automotive Services, 435 Madison St., to vacate an alley between his business and an adjacent parking lot to the east was denied by the Oak Park Plan Commission at its June 7 meeting, following fierce opposition from nearby neighbors.

Tim Kelly, who represented business owner Stephen Mudjer at the meeting, told commissioners that the proposal would allow Mudjer to better use the parking lot, giving it direct access to the auto body shop.

"The parking lot will be developed eventually with landscaping code requirements," Kelly told commissioners.

Residents widely objected to the proposal, though, noting that closing the alley to through traffic perpendicular to Madison Street and just south of the auto shop would make it more difficult to access their garages. It also would make it harder for service vehicles like garbage trucks and snowplows to get in and out.

Kelly said the plan to close the alley was not connected to any larger development.

Resident Tina Birnbaum opposed the project, telling commissioners that she is in and out of the alley about three or four times a day. She warned that having a single access point from Adams Street would block residents in if a garbage truck or other vehicle was in the alley.

Commissioners unanimously rejected the proposal, noting that while the alley closure would be a benefit to the owner, it would come to the detriment of residents.

CONTACT: tim@oakpark.com

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