Letter - Don't use taxpayer money for incentives

The Historic Preservation Commission has been involved in generating grants and tax abatements to assist in the financing and construction of additions to homes on the Historically Significant Structures Property List. The HPC and the trustees are subsidizing the improvements to private homes with taxpayer money.

President Cauley has said that the owners needed “incentives” to undertake these improvements. During a recent HPC meeting, a proposed new home to be built in the historic district was discussed. The HPC did not give the new property a certificate of appropriateness. The new owners had abided by all the rules of the village to obtain permission for this new construction. The new home design came under extreme criticism by the head of the HPC and its members. Terms like NIMBY and “Screw the neighborhood attitude” were voiced at this meeting toward the new owners.

I have done volunteer work on Oak Park’s annual “Wright Plus” house walks, where I learned about their 10-member historic commission. They work with homeowners who are interested in the restoration/preservation of their homes. No financial support is available from Oak Park for these improvements. Oak Park has avoided the questionable practice of granting taxpayer-funded cash and benefits from one set of neighbors to another set of neighbors. At a recent meeting of the Hinsdale Board of Trustees, I asked the trustees to stop using taxpayer money for private home improvements and to rein in the obnoxious treatment by the HPC of residents wanting to build new homes. — Robert A. Lennox Jr., Hinsdale