On Monday May 16th a hearing was held at the OP Village Hall to protest the development of two 5 story hotel buildings behind the Rock Bottom Restaurant. The Hall was packed with protestors from Hummingbird Hill and the surrounding area. For many this was their first exposure to local government in action .Most had just learned of the meeting through a flyer distributed by a concerned citizen. It was obvious that the Trustees weren’t pleased to see this opposition. The Village position was based on an obsolete plan from 2004 to fill the vacant land. Since 2004 much has changed and the lots in question have gone through bankruptcy and foreclosures. The history was not clear. The finances and concessions were not discussed. The Trustees did not lay down sufficient ground work for discussion and justification. The Village and the developers presented very positive positions backed up with their statistics. The Village was geared to approve this development. This was not to be the case, as the people had thoughts of their own...
In response, the community voiced their opposition to potential parking and traffic problems. The area was already feeling the pinch from existing businesses in the area. The use of the 2004 plan was not fully explored or justified. In twelve years the area has developed into a beautiful area for residents. To build two five story buildings does not conform to the present aesthetics. It practically butts up to Hummingbird Hill. This is a major concern and objection. Would you like two five story hotels in your backyard?
The issue was presented regarding the need for 2 hotel buildings to compete with the Hilton. Why here? The developer presented his national statistics on hotels in a way that it appeared the Hilton was always 98% full. His statistics were questionable, they didn’t jive with the people’s observations.
The question arose, why here, in a beautiful residential area, when there is plenty of vacant land available in Orland Park. It made no sense as the Trustees attempted to sell an obsolete 12 year old plan. The Trustees were confronted with the potential problems of having hotels near the new Twin Peaks, Bikini, Bar/Restaurant. A Bar known for the biker shoot out in Waco Texas where nine people were killed. The Trustees were asked to use their imagination for potential problems.
What if the hotels fail? What happens to the property? Will we inherit more section 8 housing? There were plenty more questions and opposition to the development. It was clear that the Trustees lacked research and analysis in defining the potential problems associated with this development. They need to present their impact statement on how they justified this project, if they have one. They need to rethink relocating these 2 hotels in OP. The presented statistics were a deception of the proposed hotels and operation in attempting to sell the project. The Trustees voted for a no decision and to meet again on June 6.
During the interim I hope the Board and Mayor revisit their position and start thinking of the people and the impact on the residential area. A 12 year old plan is no longer viable. It’s time that the concerns of the people come first. Sorry, the glove does not fit.