Winnetka Residents Spar Over Affordable Housing
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WINNETKA, Ill. (CBS/WBBM) – Residents of the wealthy North Shore suburb of Winnetka are debating a plan by the village to introduce affordable housing into the community.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports, it appears that the plan, if it ever goes ahead, will not come easily.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports
The Chicago Tribune reports the plan calls for preserving what little rental housing there is in the town, and reverting some downtown space now used as offices back to rental apartments.
The plan would also require developers to set aside affordable units. Owner-occupied units would have to be affordable to households earning $75,000 or more, and make rentals units affordable for those who make $45,000 or more, the Tribune reported.
The median income in Winnetka is more than $200,000, and the median home price ios over $1 million, the newspaper reported.
But the plan is being deemed “un-American” by the Winnetka Homeowners Association, which claims it would lower property values, draw crime, and subsidize those who are dependent on “handouts,” the Tribune reported.
The newspaper quoted Homeowners Association chairman Carry Buck as saying there are plenty of affordable housing options in other communities in the area, and she characterized the affordable housing plan as a government overreach in a community she called mostly conservative.
Six years ago, Winnetka residents voted for home rule, to avoid compliance with state-mandated affordable housing rules.
But the village also issued a report saying an affordable housing plan for young families and senior citizens was deemed mandated based on village documents going back to 1979, according to a 2005 report.
The report said Winnetka “has always had a supply of diverse housing,” and that coach houses and apartments above downtown storefronts have been among the options.
Patch.com reported that in 2007, a study showed that Winnetka has been losing 30 rental units each year, and million-dollar “McMansions” have taken their place.
Many local employees, such as public school teachers, have been left unable to afford to live in Winnetka , Patch.com reported in a story last September.