Debate On Affordable Housing To Begin In Winnetka

WINNETKA, Ill. (WBBM/CBS) — The village president of north suburban Winnetka is calling for a calm, thoughtful debate on the hot-button issue of affordable housing.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s John Cody reports, median home prices in Winnetka exceed $1 million, which means few workers can live where they work.

Winnetka Village President Jessica Tucker would vote only in a case of a tie on the idea, which would increase affordable housing for families making less than $150,000 a year.

She says he likes the general idea of affordable housing for Winnetka

“As far as specific details, we have yet to see the actual details of the plan that’s been put forth; how would it be implemented,” Tucker said. “A concern that’s out there in the community and that I have is, is this going to cost taxpayers more money, and if it does, how much, and will the community support that.”

Opponents of the plan say it lacks specifics, and thus, there is nothing really to decide. They also say there is no reason why someone who works in the community must live there.

In a Chicago Tribune report late last month, the plan was deemed “un-American” by the Winnetka Homeowners Association, which claimed it would lower property values, draw crime, and subsidize those who are dependent on “handouts.”

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.

When the debate begins, Tucker said, “I hope that people put aside partisan politics, put aside personal emotions, put aside rhetoric when they walk through the village chamber doors, and they’ll have an educated, intelligent, informed discussion.

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.

Tucker says this evening’s meeting is strictly for information and debate. The village council takes up the affordable housing issue later this year.

  • Judy

    Why do these people want to ruin another beautiful neighborhood. Let them build it some where else. When things are not broken don’t try to fix them. Their crime rate will go up and property value will for sure go way down. Leave this community alone and go drop off your garbage off some where else.

  • Bruce Alan Beal

    Judy – did you just say basically, “let them eat cake”? You’re an elitist ass. Off with your head! ;-)

  • Infuriated

    So, Judy, what your saying is that everyone who can’t afford to live in your elitist snob infested Winnetka is garbage?! What an un-American pig you are!!!!

    • Judy

      All I am saying is that Winnetka is a beautiful suburb and once you let low income in there goes the neighborhood. THIS is a proven fact!!!!! Just look at the city of Chicago since these low incomes moved in.
      Honey I am a true American all the way I am just letting you know the true facts. So why don’t you just shut the hell up!!!!

  • Rodman

    Wow Judy! Some of these “people” are your local municapal employees (police,fire and public works) that may like to live in town.

    It’s people like you with shouldn’t reside in Winnetka with that kind of mentality.

  • Judy

    Funny thing is, I don’t live there!!!! I just wanted to put a word in edgewise. Remember this this America and I have the right to speak my mind. At least I have one. Besides the people in Winnetka don’t want this either.Just remember you don’t pay their taxes and they also have rights. Thank you very much. Have a nice day all of you!!!!

  • Jeffrey

    Judy, there is no sense in arguing with the everybody gets a trophy crowd.

  • Lew

    The sheeple that keep hating on Judy should learn to acknowledge an alternative point of view. Although Winnetka will definitely not become another East St. Louis anytime soon, Judy still has a point. A lot of Winnetka residents are hard working professionals that sacrificed a lot of time and money to live where they live. If they want to experience reward by living in an exclusive community, then let them. They’ve earned it. Anyone who’s ever worked hard for anything can appreciate this idea. If you want to live there, then invest time and money to get there. No one is stopping you. I hate these people that keep using the same lame, safe, socially acceptable rhetoric.

  • The Truth

    Judy says she don’t want no darkies living by her.

    • keo456

      whats a darkie?

  • Yea right

    Judy and Lew,You want to know what the funny part is? Whos idea was it in the first place that someone,anyone deserves a free house? The judges, lawyers and politicians that live in Winnetka,highland park and kenilworth that went around suing everyone in housing court.A free house was a great American idea as long as its far from where “I” live! Let those other folks deal with it!!!! What goes around comes around.Dont feel too sorry for them.

    “quote”The newspaper quoted Homeowners Association chairman Carry Buck as saying there are plenty of affordable housing options in other communities!

  • yea right

    The Truth

    Judy says she don’t want no darkies living by her

    It didnt take long for someone to make it a racial thing.Hey truth,Go down to south shore and ask some of the good hard working people how they liked it when the high rises were torn down for scattered site housing.I remember reading a quote in the paper from a African American woman whose family owned a building on east 71st street since the thirties. “It was like they opened the gates of hell”. Her quote, not mine. Its not about race.

    • Lew

      yea right,

      Although we are on opposite sides of the debate, I appreciate your point of view. It’s refreshing to have a discussion with a reasonable person.

  • James

    Se ms to me that people live where people can afford to live. Once again common sense prevails.

  • Jade

    The affordable housing iniative would be directed at middle class people, individuals that are far from needing handouts and no more likely to commit crime than your teachers, police, and firefighters. People in a $45k – $75k income range or so. Get the facts straight before ranting.

    Its an insult and shows just how out of touch people in that community are if they think allowing more middle class people into the community will damage it with their crime and welfare status.

  • mike

    There was a time when I was young ,idealistic and liberal that i would have been appaled at what Judy posted. Now that I own a home in a “diverse” community i know exactly what she and a few others who have posted are talking about. It’s a shame that decent law abiding honest hard working Black people have to suffer because of the violent irresponsible and inconsiderate behavior diplayed by members of their community. One needs only to observe what is starting to happen in Skokie to see such an example. In the past two or three years the Black population has increased and the crime rate has skyrocketed. The other day I was standing on a street corner and a car fuul of young Black men was at the stop light. One of the passengers threw his garbage out of the window and sneered at me with a look of petty defiance. It’s things like that that unfortunately make me ,a homeowner in a “diverse” community know exactly what judy is talking about. How sad!!!

    • Infuriated

      Hey Mike,
      I think you have “gone way off the rails” here. You seem to be making a huge “leap” from affordable housing availabilty to the situations you are describing. You and Judy both seem to like “slamming” anybody who is not just like you. You both need to get a grip on reality! Maybe it’s a good thing that a lot of us are not just like you.

  • O.K.

    Mike,yes you are off topic a little bit but you have the right to your opinion no matter what anyone else says.Infuriated has made two posts on this topic.HMMM lets see”,Elitest snob! UnAmerican pig! “gone way off the rails”Maybe it’s a good thing that a lot of us are not just like you.”

    You can only have an opinion if you agree with his and your not entitled to speak up.Now thats American.Maybe his not mine!!!!!!!

  • mike

    Infuriated and OK Truth hurts doesn’t it? Go ahead say those things. I’m just telling the truth. Sorry to rock your idealistic liberal fantasy world. I don’t blame ’em in Winettka one bit. Who needs that and YOUR B.S.????

  • Richard

    Opponents argue that in 2005 Winnetka residents voted to change its governance to home rule to avoid complying with state-mandated affordable housing goals.

    Opponents say they don’t see a need now to adopt affordable housing and don’t believe Winnetka can legally give housing priority to its residents and senior citizens.

    “There are a few ladies in this town who are active, very active, ignoring your vote and promoting their political agendas of income redistribution and social justice,” according to a WHOA newsletter entry by a Winnetka resident.

    “They have infiltrated the School Board, the Village Planning Commission and Historical Society Board in an effort to control the direction of this town … they have relegated our vote meaningless,” the entry read.

    Village Manager Robert Bahan said Winnetka has created a customized plan for affordable housing.

    Home rule “gave Winnetka considerable flexibility,” he said. “Without home rule, the village would have to follow the mandates. That would be unsuitable for our community. Essentially one size does not fit all.”

    Initiating affordable housing has been a tough sell in other affluent communities, including Lake Forest, where the City Council in November dashed plans for 16 rental units intended for seniors, families and others.

    Developers are “back at the drawing board,” said Mary Ellen Tamasy, executive director of Lake County Residential Development Corp. in Gurnee, one of two developers involved in the Lake Forest project.

    “Oftentimes it’s the misunderstanding of who you are serving,” Tamasy said. “People initially throw up their hands and say, ‘Oh, you are bringing people to our community who will be a burden to us because it costs more to house them. … There is always fear of the unknown.”

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