Mayor Krajewski called the Workshop meeting of the Village Council of the Village of Downers Grove to order at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Village Hall.
Present:Mayor Brian Krajewski; Commissioners Marilyn Schnell, Thomas Sisul, Michael Gilbert, Sue McConnell, Martin Tully, Mark Zabloudil; Deputy Village Manager Gerald Sprecher; Village Attorney Daniel Blondin; Village Clerk April Holden
Absent:Acting Village Manager Riccardo Ginex
Visitors: Press: Carol Kania, DG Sun Residents: Dave Humphreys, 4221 Saratoga; Philip Hutchison, Steve Rebora, Greg Shumate, Romy Manabat, Desman Associates, 300 W. Washington, Chicago; Bill & Linda Cawthon; Marilynn Gerloff, 4241 Highland; Christine Fregeau, 1918 Elmore; Ken Keller, 5131 Lee; Marc Patno, 4517 Belmont; Andrew Clark, 1226 62nd St.; Susan and Dave Brown, 1508 Gilbert; Shirley and John Kostelny, 4110 Glendenning; Shanon Tully, 3678 Venard; Herb Bell, 2130 Ashley Court; Rick Tarulis, 101 N. Washington, Naperville; Carl Bertram, 530 49th St.; Ed Donnelly, Brian Donnelly, Andrew Donnelly, Patrick Donnelly, Helen Donnelly, 1700 Monmouth Pl.; Richard and Peggy Jacoby, 4915 Pershing; Bruce Weeks, 4909 Pershing; Jim Michaels, 4107 Earlston; Terry Dionne, 4228 Earlston; Steve Pawlowski, 4117 Earlston; Calogero DiBona, 4232 Earlston; Christine Ryan, 3939 Glendenning; Shirley Pasquale, 3946 Glendenning; Sheri Krzak, 3935 Glendenning; Joyce Allers, 149 56th St.; David and Marilyn Weiher, 4808 Wallbank; Margaret Brady, 4224 Earlston; Joseph Nasvik, 3934 Earlston; Laurel Bowen, 829 Clyde; Steve Friedman, Friedman & Associates; John LaMotte, Lakota Group Staff: Liangfu Wu, Director, Information Services; Marty Lyons, Director, Financial Services; Amanda Browne, Planner, Planning Services; Jack Bajor, Director, Public Works; Dave Conley, Director of Engineering, Public Works; Steve Ruffolo, Director of Operations, Public Works; Ken Rathje, Director, Planning Services; Bob Schiller, Manager, Traffic Division, Public Works; Jane Gerdes, Senior Engineer, Public Works; Bob Jungwirth, Village Engineer; Rick Ebel, Manager, Pavement Division, Public Works; Kathy DesMarteau, Redevelopment; Brian Pabst, Director, Redevelopment
Mayor Krajewski explained that Council Workshop meetings are held the second and fourth Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. The meetings are video taped live and for later cable cast over cable channel 6. The Workshop meeting is intended to provide Council and the public with an appropriate forum for informal discussion of any items intended for future Council consideration or just for general information. No formal action is taken at Workshop meetings.
The public is invited to attend and encouraged to comment or ask questions in an informal manner on any of the items being discussed or on any other subject. The agenda is created to provide a guideline for discussion.
Character Counts Coalition Presentation. Manager Sprecher introduced Commissioner McConnell to discuss the Character Counts presentation.
Commissioner McConnell said the Character Counts Coalition (CCC) began about a year ago through the Partnership for a Healthier Communities. The group decided that there was a need and interest in the Village to look at character education and value systems, which resulted in the formation of the CCC . She said two of the other Subcommittee and Coalition members were present to discuss the program. She informed the Council that they have been involved with a larger coalition through DuPage County, and the County has asked the CCC to report on how it has achieved its accomplishments to date. She then introduced Jim Russ and Linda Matheson Schmitt.
Linda Matheson Schmitt said she and Mr. Russ have been working with community leaders to bring a character education initiative called Character Counts to the Village. She referred to the packets the Council has received regarding the program. Ms. Schmitt said the CCC is hoping the Council will pass a Resolution in support of the CCC program. She noted that between Mr. Russ’ family and her family, they have eight children attending District 58 and 99 schools. Character Counts is a community-based program in the schools, athletic and recreational organizations. The program has as its core the six pillars of character. The National Character Counts Coalition is made up of 450 organizations committed to improve the character of young people. The six pillars are trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. It is their belief that it is everyone’s job to teach character development, beginning in the home and extending into the community. Character Counts is meant to enhance and supplement family values. Everyone who interacts with a young person has the potential to develop and shape his or her character. In that regard, the vision of the Downers Grove CCC is to have the entire community work as a team to teach, enforce, advocate and model good character.
James Russ, Jr. explained the activities of the Downers Grove Coalition. They started at the beginning of the year and put together a comprehensive outline of how to bring the program to the community, how to fund the effort, and establish their Mission Statement. The mission of the Downers Grove Character Counts Coalition is to nurture a character based culture, throughout the community, to build a consensus through a common language of trustworthiness, responsibility, respect, fairness, caring and citizenship to promote activities that promote character education as a life continuum, resulting in a community that will teach, enforce, advocate and model character development. Mr. Russ said the Coalition has been organized into three teams: leadership, public relations, and assessment and measurement. There will be a booth shared with another group at the upcoming Heritage Festival, as well as a float for the July 4th Parade. He said the Coalition is made up of every aspect of the community, and is one of 19 groups in DuPage County. The Downers Grove Coalition is one of the leaders in the DuPage County area, and in response to a request from the County, the Downers Grove Coalition will present an action plan to the County. Mr. Russ asked that the Council pass a Resolution in support of the Character Counts Coalition.
Commissioner Tully said he has attended two of the meetings and was impressed by the energy, dedication and commitment of the group members, and how much they have accomplished since January. He said this is truly a grass roots movement. Everyone can benefit a great deal from attentiveness to the six pillars of character. He would support a Resolution supporting this program.
Commissioner Gilbert congratulated Commissioners Schnell and McConnell, as well as the staff members who became involved in this. It is a great program to bring to the community.
Commissioner Schnell said that by passing this Resolution the Council is sending a message to the community that they, as government leaders, take this very seriously and will model themselves after these six pillars, and will attempt to conduct their business with the six pillars in mind.
The Mayor asked staff to prepare the Resolution and encouraged the Council to pass and actively support the program.
Contract for DUI Prosecutions. Deputy Manager Sprecher said this is a contract with Michael McMahon in the amount of $40,000, as well as an annual extension to Linda Pieczynski for prosecutorial services.
Geotechnical Services for Parking Deck. The Manager said this is a request for a contract to Versar in the amount of $22,925 for geotechnical services for the proposed parking deck.
Traffic Signal Maintenance. The Manager said this contract is recommended to Pinner Electric for $15,648 for the first year, and $16,682.
Pavement Milling Machine. The Manager said an award is recommended to Finkbinder Equipment for a total of $184,700 for a pavement milling machine for use by the Public Works Department.
EtherNetix . The Manager said this is a contract with EtherNetix Internet Service Provider in the amount of $36,816.
The Manager said these bids will be on next week’s Consent Agenda.
Commissioner Schnell asked whether there are costs associated with training staff to use the Pavement Milling machine.
Jack Bajor , Director of Public Works, said there are two days of training, as well as additional training for maintenance.
Rick Ebel , Pavement Division Manager, said they will train more than two members.
Commissioner Tully questioned the bid for the DUI prosecutions, and asked what the total cost was last year for those prosecutions.
Attorney Dan Blondin said they were done by the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s office last year. Commissioner Tully said that the rate sounds extremely reasonable. Attorney Blondin said it is actually $33,000 for the last ten months of the year. He said they are concerned about going on an hourly rate for this, but will follow it carefully. He is satisfied that Mr. McMahon has the manpower to cover the prosecutions. In addition, he anticipates incorporating the Assistant Village Attorney in court calls as necessary, and he intends to get that person trained on the D.U.I. system.
Commissioner Tully then addressed the milling machine bid, stating it was expensive equipment and asked what the annual savings are anticipated to be. Mr. Bajor said that it will take 4.3 years for pay-back of life cycle costs. Mr. Ebel said that the life expectancy of the equipment is 15 years minimum.
Commissioner Gilbert questioned staff about the new Internet service provider, and whether this was the only option.
Dr. Liangfu Wu , Director, Information Services, said they could keep searching, although the price they gave was acceptable. Most companies will not match the present costs.
Commissioner Gilbert said he wondered whether matching the price should be the first priority. He appreciates staff’s efforts in trying to keep the costs down, but there have been two companies that basically filed bankruptcy, and maybe they should be searching further for a more substantial company. Dr. Wu said he knows the company based on previous experience. Commissioner Gilbert said he concerned about the company putting them in the same position again because they are trying to be the low bidder. Dr. Wu said this company provides Internet access to Sears Tower and many larger companies. Commissioner Gilbert said he wants to make sure this has been researched.
Commissioner Sisul asked whether the e-mail addresses will be changing, and Dr. Wu said they would. He said they will begin the process tomorrow, although the xnet e-mail will remain. The Village domain will continue to be vil.downers-grove.il.us.
The Mayor asked Attorney Blondin about the contract for Linda Pieczynski and whether it would be pro-rated. Attorney Blondin said it will be pro-rated for ten months.
YMCA Farmers’ Market Agreement. The Manager said the Farmers Market has been held in Lot B parking lot next to the train station for several years. The Market will begin July 7 this year and run every Saturday through October 13. There were some minor changes regarding the indemnification agreement with the YMCA , and they will be part of the final agreement for approval by the Council.
Federal Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996. The Manager said this is from the Human Resources Department requesting to opt-out of compliance with the Act pertaining to pre-existing conditions. They have done this since 1996.
FMLA Leave Amended. The Manager said this is amendment is a housekeeping project requiring that prior to utilizing the family leave act, all accrued vacation and compensatory time will be used by the employee. He said both items 4 and 5 are to be placed on an Active Agenda.
Commissioner Zabloudil asked about working on the FMLA item and whether sick time would also be considered, and Manager Sprecher said that was the intent. Commissioner Zabloudil asked whether there is a short term disability coverage, and the Manager said there is not. There is long-term disability. Marty Lyons added that employees are required to expend their leave before long-term disability begins. Commissioner Zabloudil asked for further clarification on the use of sick leave with regard to the long-term disability. Manager Sprecher said he did not have the answer and would get a response for the Commissioner as soon as possible.
2001 Sidewalk Improvements, Project #02-01. The Manager said this is a recommendation for the 2001 sidewalk improvements. Staff correspondence indicates that there have been public discussions for installation of the sidewalks this year. He asked Jack Bajor to discuss this item.
Mr. Bajor said this program has been the subject of much discussion. He outlined the proposed streets and alternates, and said there has been some discussion at the Public Works Committee. He noted that Dave Conley was also present to cover any questions that may relate to historical information on the program.
The Mayor asked about Traube Road, between Cumnor and Roslyn, and whether that was the area they did not get to before the snow fell. Mr. Bajor said it was a different section.
Commissioner Schnell said there was a lengthy question at the Committee meeting focusing around Area 1, which is 40th Street between Earlston and Fairview, and Glendenning between 39th and Ogden. The discussion centered on the wetland banking program at 40th and Glendenning, which is now in the engineering stages. She said they received engineering reports that raised more questions than answers, as there were talks of paths to go through the wetlands which are not shown on the engineering drawings. Commissioner Schnell said in discussion with staff, Commissioner Tully and herself, the Committee is recommending that these two stretches of sidewalk be deferred until they can obtain more information about the wetland banking project and incorporate more of the walking amenities that had been discussed. They would then ask the sidewalk placement to occur the construction year following the wetland banking program. She said there would again be an opportunity for the Council in a public hearing to review the plan at that time. Therefore, they proposed postponing Area 1 until the County’s plans are finalized. This would free up funds for some of the alternate projects beginning with Hitchcock, which was promised last year. They would not have to borrow MFT funds, because there would still be money within the sidewalk fund.
Commissioner Tully said the problem is that there is an uncertainty regarding the County’s wetlands project for this area. It doesn’t make sense to pour concrete when the plans are uncertain. He said that the sidewalks can go in at the same time as the project, but that would be depending upon the scheduling of the construction season.
The Mayor questioned the cost of Area 1. Mr. Bajor said he did not have a breakdown. Commissioner Schnell said they were told it would be sufficient to do Hitchcock, and possibly one other. She said that apparently public contact has been made already.
Commissioner McConnell said she drove down the streets today based upon a phone call from a resident. She is pleased that the Committee has already addressed some of the questions raised.
Commissioner Gilbert said he appreciated the Committee’s work. He said he has had some dealings in the past with the Department of Environmental Concerns at the County, and he was able to speak to them. The original plan for the wetlands runs to Elm Street. Between Earlston and Elm there was no continuous above-the-ground movement. He said anything at that location would be under the road and out of the right-of-way. He said there is not now, nor was there before, any plan that would impinge any sidewalk construction on Earlston. However, 40th Street is somewhat uncertain. Commissioner Gilbert said he also spoke to the Park District, and another hold up is some negotiations going on regarding the land swamp. Based on the fact that there is no construction planned regarding Earlston, he doesn’t understand why they would want to wait. He would recommend pulling 40th Street. He said there is no conflict between Earlston and the wetlands and he would like to see Earlston done, and not deferred. It has been established as a high priority. Commissioner Schnell asked if he would agree to defer Glendenning and he said he would. Commissioner Schnell noted that Earlston is not on this year’s proposal.
Commissioner Sisul asked whether preliminary work has been done on Earlston. Mr. Bajor said that they have all the topographical and site determinations, but not the design engineering. They should have design engineering for alternatives.
Commissioner Schnell said it was her understanding from the Committee that met today that public meetings were held to inform the public that sidewalks would be constructed in their areas.
Commissioner Gilbert asked why the Council is deferring Earlston. Commissioner Tully clarified that what was discussed in the Public Works Committee was only Area 1 which is Glendenning and 40th Street. He said that Earlston between 39th and Ogden appears on the matrix as having been deferred by the Council in the past.
The Mayor said the Committee should look at Earlston and alternates to determine which ones should be done.
Commissioner Sisul suggested to Mr. Bajor that the Committee will need to know how much time is needed and whether it is possible to do this this year. Mr. Bajor said it takes about ten weeks and the time line is getting close for the construction season and the award.
Commissioner Schnell said there was a lot of debate last year as to why Earlston was deferred, and she suggested getting copies of the minutes of those meetings.
Commissioner Schnell said that the timetable in the bidding was such that the public hearings have not been held on Earlston. She asked whether they want to do that for next week. Commissioner Gilbert said he would like to see that done. He said that last year Earlston was deferred for two reasons, one being public sentiment, and the second was the wetlands project. He said they have to stick one way or another to their plan regarding sidewalks. They cannot let public sentiment determine the order. He said that Earlston is high enough on the matrix for safety concerns that it will eventually go forward, if not this year, than definitely next year. He said he would go forward with the ones that are already scheduled.
Mr. Bajor said rather than setting a public meeting, he would have staff get the research together, gather the minutes and discuss it at the Committee level. Commissioner Schnell said she assumed with the discussion at this Workshop, people will be present at the Committee meeting.
Commissioner Zabloudil asked if, in deferring Area 1, it be the objective of the Public Works Committee to spearhead work toward some resolution with the County and Park District. The Mayor said he assumed they would do that. Mr. Lyons said if staff could get together the Earlston data together with other alternates so they can go out for bid and list the projects as alternates. The bidders then can bid on the definite locations, as well as the alternates.
Richard Jacoby , 4915 Pershing, commended the Public Works Committee for its work in the public meetings and for personally visiting with the residents. However, he still has a problem. He has done a great deal of work to beautify their yard at some expense. He said this is a last effort to try and get the sidewalk moved to the other side of the street on Pershing. People have complimented them, and his wife has worked very hard to beautify their property. The reason given for choosing his side of the street was that there were less trees on that side. Mr. Jacoby said the beauty of the community should also be considered. He asked that they move the sidewalk from the east side to the west side. He said his house is five houses north of the corner.
The Mayor asked staff to provide a brief synopsis of each area and how they picked which side of the street the sidewalk would be installed.
Carl Bertram , 530 40th Street, asked if the sidewalk by the wetlands is going to be deferred, or all of 40th Street. Commissioner Schnell said all of it would be deferred. Mr. Bertram said he supported sidewalk on 40th Street, as he has a small child learning to ride a bike. It is dangerous for younger children. He would like those areas not affected by the wetlands completed.
Commissioner Gilbert said that traffic should drop off dramatically based upon the wetlands plan. He said they need to wait and see if or where 40th Street will end. In one of the plans, 40th was shown as shut down in the area of the wetlands. That’s why they are recommending holding off on the area in question.
Commissioner Sisul said that the report from the County is that no one is championing this, and although it is going forward, it is at a very slow place. No one is talking any initiative on it. He said it would be a good thing for the Committee to take this on with the County and with the Park District.
Commissioner Schnell said she has the residents to thank for alerting her to the Park District plans as no one gave them to our staff. She was able to get the newest plans because of that. She said it’s been an interesting day and the staff has taken on a strong initiative.
Sheri Krzak, 3935 Glendenning, and Shirley Pasquale, 3946 Glendenning . Ms. Kruzak said they are confused. At a meeting last month Mr. Grecco gave them the impression that the sidewalks were going in. She said she has only been there two years, but has been told it has flooded for 20-30 years. She doesn’t understand what the delays are and why this is being deferred. She said Dan Grecco told them that it has been changed to a floodplain, not wetland. Commissioner Gilbert said it was a wetland, and Commissioner Schnell said there is flood plain in there as well. Ms. Krzak said Mr. Grecco said this would go through as this was changed to a floodplain. They live on a street near the used car lot, and the cars are zooming past. Ms. Pasquale said there are large trailer trucks moving cars on Glendenning. They walk their children to school, and it is a deadly area. She noted that there are six new homes that have been paid into the sidewalk construction fund. She asked that they look into this. She asked how this could just disappear.
Commissioner Schnell said she and Commissioners Sisul and Gilbert have been asking about this. They were told is was half funded, then fully funded, and many stories over the last eight years. She said today they finally saw concrete plans. They are not originally what was promised, but now that there are plans there is something they can work with.
Ms. Pasquale said she thought this was going to be a Glendenning/40th meeting. Suddenly it is an Earlston/40th meeting with Earlston deferred. They didn’t want to ruin their rural community and didn’t want the aesthetics ruined. She doesn’t care about what it looks like, but there needs to be safety in the area. The Mayor said they are discussing a number of areas. Ms. Krzak said they are saying don’t defer it because of the wetlands, as the wetlands issue has been going on for thirty years. They need the sidewalks for the safety of their children.
Commissioner Gilbert said that are has been flooding for about 40 years. Ms. Pasquale said it only floods a few days out of the year. Sidewalks will be used 365 days a year. If Downers Grove wants sidewalks for all of its streets, she doesn’t see any point in deferring it any longer. Commissioner Gilbert said he agrees with her on the safety issue as well. He said it would not be prudent on the Village’s part to move ahead until they are sure of the 40th and Glendenning issue. There are right-of-way issues pending which also must be taken into consideration.
The Mayor said that when staff bids this out, they should list this as an alternate. He would like to see the plans for that area.
Commissioner Schnell said that the plans are there now, and the intent is to bid out on this in the fall. There’s a long history to this being funded. She said that the intent of the Committee is to put the sidewalks in when the work is done. There will be a public hearing before the Council before the bid is let.
Commissioner Sisul said he is concerned about the structure. The Park District was instructed to come back to the Council with their plan. This is an important street on which to put the sidewalks.
Ms. Krzak asked if they can be put back on the list this fall if the plans do not come in a timely manner. Commissioner Tully said they will put it on as an alternate. The concern is not necessarily the flooding, but that the construction would be detrimental to putting sidewalks in at this time. It would be a waste of time and money if their work would affect the sidewalk construction.
Joseph Nasvik , 3934 Earlston, said he had some concerns to address about the street, but said if there is a Committee meeting he would address it there. The Mayor said it would be best brought up at the Committee meeting. Commissioner Schnell informed him that the Committee meeting is at 5:30 p.m. next Tuesday.
Christine Fregeau , 1918 Elmore Avenue, said she was an enthusiastic supporter of sidewalks in the community. She shares concern with those who saw their street on the list, only to then have it deferred. Ms. Fregeau said she hopes the focus remains on this community issue and the function that sidewalks provide on a community-wide basis. She said she supports sidewalks as a community issue rather than a street issue. She stressed that they connected neighbors and neighborhoods and linked us safely and apart from vehicular traffic to our parks, schools and business district being revitalized.
She supported Commissioner Gilbert’s comments to recognize and support the validity and objectivity of the matrix. She said she knew that redevelopment and potential grant funding and other issues like that may put some sidewalk installations on hold but the subjectivity of public sentiment, petitions and emotion should not. Minutes she reviewed also reflected that the County work would not affect the sidewalk right of way.
Ms. Fregeau asked that the Village look ahead to recognize and address issues of stormwater and drainage problems that exist now that will impact installations in the future and address them in advance, not further delay sidewalks.
Ms. Fregeau said she attended the Public Works Committee meeting earlier this evening and reviewed past minutes from October/November 1999 and April 2000 regarding Earlston and the 40th/Glendenning area and was present at two Earlston meetings. Sidewalks were addressed specifically and if in fact any issues overlapped, restoration costs could be addressed appropriately.
Ms. Fregeau indicated that Earlston was ranked 5th and the 40th & Glendenning area ranked* * 10th out of 168 streets with appropriately high priority ratings that should not be further deferred or delayed. The issues that raised these streets up so high on the matrix to deserve the highest priority rankings they deserve have not gone away. They need to be addresses and while it’s a challenge to get the County, Park District and Village all on the same page, it is necessary.
Bruce Weeks , 4909 Pershing, said he is a neighbor of Mr. Jacoby and agrees with him in their request to not place the sidewalks on their side of the street. He is not an advocate of the sidewalks being moved to the other side of street.
Laurel Bowen , 829 Clyde Drive, said she is very concerned that the Council be aware of public sentiment and consider the petitions of residents. She considers stormwater to be an issue. Ms. Bowen asked that the Council also consider the materials used. She asked that they look at the Lyman Road sidewalks recently installed. She said it looked like they rolled toilet paper down the side of the road. They did nothing except put concrete on top of the dirt. Ms. Bowen said it has been her experience at many of the Commission meetings that those in attendance are ill informed. By that she means that the residents attend and speak out and the Commission members vote after little or no discussion and do not even consider the statements made by the people. It frequently appears as though their decisions are pre-determined and the public meeting is merely held because it is required by law. This has occurred at the Plan Commission, Zoning Commission and Village Council meetings. She suggested that the Village post a list at each Commission meeting on a board in the front of the room informing those in attendance exactly what the factors are that the Commission will consider and base their decisions upon. This will enable the public to speak directly and succinctly thereby avoiding irrelevant discussion. She believes that as a public body whose essential purpose it is to represent the residents, it is intrinsic to their fundamental purpose to provide the residents with this basic information. She thanked them all for remembering that the Council and the Commissions are to represent the residents. She applauds the recent decision by the Zoning Commission to discourage approval of the decreased setback along Ogden Avenue.
Commissioner Sisul said the type of information she suggested is under consideration at this time as a guide for the public. He didn’t know if she was the one who recommended this is an e-mail, but he commended whoever made that suggestion.
Parking & Traffic Recommendations:
Change the Yield Sign at Blackburn & Claremont. The Manager said this recommendation is to change the yield sign at Blackburn and Claremont to a Stop sign.
Parking West Side Brookbank North of 63rd Street. The Manager said this is a clarification of existing prohibitions against parking which conflict with the schedule of the Park District.
Chapter 14 Ordinance Revisions. The Manager said these are substantially housekeeping and editorial changes that need to be corrected in the Ordinance.
The Mayor asked Bob Schiller about placing times on the parking signs. He noted the different time period around the North and South High Schools. He asked whether they can all be made uniform, in terms of the time periods. Mr. Schiller said the parking restrictions for the high schools were set in 1988 when the campuses were open. Since then the campuses have been closed, and in 1998 they discussed the possibility of reducing the restrictions in all the areas around the high schools. The residents appeared at the P & T meetings and they said they liked the restrictions as they were. The Commission determined that any new restrictions placed to limit high school parking would be between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., allowing the police enough time to enforce restrictions, yet allow the residents enough parking time as well.
The Mayor asked the Commission’s thought about areas such as Kensington Place with varying restrictions periods. He asked if they are looking to change that street by street. Mr. Schiller said the Commission is open for any block segment to come in and request lifting or reducing the restrictions. The residents that did appear stated they wanted the restrictions to remain as they were. The Mayor said he has had requests for reductions and will refer those people to the P & T Commission.
ZBA Recommendations: Manager Sprecher said the next two items would be summarized by Ken Rathje. Mr. Rathje said he knew the Council had received voluminous minutes from both the ZBA and the Plan Commission, so he would make the presentations brief.
File MC-8-01 Rezone 7504 Queens Court to R-3 upon annexation. Mr. Rathje said this is a request for preannexation zoning for a parcel of property which is 30,493 square feet in size. The property east, south and west is in the Village with R-3 zoning. The property to the north is Darien B-2 with a park. He said they have a copy of a Resolution from Darien stating they would not object to annexation by the Village, as the property does appear on the Darien side of the boundary agreement line with the Village. The ZBA forwarded a unanimous recommendation for rezoning of the property, upon annexation.
File MC-7-01 Rezone Boundary Road at Lee Avenue to R-3 upon annexation. Mr. Rathje said this is also a preannexation zoning petition for a parcel approximately 3 acres in size, including right-of-way. The request is presently zoned County R-4, and the property is surrounded on three sides by County R-4, and Village R-1 on the fourth side. He noted that the Board has provided a unanimous recommendation for rezoning, upon annexation.
Plan Commission Recommendations:
File 1058 – Dunham Point Subdivision (Dunham at 68th St.). Mr. Rathje said this is a request for a three-lot subdivision. The property is slightly below one acre, and the plan is to divide the property into 3 lots of 83.33’ wide and 156-157’ deep. The only public improvements would be sidewalks. The petitioner would dedicate 17’ of right-of-way to Dunham Road. He noted that Mr. Jungwirth commented that in lieu of a letter of credit, due to the limited nature of the public improvements, that the developer provide bonds as part of their building permit. Mr. Rathje said the petitioner has paid all the school and park donations and engineering fees. He noted that Mr. Anderson, the petitioner, asked for expedited approval of the petition. Manager Sprecher said he discussed that with Mr. Blondin but did not pass the letter on as yet. Mr. Blondin said he would report this item out.
File 1059 – Boundary Hill Subdivision (Boundary Road at Lee). Mr. Rathje said Ponstein Builders is requesting tentative plat approval for a 7-lot single family subdivision located to the southeast of Boundary at Lee. Five of the lots require lot depth variations ranging from 11’ to 46’. They are typically cul-de-sac lots. All lots are over 10,500 square feet and exceed the lot width of 75’. The petitioner has also requested relief from improvements on Boundary Road. The Plan Commission made a unanimous recommendation in favor of the proposed plat approval as well as the requests for the lot depth variation and relief from public improvements.
File 1060 – Schwemm Subdivision (Turvey Road Court). Mr. Rathje said this concerns final plat approval for a two-lot subdivision comprised of 1.88 acres. There are two lots in the subdivision, with a lot width variation for a portion of Lot 1. He said the petitioner has requested relief from public improvements in order to maintain consistency with the road design for Denburn Woods. Mr. Rathje said the petitioner will have to make payments for sidewalks, as well as certain school/park fees, and engineering fees. There is provision for an easement as well. The Plan Commission has forwarded a unanimous positive recommendation for approval.
Parking Deck Presentation by Desman & Associates. The Manager said this presentation for the parking deck is one in a series of public discussions regarding the development of the deck and the final construction. He asked Brian Pabst to begin the presentation following a brief recess called by the Mayor.
Brian Pabst , Director of Redevelopment, said staff will continue to meet with public groups including the Downtown Management Board and Chamber of Commerce on the parking deck plans. He provided a history of the parking deck project over the years. He reviewed numerous studies conducted over the past forty years regarding the parking conditions in the Village’s downtown district. Of the more recent studies, Mr. Pabst said that in 1997 the consultant recommended acquiring private land east of the Grove Premium building to address the public parking shortage. It was recommended that the Village could purchase a vast area comprised of twelve property owners to provide for surface parking of 300-400 parking spaces. That recommendation would have required that the Village acquire a much greater amount of private land than is currently required for the parking deck. If the Village had chosen this option many more parcels would have had to have been acquired or condemned and taken off the tax roles. In a report addressed to the former Mayor and Council in 1998, former Manager Kurt Bressner provided one solution in addressing the parking shortage—acquiring numerous private parcels located to the rear of the Coldwell-Banker building. Mr. Bressner stated that 449 spaces could be produced through the acquisition of the private property at this location for construction of a parking deck. Mr. Pabst said in 1993, 1998 and 2000 the Village retained Desman to study the issue. In all studies made about the downtown, the issue of downtown vibrancy was mentioned. Mr. Pabst said that in 1998 it was revealed that there was about a 400-500 parking space shortage, at minimum, and the recommendation at that time was to construct a three or four-story parking deck in the Curtiss lot, and then to build a two or three- story deck on the east side of the Grove Premium building or the south side of the building occupied by Coldwell-Banker. The study recommended completing more studies after building the first deck. The deck was unanimously approved in 1998. Mr. Pabst said that staff and other development experts strongly feel that construction of this facility is a common sense approach that addresses the basic fundamentals of a healthy downtown. By building the deck the Village does not need to acquire an excessive amount of private property to accomplish the same goal with surface parking. Regarding the necessary land needed to construct the deck, staff has held several meetings and conducted several interviews to communicate the Village’s intentions with the landowners affected. Mr. Pabst said these discussions are ongoing, although the majority of landowners are in agreement with the efforts of the Village. He then introduced Steve Rebora to make the presentation.
Steve Rebora , Desman Associates, began his presentation by commending the Village staff for their work through all of these studies. He said they were very helpful in the focus on the project. They conducted an exhaustive parking demand study for the garage that supplemented earlier studies. The conclusion was that there is a parking deficit of 800 spaces in the downtown area; therefore, they recommended a parking structure for the downtown area. The deck spaces would help the management of the parking for the entire downtown area, and would serve as a catalyst and infrastructure to promote future downtown development as well.
Mr. Rebora showed slides of their schematic design for the deck to be located mid-block Curtiss on the north, Maple on the south, Main Street to the west, and Washington Street to the east. The deck is about 180’wide x 207’ long containing 750 spaces on five parking levels. He said that a parking garage is an auxiliary use to something else. By positioning it center-block it allows the frontages along the primary streets to remain intact. The building would be accessed primarily off Curtiss and Washington Streets. He noted that they need to be able to give alternate choices to people to access the deck. He said the garage will serve Main Street as well as commuters. From a pedestrian standpoint, they are maintaining the path near Grove Premium.
Mr. Rebora then showed the ground level floor plan being proposed that has a pedestrian walkway and elevator tower, providing a functional flow out of the garage. The proposed height of the deck is 46’. He said they visited various garages and found that high headroom makes the garage user friendly, as well as safe and secure. In addition, the lower level could be used for special events, with the ceiling height on the ground level raised for that purpose. He showed a garage they designed in Rockford, Illinois as an example of multiple use for the lower level.
Mr. Rebora then showed the view from Curtiss Street depicting a brick façade for the deck similar in color to the brick of the train station. They proposed a more traditional, classical design. It will be located 200’ off of Curtiss Street. He noted that from Main and Curtiss, little of the building can be seen due to the setback and 46’ height. Mr. Rebora said there are other options for facades as well. The drive going back to the garage creates more usable, developable space. Mr. Rebora showed the proposed deck from various perspectives. Regarding costs, Mr. Rebora said the base cost is $10.7 million for a deck clad on all four sides in brick and is cast-in-place concrete structure. He stated that the brick is the costly feature. One of the options is to clad three sides with brick, and leave the fourth side with exposed concrete at the south elevation. That would result in cost savings of approximately $257,000 off the base cost. Mr. Rebora said another option would be to clad only the key elements in brick at a saving of $615,000. Using no brick would result in savings of about $681,000. He said the last two options are not as attractive but could be done effectively.
Mr. Rebora then addressed the factors affecting their choice for the structural system. He explained that the choice is pre-cast versus cast-in-place concrete. He said that his firm has used both systems successfully. He said this is an important issue for initial dollars and aesthetics. He noted that pre-case concrete is cast in a plant off-site in a controlled environment and brought piece by piece to the site. The cast-in-place is constructed in the field through building forms and pouring the concrete into the forms. Mr. Rebora said they submitted an in-depth structural frame analysis to the Village. The initial cost to design the garage out of cast-in-place is approximately $800,000 higher than the pre-cast design option. If they chose the pre-cast concrete it would be an additional savings on the base cost of $10.7 million. There are disadvantages to pre-cast to consider. He said that with pre-cast there is a caulk joint every 10’ which fail over time and need to be replaced and maintained. He said in up-front additional dollars there was a differential of $125,000 in real dollars spent to cover the maintenance cost over the 40-year life span. He said if there is not an aggressive maintenance program it will be a problem. Mr. Rebora said there is a time advantage of about two or three months with pre-cast than cast-in-place. He said the flexibility to meet special framing conditions, such as an odd-shape or special ramping, is easier with cast-in-place. Fortunately, there is a decent footprint for the proposed site. He said the availability of the labor force is equal for both systems.
Concerning the appearance of the exterior, Mr. Rebora said that the pre-cast system seems better in terms of flexibility with finishes and textures. With respect to the appearance of the interior, the beams are set 5’-6’ apart from each other using pre-cast system. The pre-cast system begins to create a false ceiling that creates a confined, claustrophobic atmosphere, and effects the lighting as well. The cast-in-place beams are set 25’ apart creating a more open feeling. He said that the cast-in-place is more durable than the pre-cast, with less maintenance, less joints and less cracking. Mr. Rebora said that they have submitted a schematic design package to the Council, and they are looking for some direction as to the facade and structure system.
The Mayor thanked him for his presentation and asked for questions from the Council.
Commissioner Tully noticed the special events space and he thinks they do not want to preclude this. In the current proposal, there is a 9’ ceiling height for the first floor, and he asked whether that was sufficient for special events space.
Mr. Rebora responded that they believe it to be sufficient. The Rockford deck has a 9’6” ceiling space. He said it is important to know that for a 9’ ceiling space, there is a 13’ height floor-to-floor. There are some limitations on the site in terms of the slope of the ramps. He feels that 9’6” would be sufficient.
Commissioner Tully said he appreciated the breakdown of costs, starting with the all-brick, which looks much richer and is more aesthetically pleasing. He then reviewed the other options Mr. Rebora presented, noting that in the report was reference to a spandrel. He asked what that was. Mr. Rebora said a spandrel is the exterior of the building that you would look over, or the horizontal pieces on the side of the building.
Commissioner Tully then discussed creating spandrels of different materials with brick implanted into it to create a brick look. Mr. Rebora said they are proposing a thin brick, which is a standard brick manufactured directly into the pre-cast panel. It is less expensive than physically laying brick in the field, and is more durable and creates less maintenance issues. They can also cast concrete to look like brick, but that is difficult to achieve. Commissioner Tully asked if the concrete in the spandrels can be colored. Mr. Rebora said they could but it is difficult to get a uniform appearance. In those cases they often recommend concrete stain.
Commissioner Tully said he was curious if there were any significant savings from the option of brick on the elevator and stair towers, with pre-cast colored spandrels throughout the rest of the structure. Mr. Rebora said it would probably be a substantial savings. They would recommend the concrete stain that would be far less costly than the brick. Commissioner Tully said he understood it would never look as good as all brick, but it may be a satisfactory savings.
The Mayor said he would like to see examples of other garages in the area that might have that combination for the Council to see. Mr. Rebora said there were. He noted that there are many good examples available and other options than using the stains. Commissioner Tully said he would like them to consider a variety of options.
Commissioner Tully than asked about the lighting with respect to the baffles. On the top two stories of the deck there may be a situation where when looking up at the deck you will see the lighting on the upper stories of the deck beaming downward. Mr. Rebora said there are two different conditions. For the roof deck they use pole mounted lights at a level of 10’-12’ height which could not be seen. For the deck itself the photometrics of all lights can be controlled and bought in a manner to eliminate light spillage. There are fixtures that are sold with baffles which is a piece that comes over the fixture to keep light from spilling out over the fixture. In addition they could move the light fixtures further inward, or closer to the spandrel. He said these concerns were brought up to them by staff.
Commissioner Tully said he was glad to see the proposal with the elevator and stair towers open with a lot of glass which is critical for aesthetic purposes as well as safety and security purposes. He also said that the pictures do not do justice to understanding a cast-in-place deck versus a pre-cast deck. He said he looked at parking decks for a good amount of time. He said that in addition to the long-term cost and maintenance issues, the cast-in-place decks are more open, well lit with good visibility, and safety and security also come into play. With the pre-cast deck he observed a closed, almost claustrophobic feeling. The light does not travel well and provides a completely different view. For those reasons he would support cast-in-place as it is also a better investment long-term.
The Mayor asked Commissioner Tully’s opinion as to the brick coverage on the deck. Commissioner Tully said in his opinion, they could look at all brick, or just brick around the tower in the front. He would like to see how the spandrels could look using the different techniques mentioned by Mr. Rebora. Commissioner McConnell said a number of these spaces would be used as commuter spaces. It will be approximately a distance of 1-1/2 blocks to the train station and asked if people will walk that distance. Mr. Rebora said he believed that would be the case, and people will walk 1-1/2 blocks to a train station. Commissioner McConnell asked whether all of the parking spaces would be the same size. Mr. Rebora said they would be the same. They suggest 8’6” spacing for 750 spaces, or 9’ spacing for 690 spaces. The standard size is 8’6”. He said the 9’ space adds about 5% square footage to the garage, which is either 5% less cars or 5% more money.
Commissioner McConnell asked if they recommend 90 degree angles and Mr. Rebora said they did because they are considered to be the most efficient and more convenient to the driver.
Commissioner McConnell then asked about security and safety. She said they referred to 4’ or 6’ spandrels and asked which would be recommended and why. Mr. Rebora said there are two different types of security in a parking lot . Passive security includes items such as high ceilings, clear site lines, more natural lighting, glass backed stair towers and elevators. Regarding 4’ or 6’ spandrels, that has to do with how much natural light is going to be introduced into the garage. In this instance they are recommended a pre-cast 6’ high spandrel because it gives a more complete and finished look and still maintains a substantial amount of light. Active security includes cameras, intercom systems, emergency phones, etc., and they have submitted a report to the Village on that.
The Mayor asked if they have looked at other towns to determine whether they have had security issues. He said staff could look at the type of problems and how they were addressed.
Commissioner McConnell then asked about the references to security screens or rolling grilles and whether they are recommended. Mr. Rebora said the security screens are being proposed at the grade level between the ground and second floor. It forces people to come and go through the main vehicular entrance. It is not a great deterrent but does help. A rolling grille would be a question of the operation of the garage. If they determined to close an entrance at night and use only one entrance, they might suggest the rolling grille.
Commissioner McConnell said she preferred the cast-in-place option with brick, or coordination of the concrete and brick. Mr. Rebora said that although a parking garage is not the primary point of destination, it is the very first image people may have of the Village. The cast-in-place provides better appearance and less maintenance.
Commissioner Schnell asked about security and what other communities use in decks of this size, and what is cost effective and works best. Mr. Rebora said that is a reasonable request and he will provide that information.
Commissioner Schnell asked when they will see a traffic study of the impact of this on Curtiss and on Washington Street. Mr. Rebora said they have a traffic engineer on board and they will do the traffic impact study after determining the size and shape of the garage. They have already done preliminary work in the community. The first step is the schematic design, which will occur now through early July. Design Development phase would take place through September. Construction documents would be submitted through the end of November or early December. After going out to bid and awarding the contract, he indicated they could be in ground by February 1 with a 12-14 month construction phase. They anticipate an opening date of April 1, 2003. He said there are components to the deck that cannot be done during the winter months, and that could effect the anticipated opening date.
Commissioner Schnell then referred to page 25 of the feasibility analysis. She can account for about 446 parking spaces that would be displaced. She asked how they get from 446 to 800 cars.
Greg Schumate , Desman Associates, responded to Commissioner Schnell. He stated that took into consideration the loss of spaces at the proposed project site, which was about 203 lost spaces. Additionally the Station Crossing site would have about 65-70 displaced spaces. He noted that there is a 2.9 acre on the block bounded by Burlington, Curtiss, Main and Washington for which redevelopment options are being explored. If development takes place on that site, they would lose portions of lots amounting to 147 spaces. That amounts to a potential net loss of 400 spaces. Mr. Schumate said they also considered the unsatisfied demand for between 200-300 spaces. He said they reviewed the research done by METRA as well, and said that this region is underserved by commuter parking. METRA would like to see the development of more commuter parking. He then stated that the redevelopment has a build-out potential on Block 19 of 2.9 acres, which could accommodate a development three times the site of Station Crossing, and that would increase the demand for an additional 300 spaces. They have taken into consideration the hypothetical nature of redevelopment.
Commissioner Schnell reviewed his statement that after the 446 displaced spaces, the need for the 800 spaces is driven by the need of shoppers, residents, commuters, as well as employees. Mr. Schumate said that was correct.
Commissioner Schnell asked whether there was a possibility of building a three-story building that could expand to a four-story building in the future. Mr. Rebora said that could work. They have approximately 160 cars per level. He said the foundation and structural costs represent 1% of the construction costs. If they chose that direction, they would need to shut down the garage while they are expanding vertically. He would recommend against expansion.
The Mayor said that the 757 cars would be with 8’6” spaces, and 650 cars with 9’ spaces. He asked if they took out one floor of 8’6” spaces how many spaces would be lost, and Mr. Rebora said it would be 160 spaces. The Mayor asked about the spaces lost from Lot L for the Library expansion. Mr. Pabst responded they displaced about 80-85 commuters at that lot. Mr. Shumate said that change occurred after the data was collected.
The Mayor said this weekend is the quarterly sales for parking spaces and asked how many people come.
Marty Lyons , Director, Financial Services, said the first person last quarter was a non-resident who came before midnight to hold their place in line. He then explained how the sale of commuter spaces works. Usually they have between 60-100 people wanting to buy spaces. There are only 15-20 spaces available at Main Street. He said they do allow people from the Belmont or Fairview site to transfer to Main by paying a fee.
Mr. Pabst said there is a two-year wait for parking spaces in Lisle, and a 2-4 year wait in Naperville. He said the commuters will walk 1-1/2 blocks. Commuters come from all over the area. He said many Downers Grove residents are not currently served with a permit. Mr. Lyons said they are now looking at a differential between the residential and non-residential rates.
Commissioner Schnell then asked Mr. Rebora about funding for the deck. Mr. Rebora said the Finance Committee is reviewing that process now. Mr. Lyons said they hope to have some models within a week or two for the Council to review. There are TIF funds, parking funds, grants and capitol project funds.
Commissioner Schnell said it needs to be aesthetically pleasing, safe, light and user friendly. For those reasons she would prefer the cast-in-place. Security and appearance are very important.
Commissioner Zabloudil said that they did a very nice job of presentation. He asked what type of lighting they have put in other facilities. Mr. Rebora said there are two different types of lighting. They have used the high-pressure sodium lighting which has a yellow or orange glow. Their advantage is they give off more lumens, burn for longer hours and are less expensive than metal halite fixtures. The metal halite fixtures are state-of-the-art and they put them in about 80% of the facilities they build. They give off a true white light; however, they do not give off as many lumens and are more expensive. Commissioner Zabloudil asked whether lighting has been mixed. Mr. Rebora said they use white lights in stairways in facilities with high pressure sodium. Commissioner Tully said in his experience touring the various parking decks, the cost difference is nominal in the long run. He recommends the metal halite as it is true lighting. The high pressure sodium give a glow that makes you feel like you’re on a Hollywood set with an eerie glow.
Mr. Rebora said there are also numerous choices involved in the housing of the lights.
Commissioner Zabloudil asked about comments from clients within 1-3 years of their facility being built. Mr. Rebora said they have designed both types of structures successfully. He said that 1/3 of the business is to restore parking structures, and those that they restore are those with joints that have not been maintained, or connections that are not galvanized. That includes considerable pre-cast construction.
Commissioner Zabloudil said that other costs to consider are the unknown costs such as damage to and from vehicles. He recommends the cast-in-place based on having seen both types of structures, and for the aesthetics, sense of openness and better lighting. Regarding the exterior, he said they will continue to develop more of the open space in and around the deck. Patterns identified as walking patterns now will change with future development. He said it is important to make sure it fits in with the community, as people may see that deck structure more than they think.
Commissioner Gilbert asked the year of the first parking study. Mr. Pabst said it was 1962. Commissioner Gilbert then said he didn’t want them to rush into anything. He then asked about maintenance costs, assuming they were going to go with a brick facade and cast-in-place concrete. Mr. Rebora said they estimate it at about $75/car/year. They think this deck will have a 50-year life span with minimal maintenance. In time costs will go up. Commissioner Gilbert then said he favors the cast-in-place and the brick facade.
Commissioner Sisul said the consensus is to go forward. He supports the recommendation of the other members in terms of going with cast-in-place, with a brick facade, and the suggested lighting. He also went on the bus tour of various parking decks. He said they were able to view the lighting in these decks at night to get an idea of how the lighting changed. He said he would like to ask Mr. LaMotte and Mr. Friedman how they feel it fits into the Master Plan for the downtown.
Steve Friedman of Friedman & Associates said they have been engaged by the Village to work on the redevelopment issues including this area of the downtown. He said they met with Desman regarding the placement and access to consider whether it would pre-empt other development opportunities. They also met with Mr. LaMotte and looked at how this fits into the concept of the Lakota plan of several years ago, as well as the orientation of the access. Generally speaking, mid-block interior decks are preferable for aesthetic reasons. They work well. Regarding the access, he stated that the proposed location preserves the Weiher building and divides the block in the middle to offer more flexibility than any other entrance placement. They are comfortable with the plan as presented.
John LaMotte , principal of the Lakota Group and Master Planner for the Village, said that this deck is needed sooner rather than later. He said this area was identified early on as the Super Lot due to its central location and potential to park many cars. The proposed location is the natural outgrowth of the Village’s Master Plan based on a super lot concept. The good news is it is behind the stores, and not on the street. In addition, it is centered in the block to provide access from vehicles and pedestrians all the way around. The driveway is an opportunity to create a new streetscape. He said the size is good and the scale is good. The facility provides much-needed parking to the community. He also said the number of spaces makes for effective use of the deck immediately considering the current spaces that would be displaced, and the potential redevelopment of the Curtiss lot. Commuters using the deck would be leaving in the evening, allowing for more parking for evening activities in the downtown area.
The Mayor reviewed some of the comments, stating they would want to look at the color concrete possibilities. There was a unanimous choice of the cast-in-place structural system. He said they would like to look at the security and safety issues, as well as comparisons with other community facilities. He said that staff would have these on display at the Library, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Village’s Curtiss office, and asked whether they would be on display at Heritage Festival along with Station Crossing. Mr. Pabst said they would be on display at that time and staff would also be present. He asked that a decision regarding brick, cast-in-place, etc., be made by early July.
The Mayor said that they look forward to Commissioner McConnell’s committee analysis of the TIF funding.
Commissioner Sisul asked whether they have considered putting a copy of those designs at the train station. Mr. Pabst said they could do that and put half at the train station and half at the Library. Commissioner Sisul said there are so many commuters there that it would be good to have the designs there. Mr. Rebora said they will make duplicate boards.
The Mayor called for public comment.
Willis Johnson , 846 Rogers, said he is not anti-commuter, but the cost of this is $14,500 per space. He asked how this would impact the underutilized bus system on which a lot of money has already been spent? He is concerned about the 8’6” spaces. He believes they are tight, even though they are the norm. He asked whether they would be a plan to charge shoppers for parking. He hopes they are free or have some free time. Mr. Johnson asked if there has been any thought to a bridge between the deck and the one apartment building. He assumes that some of their parking is being consumed for this. He noticed that the path between Coldwell-Banker and Grove is pedestrian oriented, yet the curb-cut for a driveway entrance is still there. They need to change the curb cut if it is not a vehicular path. He appreciates the head-in parking and asked that they consider visiting the Elmhurst Schiller deck that has head-in parking, and Oak Park’s Holly Court deck that has angle parking. His personal opinion is that the angle parking is much more user friendly. Concerning security, Mr. Johnson said that Elmhurst has little direct security, while in Holly Court there is an office in the deck manned with a video camera and people watching them, as well as security patrols. He said that over time both of those decks were natural finish and today are painted white for the purpose of adding light and brightness. They also have the metal halite lighting. Regarding the February start, Mr. Johnson asked whether that would cost more money due to the weather. He said that it is a very positive, striking garage concept. He agrees with the cast-in-place and brick facade. They need to prepare for future development as well.
The Mayor said there are no plans to charge shoppers for parking. They will address the busing system in the next few months. Also, there is some flexibility with the commuters, and if there is more of a demand from shoppers, they could increase or decrease the amount of commuter spaces. They will have to consider METRA funds as well in determining the commuter question. If METRA funds are involved, there will be an agreement.
Marilynn Gerloff , 4241 Highland, said yesterday she was in a parking garage in a 90 degree angle parking stall. She thinks that is a wonderful option. However, once she got out of her car, there was no place to walk with no cross-thru ramps for pedestrians. She asked if there is a plan for walkways in the garage. Mr. Rebora responded they have no specific walkways planned at this time. It is designed similar to surface parking with generous aisles.
The Mayor asked about commuters all coming at the same time. Mr. Rebora said there is a center ramp and they would not pass in front of the elevator. They have not considered walkways.
George Swimmer , 4905 Main Street, said he cannot see how this will benefit anyone north of the tracks. He said there would be a tremendous amount of commuter traffic, and traffic in general heading for that garage. There is already too much traffic crossing the tracks now. He said that Mr. Pabst said that some years ago a recommendation was made to have two smaller lots, which he thinks would be the better arrangement. He has been in the downtown for over 20 years and has seen many businesses come and go. Everyone in downtown Downers Grove seems to think commuter parking is wonderful; however, he thinks commuter parking has driven out the shoppers, created greater traffic and congestion, causes more trains to block the tracks, and brings more METRA trains to the area. He said that more trains will be coming to the stations as well. He recommended having a traffic study determining the traffic flow and whether one lot, or two lots are the best solution. In his opinion, traffic and parking go hand in hand and until both problems are solved there will still be a failing downtown area. He recommended they look carefully at the added value commuters bring to downtown shopping. He feels this is misdirected as to its location, although he understands that it is well intended.
Bill Cawthon , 5211 Washington Street says he lives directly across the street from the church parking lot. He thinks the deck should be in brick because it is a very busy corner and will be viewed by everyone at the 4-way stop sign. Since he lives across the street, he knows the light has to be safe for people in the deck. However, if this is going to be all night long, he wonders about his ability to sleep. He would like the lights to be directed or baffled so as not to spill out to the neighborhood. He said he could see businesses along the driveway area, such as a deli. He noted that if the top deck is lit, people in the apartments will see the light. This should be considered. He asked whether the three-hour parking meters were considered in the study, and whether they will be displaced. He likes lighting the elevator shafts and stairwells for safety reasons.
Dave Brown of 1508 Gilbert said that people like this deck buried in the block. He things some people are put off by the size of it. It is ironic that the size is over the deck plan of one year ago which was for 510 spaces, plus the 202 spaces. The Mayor said they do not have the 202 spaces as that is private parking. Mr. Brown said the 202 spaces would have to be supplanted by the deck. He then discussed the costs, stating this deck is coming close to $17 million with the property purchase. In his opinion, roughly 30 or 40 parking spaces are being gained for $10 million. He said the 510 space deck was always thought of not being sufficient and possibly requiring a second deck. If that was true, then this deck will also require an additional deck because they will not have added significantly to the parking downtown. The Mayor interjected that in 1998 there was discussion of multiple decks, with possible discussion of the commuter deck on Curtiss, as well as Library lot reconstruction, and refurbishing the Curtiss lot. There was also discussion of assembling property south of the downtown for possible surface parking. That was in 1998 and they still do not have even one deck in place four years later.
Mr. Brown said this deck does not fulfill the needs discussed four years ago, and they are spending an extra $10 million with no known source to recover the funds. He said if the deck were closer to the railroad tracks, it would be less offensive regarding the lighting issue. He understands that things are moving along rather quickly, but they are talking about $10 million of debt in a TIF district, which requires a tremendous amount of development to pay the debt.
Commissioner Gilbert asked Mr. Brown what his recommendation was. Mr. Brown said the plan has fallen through the cracks. He said they should look at all of the pieces before proceeding. What has happened here is, by rushing to get Quick Take passed to lock into the new area, they have forced themselves into a corner and will have to spend $10 million to park almost no more cars. Commissioner Gilbert said he was still not clear as to what Mr. Brown wants. He asked if the recommendation was to stop everything they have done over the past few years and go back to the beginning. Mr. Brown responded that he believes this deck is something new in the last 6 or 7 months. This was not on the table a year ago. The Mayor asked if Mr. Brown heard Mr. LaMotte discuss the Lakota Plan and the super lot. Mr. Brown said he was engaged in all of the Block 117 discussions and they always assumed there would be a deck on the Curtiss lot. The Mayor said it was prior to his coming on as Mayor. After the new Council came in they began to analyze the area. The Mayor said they have been working for the last year and a half on this property. Commissioner Gilbert agreed with the Mayor that this has been over two years in discussion for the current location. The Mayor said they were in discussion with Grove Premium a year prior to their closing. Commissioner Gilbert asked again if Mr. Brown is recommending they go back to the beginning, restudy all possible locations in the Village and debate that in a public forum. Mr. Brown asked whether the Village owns the Curtiss lot, and if they own it they should build the deck on the Curtiss lot, spend $10 million less and basically fulfill the exact parking requirements. There would be less of a chance to exacerbate their parking needs by developing that lot into a residential or retail area. Commissioner Gilbert clarified that Mr. Brown is in favor of putting a deck on Curtiss Street, but not in favor of putting a deck where it has been proposed; or, is he saying he wants to start all over again with the Lakota Plan. Mr. Brown said he thought he was clear in his recommendation. The Mayor said that for the last two years the Council has not looked at the Curtiss lot for the deck.
Mr. LaMotte said that long ago there was a discussion for two decks. They did not want the deck to be adjacent to the train station. He reviewed the procedures they went through to determine the best location for the deck. It was determined that adjacent to the tracks was not a good spot. If a deck was needed it should be set back. They looked at the Curtiss lot which was harder to mask and would take away valuable redevelopment space. The deck they are talking about now is the most optimal location for a deck. The $10 million to build parking will open up redevelopment opportunity such as Station Crossing and the potential development of the Curtiss lot. If a second deck is needed they could go in toward the west end.
Mr. Brown asked where the $10 million will come from. If it is going to come from development, they will have to build to six times that value to yield that over a 21 year period. That’s a lot of development at $66 million. He asked how that would fit into Downers Grove, at least the Downers Grove he is familiar with.
Andrew Clark , 1226 62nd Place, said he has no quarrel with the parking deck, but he does protest the Council’s recent action requesting quick take power from the Illinois General Assembly. He does not think this is what the founding Fathers had in mind when they created a nation of free people. He spoke to people in the town and they are not with the Council on quick take power. They are opening a Pandora’s box without knowing the ultimate consequences. He said they are looking at two lots at the southeast corner of the property with the intent of securing them by quick take power. What happens tomorrow. Mr. Clark said that he thinks they are intelligent people who were smart enough to get elected, but he said that people will be looking to see if they can achieve their goals without trampling on the rights of any one individual. Mr. Clark said there are several avenues they should possibly pursue to acquire what they want to do, but he does not know if all the avenues to acquire the lots can be done without displacing people. He then asked whether the parking deck is an immediate need. He said engineers are an intelligent lot. They could probably build half the deck on the north side, or 3/4 of the deck. Then when the property they are looking for is available they could complete the deck. He said engineers are very clever people, and gave the half bridge example on Finley Road. When I-355 was proposed, the Finley Road bridge was not long enough, so they built a two-lane half bridge. At the completion of widening Finley Road they completed the bridge. He still thinks the Council can acquire the land and the parking deck without abridging the rights of any one individual. He asked that they be careful in what they do.
The Mayor said there was no action in Springfield. It was shelved until November. Mr. Clark said it is the fact that the Council attempted to acquire this authority that concerns him.
Dave Humphreys , 4221 Saratoga, said he was excited, as he didn’t expect to see any parking decks in his lifetime. He thinks the location is great, and development proposed for the Curtiss Street site is exciting. Using the first floor of the deck for exhibits or festivals is valuable. He agreed with the cast-in-place structure as well.
Marc Patno , 4517 Belmont Road, asked if there would be comments afterwards on other issues, and the Mayor said after this discussion there would be another opportunity.
ATTORNEY ’S REPORT
Mr. Blondin said he was presenting a number of items all of which were discussed at tonight’s meeting, and they will all appear on next week’s Agenda. He then reviewed the 16 items for presentation to the Council.
Marc Patno , 4517 Belmont, said this was his first time at a Council meeting. He noted that the Council will soon preside over the issue regarding the Park District. He has spent an inordinate amount of time with the Park District over the past few years. Mr. Patno commented on the discussion at the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting concerning the special use for the Park District. He said the question that arose is what is a park, and the opinion was that the question rests solely at the discretion of the Park District. He said whether it is a gymnasium, a helicopter landing pad, or a zoo in a residential district, if the Park Districts deems it necessary, that would fit the description of a park. He said the Village Attorney offered an opinion on the rights of the Park District, without offering an opinion on the legal status of our Municipal Code or the rights and duties of municipal officials. With all due respect to the Village Attorney, his opinion is not necessarily shared by other members of his profession, nor apparently is it shared by the DuPage County Board of Commissioners, who just recently rejected a project by the Butterfield Park District that they claimed was necessary and desirable. Mr. Patno said there is a larger issue. The Zoning Board, in accepting this opinion ignored one of the standards for approval, and if he is correct, approval requires that all conditions be met, not three out of four. As an advisory body, the Zoning Board has the authority and duty to interpret ordinances and use their best judgment on how to apply that in a particular situation; however, they do not have the authority to simply ignore the ordinance. He said the Council as a legislative group has the right and duty to determine or define and write Code. How they feel about the necessity or desirability of a particular project is irrelevant. What is relevant is if the Council feels it has the right to make that determination. If they believe it is their right they must acknowledge the Zoning Board made an error. All opinions aside, Mr. Patno said that was the law on May 23, that they did have the right to determine necessity and desirability. If they do not believe they have the right, they have the obligation to amend the Ordinance and forever cede their rights to the Park District. They cannot have an ordinance on the books that applies standards to everyone equally, and at the same time not apply the standards equally if the person is the Park District. Mr. Patno then asked whether the Council is prepared to review and possibly amend the Zoning Ordinances before hearing a petition that legally challenges their right under current Municipal Code. The Mayor said they have no such request for an amendment. Attorney Blondin said the question presupposes a need to amend the Ordinance. The Mayor said they have no intention to review the Zoning Ordinance currently. Mr. Patno said he believes part of the Village’s Zoning Ordinance was challenged in that one standard was ignored and written out because they claimed it did not apply. The Mayor said the council will ultimately decide. The Zoning Board of Appeals is a recommending body.
Commissioner Tully said that there would be a special joint meeting on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. between representatives of the Council, the Economic Development Commission and the Zoning Commission regarding a proposed amendment to the Zoning Ordinance regarding setbacks on Ogden Avenue.
Commissioner Gilbert noted that the July 4th Parade route has changed and will be going down 59th Street this year, not down Main Street.
Commissioner Sisul moved to adjourn to Executive Session pursuant to section 2©(1) of the Illinois Open Meetings Act for the purpose of discussing personnel action. Commissioner Zabloudil seconded the Motion.
AYES :Commissioners Sisul, Zabloudil, Gilbert, Schnell, McConnell, Tully, Mayor Krajewski NAYS :None The Mayor declared the Motion carried.
The Workshop meeting was adjourned to Executive Session at 10:45 p.m.
April K. Holden Village Clerk tmh