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; Village Manager Riccardo Ginex; Acting Village Attorney Enza Petrarca; Village Clerk April Holden
Visitors: Press: Susie Gura, Downers Grove Reporter; Colt Foutz, The Sun Residents & Others in Attendance: Chris Giesler, Lisa Swanson, Jenny Bekkedal, North High School; Mieko Fujura, Abby Wood, South High School; John Ayaleanos, Tammy Stelling, Founders Hill, 5200 Main; Marilynn Gerloff, 4241 Highland; John Randall, Marriott, 1500 Opus; Amy Egolf, DuPage Convention and Visitors Bureau, 915 Harger Rd; Donald Hill, Doubletree, 2111 Butterfield; Jim Russ, 4915 Main; Fritz Wildermuth, North High School; Ron Sievers, Michael Stevens, Sievers Const., 1000 Maple; Dave Tatterson, 1240 Gilbert; Mary Ellen Young, 1821 Elmore; Steve & Marsha Giesler, North High School, 1214 Maple; Daniel Gross, 6407 Davane, Mark & Dan Bennett, 4455 Cascava, Lisle; Tiziana & Anthony DiSalvo, 6339 Davane Ct.; Shez & Cindy Bandukwala, 6330 Davane Ct.; Tony & Fran Prasnikar, 6425 Davane; Neda Schlictman, 6400 Davane; David Vattimo, 6346 Davane; Betty & Brinsley Lewis, 6431 Davane; Carmela Zinnecker, 6345 Davane; Walter & Doreen Lenckos, 6357 Davane; Carol & Robert Nield, 6326 Fairview; Kelly Kania, 6340 Davane; Therese Stewart, 6413 Davane; Steve & Sue Petkus, 1049 Grove; Skip Strittmatter, Executive Director, DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau Staff: Barbara Leiber, Director, Social & Health Services; Dave Van Vooren, Deputy Village Manager; Marty Lyons, Director, Financial Services; Jack Bajor, Director, Public Works; Mike Baker, Assistant to the Village Manager; Joe Skach, Director, Redevelopment; Phil Ruscetti, Fire Chief; Ken Rathje, Director, Planning Services
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.
DuPage Tourism: Presentation by Skip Strittmatter, Executive Director – DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau. The Manager introduced Ms. Strittmatter who is the Executive Director of the DuPage Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Skip Strittmatter , Executive Director, DuPage Convention and Visitors Bureau, explained the purpose of the Bureau as a not-for-profit organization created to market DuPage County for tourism. She said that the Village is one of the communities that helped found this Bureau, and thanked the Village for its continued support.
Ms. Strittmatter said that the Bureau has an annual budget of $1.5 million, of which $750,000 must be contributed from local sources. They receive funding from a variety of sources, including $300,000 from local occupancy taxes which makes up 20% of their budget. They have to raise the additional funds locally to receive the maximum State grant funds allocated for this area. The Bureau conducts a marketing campaign under the theme “The Magnificent Miles West of Chicago.” She then outlined the marketing tools used, and stated that visitors’ expenditures in the year 2000 topped $1.7 billion.
Ms. Strittmatter said the Bureau has a special relationship with the Village and has served as a conduit to include the Village in its Illinois Bureau of Tourism Bureau brochures, as well as special promotions and Internet sites. She noted that of the $48,000 contributed by the Village, $23,000 was returned in marketing partnerships, making the net investment of the Village $25,000. She then compared the Village’s partnership to other communities and urged the Village to maintain its relationship with the Bureau. Competition for tourism dollars has never been tighter, and a strong regional program is necessary. Ms. Strittmatter said the Bureau is open to new ideas to work together.
Commissioner Gilbert asked for an overview as to the hotel business in the County versus the Village. Ms. Strittmatter said that they have monitored those numbers since 9/11. She indicated that the Chicago area is not recovering as quickly and has dropped approximately 10% overall for the year. She noted that there is also a large increase in inventory. She said that 2001 was a record year, and it will take several years to come back to that level of revenue and occupancy.
Commissioner Gilbert asked if it was uniform throughout the whole County. Ms. Strittmatter said we are doing better than our neighbors in the northern suburbs. There are differences in the type of property and the marketing mix. She said that the high-end properties are suffering more.
Commissioner Zabloudil asked how about the Village’s total contribution to the Bureau. Ms. Strittmatter said she does not have the total amount, but in the first year it was about $23,000. The highest is $48,000, but she would look up the figures for the Council.
Commissioner Zabloudil asked what the difference in structure is between the Village and Arlington Heights since the Village pays $48,000 and Arlington Heights pays $170,000. Ms. Strittmatter said when the Bureau was formed there was a difference in the funding formula, which was 20% of 1% of the tax. She said that Arlington Heights is part of the Woodfield Bureau.
Commissioner Schnell clarified that the Village paid $48,000 and got $23,000 back in matching grants. She asked Ms. Strittmatter to clarify her comment that doors are open to the Village as members of the Bureau. Ms. Strittmatter said that the Illinois Bureau of Tourism (IBT) has had the largest budget in the country of about $35-$40 million. The County Bureau is charged to provide information for all of the Village properties to that IBT data base. They must represent the entire County but they do that in levels, including inclusion on their website. She added that most bureaus do not have grant programs of funds going back to the community.
Commissioner Schnell asked how many municipalities belong to the Bureau and Ms. Strittmatter responded that there are eleven. There are ten other communities who either do not have hotels or do not support the Bureau.
The Mayor asked if Naperville is a member, and Ms. Strittmatter said it is not. She said the nature of their hotels is different, and may be limited properties in some cases. Hotels in Downers Grove are full service hotels. She said the Bureau represents Downers Grove in all their publications, but they do not represent Naperville in their publications, or to the State of Illinois. She noted that some Naperville hotels are members, however, and they are represented.
Commissioner McConnell said it occurs to her that there might be more events or items in the Village that would be appropriate to be on the website and asked why they are not there. Ms. Strittmatter responded that most bureaus are membership bureaus. She said there is no way they could produce a publication listing every restaurant in DuPage County as it would simply be too expensive. A specific restaurant would have to be an individual member. They have two levels of membership: community and individual. She said that this is their standard operating procedure.
Commissioner Tully asked for a listing of the individual membership and Ms. Strittmatter said she would provide that information. There are approximately 250 individual members. She stressed that they are a service bureau and their objective is to promote economic development for their membership.
Commissioner Sisul asked about the marketing piece and how it would be used. Ms. Strittmatter said the piece he referred to is an advertising sales driven piece which is used as a tool in numerous marketing plans. She said that the Village was not advertised in that piece as they chose not to at that time.
The Mayor asked how many hotels there are in the County, and Ms. Strittmatter said that are about 15,000 hotel rooms in the County and it is growing. She said there was about $283 million in revenue last year, resulting in about $9 million in occupancy tax.
The Mayor asked why Naperville does not belong. Ms. Strittmatter responded that Naperville did support them for two years and then chose to discontinue the membership. They have only one major full service hotel, and their own visitors bureau which is part of their economic development.
District 99 Presentation. The Manager asked Commissioner McConnell to explain the next presentation.
Commissioner McConnell said that everyone is aware of the aftermath of 9/11. She said this especially affected our youth. She said that about a month ago the Partnership for Healthier Communities had a brief presentation by some of the students who shared the impact of 9/11 and some of the activities they had undertaken to respond to that disaster. She said they thought it would be worthwhile to have the students share this with the general public and the Council. She introduced students from Downers Grove South.
Abby Wood , Downers Grove South, described her feelings about 9/11 when she first heard about it at school, and then she actually saw the event on television. At school the next day her advisor said that she had received an e-mail that Key Clubs around the nation wanted to get involved. She agreed to help and they set a goal of raising $1.00 per student to contribute to the cause. They began with little buckets with signs, and started collecting spare change from the students. They placed the buckets throughout the school including the Dean’s office, activities, teachers rooms, the gymnasium, etc. She appreciates what happened in terms of how people responded, not just at Downers South, but also the community and the world as a whole. They raised a total of $8,410.
Commissioner McConnell asked whether there were any fundamental changes she saw because of their activity, and Abby responded that the Key Club has always been a motivated group, but in this particular case, South High pulled together as a school. She had no idea how she was going to raise the money, but everyone pitched in. She said she changed the way she looked at South High. In response to the Mayor, Abby said their activity resulted in an increase in membership for the Key Club which has 65 members who are active.
Commissioner McConnell said there were also students present from North High School who looked for assistance with their activities.
Chris Giesler , Downers Grove North, said he was in calculus class when he found out about 9/11. He said he thought a lot about it when he went home. He is vice president of the National Honor Society and a member of Athletes Committed to Excellence, which were groups that could be in a position to help.
Lisa Swanson and Jenny Bekkedal , North High students, said that they tried to combine ideas and came up with the Walkathon. Their 9/11K Walkathon was open to the community and people could sponsor either a team or walk themselves. Chris added that they also sought help from other groups and the response was overwhelming in that they raised $12,600. He said that people were very responsive in displaying posters and contributing financially or in other ways to this cause, including a choir performance, special speakers, etc. They were proud of the results and were able to travel to New York and present the firefighters with the money they raised. In addition they delivered cards to another fire house in Brooklyn. They also visited Ground Zero. Lisa said they were able to show that they made a difference. Chris added that this showed if you want to make a difference you can, and he saw that it was a good moral lesson.
Mayor Krajewski said they should be proud of what they accomplished. They took their ideas and motivated others in the community to participate. They were good role models. He thanked the students for their efforts on behalf of the Council and the Village.
Commissioner McConnell said this is a good example of a community pulling together and can be used as a model for the future activities the community would like to accomplish.
Commissioner Tully thanked all of the students involved, saying they were a fine reflection on the Village and the community.
2002 Watermain Improvements. The Manager said staff recommends awarding the contract in an amount not to exceed $666,243.35 with a 10% contingency to Infrastructure Construction Services.
Commissioner Gilbert asked why this section is being done at this time.
Jack Bajor, Director, Public Works, said it is a wetland area, and due to the age and conditions there was deterioration of the watermain that requires replacement.
Commissioner Zabloudil asked why there is such a gap between the bid and budget amounts. Mr. Bajor said that he and Mike Baker looked at the past three years of watermain improvements, and the difference in the bids versus estimates. These last bids were very competitive with staff estimating $998,000. He said he attributes the low bid to the fact that the cost of asphalt was lower than estimated. He said staff usually studies previous costs for three years, averages that out and adds a CPI to that cost. There were ten bids received, which was also a good response.
Commissioner Zabloudil asked whether the Village has done business with the other contractors. Mr. Bajor said they’ve worked with Martam and Swallow. They called Barrington and Libertyville for references on Infrastructure Construction.
Commissioner Zabloudil asked that staff follow up with the references as to the extent of work done and repeat work.
The Mayor said there are 50 line items budgeted. He assumed that those unit prices were based on the previous year with a slight increase. He asked to see the unit costs last year for the various line items. Mr. Bajor said he would provide that information.
Commissioner McConnell asked that the language be tightened up so that it is clear what the Village wants. She noted that in the section Supplementary Conditions #10, the word “can” was used and she wanted that changed to “shall” regarding the fence.
Commissioner Schnell said that Woodland Lane is a narrow street and a dead end, and staff needs to do a very good job of notifying the neighbors in terms of what will be done, and how long it will take. The residents need to be made aware of what will be happening and when. This is a dead-end street and there is no other way in or out.
Commissioner Tully asked whether the attorney has had an opportunity to review the contract.
Acting Village Attorney Petrarca said she has reviewed the contract.
Commissioner Zabloudil asked Mr. Bajor of the timing for the project. Mr. Bajor said they are trying to be very cautious and work the timing out with the least amount of impact. He said they anticipate it starting toward the end of the season. Commissioner Zabloudil said he understands the funds issue but wants the needs to be balanced off with the right time to get the project completed.
Contract Extensions for Hot & Cold Mix Asphalt. The Manager said staff has recommended approval of contract extensions for FY 2002 /2003 to K-Five Construction Corp., and Harry W. Kuhn, Inc, in an amount not to exceed $3,500 for cold mix, and $71,000 for hot mix. He said this is the first contract extension with two vendors as it provides some flexibility.
Commissioner Tully said the Public Services Committee will be looking at the extensions of contract bids, and he asked if there is an advantage to extensions versus going out for competitive bids each year.
Mr. Bajor responded that according to policy they can only extend contracts for two consecutive contract periods, and they cannot exceed 2%. He noted that this provides flexibility and the ability to obtain the product quickly to meet construction schedules, as well as the fact that these contractors have given the Village good service in the past.
Commissioner McConnell said that she thought the policy applies to any competitive bid process, not just public works.
Marty Lyons , Director, Financial Services, responded that was correct with the exception of Professional Service agreements. He said that they will be going to some easier processes for bidding in the future. They will go to an Internet bidding process which also lessens the staff costs.
Liquid Asphalt Cement. The Manager said that staff recommends approval of the extension contract to K-Five Construction Corporation of Lemont at a cost of $1.70 per gallon.
Commissioner Tully asked whether the Village has ever pooled purchases with other projects with District 99 or the Park District. Mr. Bajor said they have not to his knowledge. He thinks it might be possible. Commissioner Tully said that might also enable them to obtain better materials prices.
Crushed Limestone. The Manager said staff recommends awarding the contract for crushed limestone to Boughton Trucking and Materials, Inc. They have worked with the Village before and have a history of prompt deliveries. The amount is not to exceed $15,525.00.
The Mayor asked whether the bid asked for a cost on both pick-up and delivery. Mr. Bajor said it did, but some of the contractors do not respond on the pick-up.
Ready-Mix Concrete. The Manager said staff recommends awarding the contract for Ready-Mix Concrete to both Meyer Material and Harry W. Kuhn, again to provide flexibility. The amount is not to exceed $20,611.
Roadside Ditching. The Manager said staff recommends awarding a contract for roadside ditching to Western Gradall Corporation at a cost of $105.00 per hour. They were the only bidder.
Mr. Bajor said, in response to the Mayor, that our staff cannot do this work due to the specialized equipment needed.
Commissioner Zabloudil asked whether this company was used before, and Mr. Bajor said he did not know.
Construction Castings, Frames & Grates. The Manager said staff has recommended awarding contracts to the two lowest bidders because Kieft Brothers, Inc., is the lower bidder; however, Neenah Foundry Company is the manufacturer of all the materials. The amount of the bid is $15,250.00.
Mosquito Abatement. The Manager said that staff recommends awarding the bid to Clarke Environmental Mosquito Management in an amount of $36,800 to allow for three Village-wide sprayings. He explained that there have been reports of birds infected with the West Nile Virus which is carried by adult mosquitoes. This is the only bid received as Clarke is the only company that can provide aerial spraying if necessary.
Resolution for 2002 Sports Grand Prix Cycling Championship. The Manager said that staff recommends Council’s approval of the expenditure of $21,000 to Chicago Special Events Management for sponsorship of the 2002 Sports Grand Prix. He said that this is the 12th year the Village is hosting this Championship.
Commissioner Tully said that is one of the events published in the DuPage County Visitors Bureau brochure.
Mayor Krajewski said at last year’s bike race there were a number of Olympic athletes.
Park & Ride Fairview Plaza. The Manager said that staff recommends that the Village authorize execution of the agreement between American Land Management Corporation and the Village to lease parking spaces for the Park and Ride Program. This would be a three-year lease renewal, and the terms remain unchanged. The cost to the Village is $.25 per vehicle. Last year the cost for 270 passengers was $67.50. This is the 14th year of this program.
Commissioner McConnell asked if this is costing the Village more than the value it is providing to the customers. She also asked whether there is a trend of usage. She also asked if the customers pay a fee for the use of the parking space.
Commissioner Zabloudil asked if the Village is obligated to plow the area. Mr. Bajor said the owners maintain the site, the Village maintains the signage.
Commissioner McConnell said that in reviewing the figures, 270 rides only adds up to about one person per day, she cannot imagine that the Village is getting enough in fees to cover the cost of the bus. The Mayor said that the bus goes up and down Fairview as part of its regular route anyway.
Commissioner Sisul said that METRA publicizes the Park & Ride on the Kennedy. He said the Village may want to consider if there is enough exposure to this program. Mr. Bajor said that was a good idea and staff would look further into this. He did not know if there were signs advertising the program.
The Mayor recommended that staff distribute information to people who are waiting for the parking permits to inform them of the availability of the Park and Ride.
Mr. Lyons said that with the Station Crossing development, they discontinued the quarterly sales. People who inquire could be informed of this program.
Intergovernmental Agreements between the County of DuPage, and the Village of Lisle with the Village of Downers Grove for the joint purchase of natural gas, gasoline, and diesel fuel. The Manager said that staff is recommending Council authorization to execute the agreements between the County, the Village of Lisle and the Village of Downers Grove for the joint purchase of natural gas, gasoline, and diesel fuel.
Mr. Bajor said that the Village has a compressed natural gas station, as well as diesel and regular fuel. The Village is working with the Park District on a similar type of agreement. Lisle has requested a similar agreement. Users of the equipment will pay a fee for use of the equipment. Mr. Bajor said that this will help to fully utilize the fueling station.
Commissioner Zabloudil said it is a good project, and the $.15 charge will help with operating expenses. He asked if there is a form that is signed for waiver of liability, and Mr. Bajor said he is not sure that is incorporated into the contract. The Village employees are trained, however. Commissioner Zabloudil said that should be put in place before using the site. Mayor Krajewski asked the Village Attorney to follow up on that.
Farmers’ Market Agreement: YMCA The Manager said staff recommends authorization of the resolution for the Village to co-sponsor the 2002 Farmers’ Market with the Indian Boundary YMCA . He said the starting date of June 22 is two weeks earlier than previous seasons. Since this date will conflict with the Heritage Festival, the YMCA will use their east parking lot for the June 29 Farmers’ Market and will be responsible for advertising to inform vendors and customers of the change for that date.
The Mayor said staff should also put the information on Cable TV and in the Village Corner.
Annexation Petition for Lots 15 and 16, 2600 Burlington Avenue. The Manager said that the request for annexation was submitted by the owner who wants to connect the property to Village water.
Resolution Authorizing an Agreement between the Village and Linda Pieczynski. The Manager said that staff recommends executing an agreement for legal services with Linda Pieczynski for a six-month period. The six-month retainer will be $12,862.50.
Commissioner Tully asked whether there has been satisfaction with the quality of service provided. Attorney Petrarca said she polled the Police Department and they are very satisfied with Ms. Pieczynski’s service.
Resolution Authorizing an Agreement between the Village and Mike McMahon. The Manager said this resolution is for legal services provided by Mike McMahon on DUI cases. This will be a six-month contract at a cost of $20,000.
Commissioner McConnell said that she would like to see a status of the cases and outcomes after the six-month period. Attorney Petrarca said she has that information.
The Mayor asked if payments will be coming in on a monthly basis. He also asked about the Tech Fund for additional cameras and Ms. Petrarca said that has increased to $200.00 as of January 1.
Founders Hill Sidewalk Café Agreement. The Manager asked Carol Conforti to make this presentation.
Carol Conforti , Liquor Liaison, said that Founders Hill has applied to the Village for a 2002 Sidewalk Café License. The Council previously considered a request from Founders Hill in 2000, however the licensee did not execute the agreement at that time. She indicated that Mr. Montesantos has submitted a scaled-down version of the café and would like to have it open for the spring/summer/fall season beginning May 1 through October 1, 2002. Ms. Conforti said the plan includes a 32’x10’ café to be located on Main Street which will seat approximately 24-30 people. She said that various Village departments reviewed the application and have provided their comments. In the original proposal, Grove Street was also included; however, residents objected to that proposal and it was not pursued further.
Commissioner McConnell asked for a description of the fencing that will be around the area.
Tammy Stelling , Founders Hill, 5200 Main Street, said there will be a 4’ high trellis which will be left out at night, but it can be moved if necessary. In further response to Commissioner McConnell, Ms. Stelling said the chairs and tables will be stored inside.
Commissioner Tully said he has no objection to this, since it is Main Street only. In the discussion of two years ago the petitioner indicated that Main Street would only support 16 seats, but now it is up to 24-30 people. Ms. Stelling said they intend to use smaller tables to seat more people.
Sue Petkus , 1049 Grove, congratulated Founders Hill and said she thought it might be good for everyone concerned. She asked that they keep in mind that people live adjacent to this facility.
The Mayor asked what the procedure is for other outdoor seating areas. Ms. Conforti said that is a temporary use and Mr. Baker handles those requests.
Mayor Krajewski asked what the procedure is and how fast of a turnaround there is for the temporary use.
Mike Baker , Assistant to the Village Manager, said it takes about two weeks to process after it is received for review by several departments. He said it takes that much time for all of the departments to review the application to be sure it is fully in order.
The Mayor said there were complaints made that the Village takes too long to turnaround these applications. Mr. Baker said that many of these are repeat applicants. The Mayor suggested that they be contacted with a reminder next year to get their applications in earlier so as not to be delayed.
Commissioner Sisul said he was pleased to see this issue resolved, and thinks this will be a tremendous amenity to the downtown area.
Annexation Agreement for the Sievers’ property on the west side of Fairview south of 63rd Street. Zoning Board of Appeals recommendation regarding the proposed rezoning of this property (Case MC-13-01). The Manager asked Jim Russ, attorney for Mr. Sievers, to make the presentation.
The Mayor asked Mr. Russ to summarize the meetings that were held with the neighbors.
James Russ , attorney located at 4915 Main Street and representing the petitioner, said that the property is currently unincorporated and the petitioner is seeking annexation to the Village and rezoning of the property to Village B-2. He noted that a pre-annexation agreement has been submitted for the property. The petitioner intends to build a one-story professional use building with no separate retail business connected to it. Mr. Russ said that the petitioner has a site plan for the building with parking on each side. There will be a 30’ setback from the residential property line to the west, and 15’ from the north and south property lines. Setback requirements provide for 10’ on the north and 5’ on the south.
Mr. Russ said that he met with representatives of the neighbors on March 16 in his office. He stated that the positions have not changed between the petitioner and the residents. The residents do not want any commercial use for this property. The purpose of the meeting was to come to some negotiation; however, they ended up agreeing to disagree as to the use of the site. Mr. Russ said that the petitioner proposed interest in purchasing the property south of the parcel to construct some type of duplex to provide a buffer from the office use to the residential use and prevent further creeping of commercial south on Fairview Avenue. He said, however, that the owner was not interested in selling the property at this time. Mr. Russ said that there was no discussion concerning screening or lighting with the residents.
Mr. Russ said that the petitioner still thinks this is a good project as it is a less intense use and fits in the area. He said they believe they have addressed some of the Village’s concerns in their pre-annexation agreement by allowing the Village to have some control over the development. They do not see further commercial creep to the south on Fairview Avenue. The petitioner has made concessions regarding setbacks, height, and the parking location. Regarding the professional use of the building, it would be operated during normal working hours. Mr. Russ said that Mr. Sievers has a good reputation in his other developments in the Village. He said that the concerns of the neighbors have been addressed by the preannexation agreement. He then asked Mr. Sievers to address the Council.
Commissioner Sisul asked if the petitioner, when discussing purchasing the property to south, discussed it as an option purchase in the future. Mr. Russ responded that Mr. Sievers would pursue it if the owner was interested in selling the property. He said that Mr. Sievers would agree to building residential on that piece of property.
Ron Sievers , owner of Sievers Construction and Development Company of 1000 Maple Avenue, said that the Council has before it a rezoning issue backed by a preannexation agreement which provides that the Village can control what happens on the property. As Westmont has expanded its commercial district, it seems natural for some sort of similar density on the west side of Fairview Avenue. That can be accomplished in one of two ways, a high density residential use or a low impact commercial use. Although the property to the south is not currently for sale, he expects that some day it will be. When that owner decides to sell the property he thinks that owner will ask to rezone that property because it is two acres of property. Mr. Sievers said if there is one acre or less, it is very difficult to develop residential on it. He believes that the future use of Fairview Avenue will go from commercial, downsizing to a residential unit such as a townhome or duplex. He believes that will happen. Now he has one acre before the Council as a rezoning issue. Mr. Sievers says he believes this to be a good transitional use. If the property were to be divided into two units, they would have to have a lot width variation. This would result in five foot side yards. It would be very difficult to sell a home with a five-foot side yard abutting a picket fence and a pizza parlor. Drainage would become difficult because there would be two homes on the one acre, as well as two driveways entering onto Fairview Avenue. He said that the houses would also have to be pushed fairly well back because people do not want houses built close to the roadway.
Mr. Sievers then discussed the possibility of putting four townhomes on the site which would have to parallel Fairview Avenue. That would result in four narrow driveways with a turnaround problem. He said that one of the residents in previous discussions was opposed to the noise from air conditioning units from commercial buildings. Mr. Sievers said he would much rather have the air conditioning of a commercial building than he would an exhaust fan alongside the master bedroom. There are reasons why residential cannot work on this site. If the property south was available at a reasonable purchase price, then he would see it working. That is not the case. Therefore, he sees the most reasonable use as a commercial office space as a transition to the residential property.
Mr. Russ said that the petitioner would like to proceed with the annexation agreement and rezoning of the property. He said that he spoke with Mr. Rockwell of the Economic Development Commission who indicated to Mr. Russ that there is a need for this type of office space in this area of the Village. Mr. Russ then thanked the residents who met with him, saying they were a pleasure to work with.
Shez Bandukwala , 6330 Davane Court, said a number of residents were present at the meeting. He thanked the Council for giving them the opportunity to share their opinions. Many of the residents wished to speak today, but out of respect for the time the residents have asked him to represent their opinions. Mr. Bandukwala said they understand that this is an issue between the petitioner and the Village, and the residents appreciate the Village providing additional time for the residents to present their feelings.
Mr. Bandukwala said they tried to meet with the developer to negotiate some compromise. The result was a binary outcome with no middle ground. He said the residents will lose if the property is zoned commercial. If the zoning is maintained the developer loses since they cannot maximize their economic opportunity. They understand the developer’s position to maximize the use of his property.
Mr. Bandukwala said residents believe only residential zoning is acceptable for the property. They formed an organization called Residents Against Residential Rezoning (RARR), and had formal petitions signed in the surrounding area. They have also made up a website to explain the issue and position of the residents. They provided a means for voting on the site as well. He said as of Friday 5 people supported the rezoning and 153 voted against the petition. He referenced a petition to the Council with over 200 signatures in opposition to the rezoning.
Mr. Bandukwala said that the Village can only be right if the decision process used to arrive at a decision is done correctly. He referenced the Village’s Zoning Ordinance, noting that there are no plans calling for random scattering of commercial space throughout the Village. He said that the attorney referenced an economic development plan, however the residents have not seen such a plan. He said that he did not think those plans called for randomly placed office space. He referenced the 300,000 square feet of vacant office/industrial space presently available in the Village. He said 88% of the office space is occupied, which is lower than the national average. Mr. Bandukwala said there is no need for extra office space in the Village.
Mr. Bandukwala said that when rezoning rights were granted to Family Video that property was stated as being the buffer between the residential area. He said that if the subject property becomes commercial then the domino effect becomes a reality.
Mr. Bandukwala then cited the Village’s Municipal Code regarding provisions concerning promoting the health, safety and general welfare of the public. He said that this is already a high traffic area with the Family Video and Barone’s pizza. He said the residents don’t know how high of a traffic pattern the office use would bring, but they would like to know that the Village would seek out that information. He quoted the Code in regard to a provision stating that a commercial use in a residential area should provide sufficient elements of service or convenience that offset the disadvantage of having the commercial property in that location. Mr. Bandukwala said that rezoning this to commercial zoning will diminish residential values in the minds of the surrounding residents.
Mr. Bandukwala then addressed the question of what would happen to the property if the Village denied this request and how would the County address the issue. He said he thought it would be unlikely that they would ignore the Village’s decision. He stated that annexation is apparently important to the developer, and allows the Village to maintain control. He noted that the Village does have the opportunity to force annex the property, noting that two residents have indicated their willingness to annex their property to allow the Village the ability to force annex the Sievers’ property.
Mr. Bandukwala said another point raised is what would the Courts do if this case were brought to suit. He said it is problematic to make an incorrect decision because of fear of an unknown decision. Regarding the developer’s reputation, the residents are not questioning that Sievers builds quality buildings in the Village; however, that is not the concern and is irrelevant. The developer is attempting to maximize his economic return. Mr. Bandukwala said that the developer purchased the land with no zoning contingency which means that 1) it wasn’t a smart decision, or 2) he purchased the land because he knew he could make it work either way; or 3) he purchased it knowing he could get the commercial zoning. He said if Mr. Sievers purchased the property knowing he could get rezoning, that would be very problematic to the process.
Mr. Bandukwala then summarized the position of the residents regarding the potential rezoning to commercial use, and said that rezoning the property to commercial would serve no greater good and the Council should have no choice but to deny the petition.
Mayor Krajewski said that the Village has three of the premier office developers in the country with offices in Downers Grove. Some of their brand new buildings which are not filled as yet contribute to the 12% vacancy figure noted by Mr. Bandukwala. The space has been built and is currently looking to lease.
Commissioner Zabloudil said that Mr. Rockwell’s opinion is not the opinion of the Economic Development Commission. The EDC has a comprehensive economic development strategy. They have not discussed this issue and do not have a formal position on this property. Commissioner Zabloudil said the EDC ’s policy includes creating corridors in the Village including 75th Street, 63rd Street, Ogden Avenue and Butterfield Road. He noted that office space utilization will probably remain low until the new building is completed. Concerning the industrial parks, they are heavily utilized as they are limited in space. He then commented on Mr. Sievers’ statement regarding the drainage issue and asked for clarification on that statement.
Mr. Sievers responded that this parcel is less than an acre in size and does not require any stormwater drainage. However, being a single-story building of approximately 10,000 square feet with a parking lot in front of it, the property zoned as B-2 would be more conducive for drainage control than residential use. They would be willing to retain the water in the lot and divert the water to the front of their building.
Commissioner Zabloudil asked what percentage of the parcel would be impervious to the parking lot and the building. Mr. Sievers responded it would be 60%-70%. Commissioner Zabloudil asked about the greenspace requirements.
Ken Rathje , Director of Planning Services, responded that the minimum greenspace requirement is 10%. He said that the petitioner’s drawings showed excess greenspace.
Commissioner Zabloudil then asked about transitional use and asked whether Family Video is a good use. Mr. Sievers said that Family Video is a high intensity B-2 use. The proposed office use would be a low-impact use that would probably be a 9-5 operation five days a week, versus the revolving door hours of Family Video. He further stated that he did not see a downward valuation of the surrounding residential property. He has not heard from the residents why they do not want commercial use other than the downward valuation of their property. He has been on both sides of the fence in that he has built both commercial and residential uses. He said he could address the issues they have raised regarding air conditioning noise and drainage.
Commissioner Zabloudil asked whether Mr. Sievers charges a premium price for lots that abut residential sites. Mr. Sievers said that most of his subdivisions have been in-fill projects. If his project abutted a townhome project or single-family project, the premium of the lots comes from the value of the trees and size of the property. If it is a quality project he has no problem charging a premium against it. In regard to the subject site, as a home owner he would prefer to have a 30’ buffer of trees between the residential area and the commercial site.
Commissioner Zabloudil asked what would prevent Mr. Sievers from putting a single-family home on this land. Mr. Sievers said when he bought the land, he knew it was residential and simply thought it would be a good transitional use. If it were a single home on the lot, the price would have to be very expensive and probably difficult to sell with commercial next door. He believes the south property will some day be before the Council for rezoning. As two acres of land it is too valuable to just build two homes on it.
Commissioner Tully complimented the citizens on making a single coordinated presentation. He said that since 1983, the Future Land Use Plan shows this parcel as residential. In 1995, this parcel as well as parcels to the south are shown an residential. He said the Future Land Use Plan is supposed to be revised every five years but has not been.
Commissioner Tully asked about the Family Video property which has come up in comments and presentations as transitional property. He said he understood that in 1996 there was a 10-year restriction put on that property as to the type of uses for the site. Mr. Rathje said that the restrictions were for gas stations and drive-through uses. The restrictions were quite limited, as contrasted to the proposed pre-annexation agreement. Commissioner Tully asked if those restrictions were adopted in 1996 and Mr. Rathje responded that would be about right. Commissioner Tully said that in another four years the restrictions will fall away, which will allow full B-2 uses on that property.
Commissioner Tully then commented on Mr. Bandukwala’s statement that this is a binary outcome. He said regardless of the designation in the future, if the zoning is denied they might win the battle and lose the war. There are no statistics to determine a Court outcome. He said this is a situation where, if the property were within the Village it would be a simple decision, as it is shown on the Future Land Use Plan as residential. The property, however, is not in the Village and the Village has no control over it. He said that personally he would rather see the property remain residential; however, they will not have an opportunity to choose what is there if the Courts become involved. He said there are still two weeks before the vote of the Council occurs. He said the parties might want to think long and hard about coming up with something that allows a choice as to what is on the site.
Commissioner McConnell asked what residential options are viable on a one-acre parcel without a split. Mr. Sievers responded that it would be a single-family residence which would probably be in the price range of $600,000. It would be hard to market that next to a commercial strip.
Commissioner Schnell asked about a home on Main Street and Mr. Sievers said that the house she is referring to backed up to the woods and was not as close as this property would be to commercial zoning. Mr. Sievers said he believed the property to the south of his property would become ultimately residential. If the restrictions on the Family Video parcel do run out in a few years, all the more reason not to build a $600,000 square foot home there with the potential of a drive-in bank or something of that nature adjacent to it. He said if the Council does allow the zoning with a 20-year covenant on the land, he projects that there will be development to the south in one form or another, and he guesses that it would probably be residential.
Commissioner McConnell addressed the annexation agreement and asked if he would be willing to have the hours of operation limited. Mr. Sievers said that is a tough sell, since he does not know what kind of office it would be. Commissioner McConnell asked if there is a viable way to place some limitation that would not hinder the leasing. Mr. Sievers said that by putting the building to the rear and designing the parking lot to the front away from the residential, it is less of an issue. He is willing to work on landscaping, drainage, lighting and noise control.
Commissioner McConnell said that it is intended to be a one-story building but is not in the annexation agreement. Mr. Sievers said he would be willing to put that in the agreement. Regarding landscaping, he will do whatever the neighbors want. He does not believe fences are good neighbors. He said that previously, Mr. DiSalvo suggested moving the front yard setback to the parking lot, then moving the building further forward and 40’ from the back. He would be willing to do that and would put that in writing as well.
Commissioner McConnell said she thought he indicated that drainage control could be better with commercial use and asked if that would also be placed in the agreement. Mr. Sievers said that stormwater control is not required on the project, but he is willing to put in the annexation agreement that they will control stormwater, which is an engineering issue. They can run the downspouts to the front of the building and put it all to the parking lot and would be willing to make those modifications.
Mr. Russ said that under the Village ordinance detention is not required, but stormwater control is required.
Commissioner Gilbert said that was one of the finest presentations by a citizen’s group that the Council has seen. He asked about the M&M Orthopedics property on Ogden Avenue which was a Court ordered rezoning. Mr. Rathje said that the property was in the Village, and the petition was for the southerly portion to be commercial with the northerly portion as townhouse residential. The Council voted against that rezoning. It was adjudicated and the Court decreed in favor of the plaintiffs allowing two medical office buildings and parking to be constructed on that site.
Commissioner Gilbert said he understood that the original property was for a two-story building. Mr. Rathje said he doesn’t recall how many stories were involved. The intention may have been to build a two-story office building with townhomes on the northerly portion of the property. After the Council’s denial, the Court allowed two commercial medical office buildings.
Commissioner Gilbert asked of other instances where the Village was overturned. Mr. Rathje responded that one was the northwest corner of 63rd and Fairview, where the property owners requested commercial zoning because of the existence of commercial zoning across Fairview Avenue in Westmont. It was adjudicated and the Court decreed that two office buildings could be built. The owners went back to court and substituted the day-care center for one of the office buildings. He said there are other cases in town, such as the Kowalkowski property adjacent to Morningside, and the Kindercare building at the southeast corner of 39th and Highland Avenue. He said he thought the Kindercare case was in 1988/89.
Commissioner Gilbert asked if staff would provide a list of those cases. He expressed concern that the Courts might overrule the Village. He believes that could happen.
Commissioner Schnell asked what the process would be for a drive-through. Mr. Rathje said that they would have to go through the Council as a special use. It is not configured for a drive-through. The value of the restriction was for the initial construction.
Commissioner Schnell said that one of the reasons Family Video was allowed was because the northeast corner was Court-ordered to commercial zoning. It was believed that the corner would become commercial anyway and would be a natural transition and buffer to the residents to the south. Mr. Rathje said that one of the unfortunate situations at the edges of a municipality is that neighboring communities have their particular needs and goals. Westmont chose to commercialize 63rd Street heavily. Both Westmont and Downers Grove have residential areas on 63rd Street as well. Downers Grove has commercial zoning limited to nodes along 63rd Street. The Village would have probably preferred to keep that land as residential. Land use decisions won’t be judged by invisible lines but by the existing uses in the area. He said that the proposal before the Council now has a foreshortening effect, in that it is a step-down in density. The County does not have the benefit of annexation agreements and the property is already in the County.
Commissioner Schnell asked about the Foxfire development on Cumnor, north of Ogden Avenue. It is a small townhome development and she asked whether it is possible to put a half street in with townhomes to the south as a transition in the subject site. Mr. Sievers responded that he did not think the Village approved half streets. Any private street constructed would have to meet Downers Grove standards of 66’ width. He said that from a developer’s standpoint, the last thing he would want to look at is the setback and service doors of the Ogden Avenue development. He said he does not agree with Foxfire as it is too intensive of a use for that site. A developer wants the front doors to face either west or south. In this case, backdoors and decks would be looking at the service entrances.
Commissioner Schnell asked what the side yard greenspace would be. Mr. Sievers responded it would be 15’. There are some large trees at the back near the property line they want to maintain.
Mr. Bandukwala, 6330 Davane Court, asked if the Village has ever won a court case, and Mr. Rathje said they have. Mr. Bandukwala said for the record, then, the Village has won court cases, and he did not think there is a direct precedent for this specific issue. If they think their decision is right and they act in fear of what the Court’s might do, he considers that a faulty process. He reminded the Council that the vehicle exists for the Village to force annex the property.
The Mayor said he doesn’t think the County will overrule the Council. However, if it were to go to Court they could still build what they want, and maybe without fences or setbacks.
Commissioner Tully said there is nothing to prevent Mr. Sievers from selling the property to someone else who isn’t a respected developer.
Mr. Bandukwala said that the developer said he can’t put a residential home on this site because it would be next to commercial property, but is asking residents to live next to more commercial property. He said the reality is that there are residential homes right behind Family Video’s property. He believes they can put homes on that lot that will sell. He does not think it is the job of the Council to maximize the developer’s gain.
Commissioner Sisul asked about alternatives to single-family homes and asked whether Mr. Sievers has considered those alternatives, such as two single family homes or four townhomes. Mr. Bandukwala said he would be fine with two single family homes, but would have to give townhomes more thought. He would need to speak with the neighbors in that regard. The Mayor said the residents may want to have further discussions.
Anthony DiSalvo , 6339 Davane Court, said that they are bringing the full package to the Council. He asked why they don’t just bring up the annexation, since everyone is in favor of the annexation. He said a single-family residence would, in his opinion, be able to be built and sold just like the properties located on Main Street and on 63rd Street.
Commissioner Schnell complimented both the developer and residents on many of the Character Counts pillars they have exemplified. They have both done an exemplary job of expressing their positions and concerns in a responsible and respectful way.
STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS
There were none.
ATTORNEY ’S REPORT Acting Village Attorney Petrarca said there is a condemnation order to be approved for the property at 1001 Curtiss.
Commissioner Sisul moved to waive the one week waiting period for the purpose of discussing new business. Commissioner Gilbert seconded the Motion.
AYES :Commissioners Sisul, Gilbert, Zabloudil, McConnell, Schnell, Mayor Krajewski NAYS :None
Mayor Krajewski declared the Motion carried.
AN ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR THE ACQUISITION THROUGH CONDEMNATION OF CERTAIN PROPERTY (PARTIAL OF PIN : 09-08-306-005) FOR PUBLIC PURPOSES RELATED TO THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE TAX INCREMENT DOWNTOWN REDEVELOPMENT PLAN AND PROJECT
ORDINANCE NO . 4401
Commissioner Sisul moved to adopt an Ordinance to provide for the acquisition through condemnation of certain property for public purposes related to the Village of Downers Grove Tax Increment Downtown Redevelopment Plan as presented. Commissioner Gilbert seconded the Motion.
AYES :Commissioners Sisul, Gilbert, Zabloudil, McConnell, Schnell, Mayor Krajewski NAYS :None
Mayor Krajewski declared the Motion carried.
Attorney Petrarca said she was presenting 13 items to the Council: 1) a resolution approving a grant of not more than $21,000 and authorizing execution of an agreement with Chicago Special Events Management for hosing the 2002 USPRP and Inline Championship Races; 2) a resolution authorizing execution of an agreement with American Land Management Corporation for the lease of parking spaces for the Village’s Park and Ride Program; 3) a resolution authorizing execution of an intergovernmental agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and the County of DuPage for the purchase of gasoline, diesel fuel and compressed natural gas; 4) a resolution authorizing execution of an intergovernmental agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and the Village of Lisle for the purchase of gasoline, diesel fuel and compressed natural gas; 5) a resolution authorizing an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and the Indian Boundary YMCA to jointly conduct the 2002 Downers Grove Farmers’ Market; 6) an ordinance annexing certain territory to the Village of Downers Grove, Illinois commonly known as 2600 Burlington Avenue; 7) a resolution authorizing execution of an agreement for legal services with Linda S. Pieczynski; 8) a resolution authorizing execution of an agreement for legal services with Michael F. McMahon; 9) a resolution authorizing execution of a sidewalk café license agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Founders Hill Brewing Company; 10) a resolution authorizing execution of an annexation agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Sievers Development Company for certain property located south of 63rd Street and west of Fairview Avenue; 11) an ordinance annexing the property located on the west side of Fairview Avenue approximately 217 feet south of 63rd Street (PIN 09-20-209-007) to the Village of Downers Grove, Illinois; 12) an ordinance amending the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of the Village of Downers Grove, Illinois, codified as Chapter 28 of the Downers Grove Municipal Code, as amended to rezone the property located on the west side of Fairview Avenue approximately 217 feet south of 63rd Street (PIN 09-20-209-007); and 13) a resolution establishing an amended policy of the Village Council with regard to fee waivers.
Commissioner McConnell said it was a very nice Founders Day, and Commissioner Tully agreed with that statement.
There being no further discussion, the Workshop meeting was adjourned at 9:45 p.m.
April K. Holden Village Clerk tmh