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, Sue McConnell, Martin Tully, Ron Sandack, Stan Urban, William Waldack; Village Attorney Enza Petrarca; Village Clerk April Holden
Absent:Village Manager Riccardo Ginex
Visitors: Press: Kevin Stahr, Downers Grove Reporter; Mike Mitchell, The Sun Residents: Carol Koutnik, 5400 Park; Michael and Lisa Prince, 5157 Main Street; William Woodward, Kenig, Lindgren, O’Hara, Aboona, 9545 W. Higgins, Rosemont; John LeDonne, 1930 55th Place; Alex Napolitano, 625 61st Street; Jeff Musil, 6029 Ridgewood Circle; Pat Barrett, 6331 Blodgett Court; Bill Wrobel, 7800 Queens Court; John Schofield, 1125 Jefferson Street; Bill Barrett, 4911 Highland Avenue; Jim Russ, 4915 Main Street; Gregg Herman, Bailey Edward Design, 900 N. Franklin, Chicago Staff: Kerstin G. von der Heide, Village Forester; Mike Baker, Assistant Village Manager; Dave Fieldman, Deputy Village Manager; Keith Sbiral, Director, Planning & Community Development; Dave Barber, Director, Public Works; Stan Balicki, Assistant Director, Public Works; Mike Millette, Assistant Director, Public Works; Mary Scalzetti, Director, Tourism & Events; Doug Kozlowski, Director, Marketing & Media Relations
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.
Deputy Village Manager Dave Fieldman noted changes in the arrangement. He said they were temporary in nature representing the management team until a new manager is named.
Consent Agenda Items
Bid: Tree Supply & Planting. Mike Baker, Assistant Village Manager, said this is a request for $73,950.00 to the Suburban Tree Consortium. The Village has worked with the Consortium since 1987 to obtain tree and planting services for spring and fall plantings. This amount will allow for a minimum of 290 trees. This is considerably less that what was planted last year for two reasons: Staff were able to catch up on the replacement schedule with the additional trees purchased in 2004-05, and the tree fine revenue has fallen off this year as compared to last year due to greater compliance by contractors and developers.
The Mayor noted that over 500 trees were planted last year and that the Village Forester said she did not have the staff to do more plantings. He asked if staff has the ability to do more than 290 tree plantings.
Kerstin von der Heide , Village Forester, said it would be challenging to do more plantings. She noted where the new plantings were done and said that because of the weather, staff had to water twice a week. She hopes to get to 290 at a minimum.
Commissioner Schnell asked if the Village is losing parkway trees due to the weather.
Ms. von der Heide said ten trees have died and she has a watch list of marginal trees.
Commissioner Schnell asked if this bid would be sufficient to do new plantings and replace those that died due to the hot weather.
Ms. von der Heide said she will not know until next planting season, although she anticipates being able to replace all the dead trees.
Commissioner Schnell asked Ms. von der Heide to bring this information to the Council during the budget meetings.
Commissioner Urban asked about the planting season and whether some of the plantings could be moved to late summer or fall.
Ms. von der Heide said they plant in fall and spring. She said there is a bigger variety of trees that do better planted in the spring so she aims for a larger number in the spring.
The Mayor noted that staff intends to plant 165 trees in the spring and is advance ordering 104 trees. He asked when the additional trees would be ordered.
Ms. von der Heide said she calls the Consortium in February to add to the order when she has the final numbers.
The Mayor asked if more trees could be added in February.
Ms. von der Heide said they could be, provided the nurseries have the trees. She said she did this last spring.
The Mayor asked if more trees should be added to the advance purchase.
Ms. von der Heide said she is conservative in her estimate in the event there are budget cuts, etc.. She said this allows her some flexibility in her order.
The Mayor said if there are budget cuts they would be for the next budget year. He said he doesn’t want to run the risk of not being able to get trees from the nursery.
Ms. von der Heide said she does not expect a problem. Collectively the 33 members of the Consortium average 5,200 trees in a fiscal year. The nurseries know the Consortium members are a strong buying group and always have extra trees. She noted that all of the members are looking for the same trees.
Commissioner Waldack asked when the cicadas are due and whether they have any effect on early plantings.
Ms. von der Heide said they are expected in 2007, although there were a few out two years ago. They are on a 17-year cycle. She said they will hurt the smaller trees, particularly those with branches under 1” in diameter. She said this has been taken into consideration.
Commissioner Tully said in FY 2004 -05, 523 trees were planted. He complimented staff on a job well done.
John Schofield , 1125 Jefferson Avenue, said this is good and Ms. von der Heide should be congratulated. It is good news to be planting trees and it is even better that they are being planned for, that there are good varieties, and that the Village is saving money. He said he is happy to hear that the contractor record of compliance with preservation of trees is up.
Carol Koutnik , 5400 Park, asked about the Catalpa trees. She said they are hollow trees. She asked if they are suitable for Illinois. She asked for a listing of the trees the Village is considering planting.
Ms. von der Heide said some people request Catalpa trees. She said she would provide a list.
Mr. Baker said that in reviewing the list, it appears that only two Catalpa trees have been order each year for the last five years.
Ms. Koutnik said she would like this taken off in the future.
Contract Award for the Public Works/Fleet Services Facility Floor Maintenance Project (MB-027 & MB-030). Deputy Village Manager Dave Fieldman said this is to authorize execution of a contract with Concare Incorporated for the repair of concrete floors at the Public Works Facility and Fleet Maintenance facility. The budgeted amount was $120,000.00. The bid amount was $116, 451.00. A call for bids was sent to 11 Chicago-area contractors. Four sealed bids were received. He noted this is under budget.
The Mayor asked about the price breakout between the two facilities.
Dave Barber , Director, Public Works, said the cost is $79,400 for the Public Works facility and $37,068 for Fleet Services.
The Mayor asked if this is needed in the Village Hall facility.
Mr. Barber said it is needed as it has not been done in a very long time. He noted that the life of the work is five years.
Active Agenda and Informational Items
Avery Coonley Amendment to Special Use. Deputy Village Manager Fieldman said this is the consideration of a Plan Commission recommendation to approve an amendment to Special Use Ordinance for the Avery Coonley School. In April 2005, a special use amendment and side yard variation was authorized to allow the school to construct an addition with a 17.5 foot side yard setback. Due to an error in a 1991 survey, the addition was built 14.5 feet from the west lot line which was three feet closer than the Village Council approved. The petitioner is requesting administrative relief. The Plan Commission unanimously recommended approval. Staff also recommends approval.
Commissioner Tully said this was a request for a special use and variation of side yard setback that was previously approved, having met the criteria of Sections 28-1902 and 28-1803 of the Zoning Ordinance with respect to the Special Use and Variation. This is a 2.7-foot adjustment to the side yard setback variation. He said he does not think this changes the determination with respect to the criteria having previously been met.
Commissioner Sandack said the integrity of the plans, the concept or the integrity of the variation previously approved have not been compromised in any way. He said he will support this amendment.
Forest Avenue Condos Special Use. The Deputy Village Manager said this is a request to consider the Plan Commission’s recommendation regarding a special use for a residential, multi-family condominium building in the downtown area at 4929 Forest Avenue, and some variations related to parking sizes and off-street parking areas. He asked Keith Sbiral, Director, Planning and Community Development, to provide the background information.
Keith Sbiral , Director, Planning and Community Development, said this is a project for a multi-family housing structure in the downtown. He said the petitioner brought a scale model of the project to tonight’s meeting. The proposal is for a special use in the downtown business district to allow an 18,737 square foot, five-story, 24 unit condominium building. The variations with respect to the off-street parking are for the internal parking structure on the first floor of the building to allow 21.8 foot drive aisles versus the 24 foot minimum requirement, and also to allow up to a minimum parking stall width of 8 feet versus the required 8.5 feet.
Mr. Sbiral said the Plan Commission unanimously recommended approval of the project. Staff did not have grave concerns regarding the parking variations as it is an off-street, internal parking structure. It appears to be a workable plan as far as the internal logistics of the structure. Staff had concerns about the greenspace and architecture of the building. There are some modifications that have been made and shown in the design. He noted that one of the issues raised by the Plan Commission is a listing of other projects the architect has completed. That is available tonight.
Michael Prince , 5157 Main Street, said he is the owner of 4929 Forest LLC . He said he has worked with staff over the past several months to fit in with the existing buildings in Downers Grove. He presented his team.
Commissioner Schnell said she has some serious reservations about the lack of greenspace. She said she understands the greenspace does not have to be provided, but traditionally developers have been asked to provide as much greenspace as possible. She noted the Village has put a considerable amount of money into streetscape in the downtown area. She said the only other five-story buildings on Forest are on the corner and have considerable amount of greenspace in front to reduce the look of the height and massiveness of the building. She asked about more greenspace in the front of the building. She said it appears to be less than five feet in the front. She would like it to match the building next door.
Mr. Prince said there is 12 feet of greenspace across the front of the building, with five feet on the side yards. He said this is very close to the building to the south. The backyard is eight feet on the southeast side and the building will back up to the lot line at the alley on the other side.
Commissioner Schnell said she is concerned about the massive size of the building. She noted it is a ½ acre site. She asked if there are other ways to soften the appearance.
Mr. Prince said he tried to make it look like a residential building. They tried to soften it by bringing the shingles down under the roof, landscaping in the front, colors of the materials, and by the design of the terraces. They tried to shift the terraces such that they do not all look the same. Further, the window configurations have been altered as well. He said he does not see any more that can be done to soften the appearance. He noted that the scale model is quite a bit different from the paper copy.
Regarding parking, Commissioner Schnell said there appears to be no accommodations for guests. She said there is not much on-street parking. She said she anticipates a need for this.
Mr. Prince said half of the units will have two spaces each. He said the west side of Forest Avenue has parking. He said they anticipate most of their buyers will be Downers Grove residents and overnight guests will probably be able to make accommodations with friends and family. Regarding guests staying for a few hours, there should be enough parking on Forest. He said they have made as many parking spaces as possible inside the building. The ten percent variance will allow them to have a few more parking spots.
Commissioner Schnell said a traffic study was done regarding the intersection, the stop sign, trains, traffic, etc. She noted there is only one way to get in and out of the proposed building, which is on Forest, and asked about plans to improve visibility for the residents. She said this is a busy street and she is concerned about pedestrian safety.
Mr. Prince said people should not be coming in and out of their building constantly. He said they have not discussed mirrors or signage, but would work with staff in this regard. Commissioner Schnell reiterated her concern for pedestrian safety.
Commissioner Tully said the petitioner has asked for a special use under Section 28-1902 of the Zoning Ordinance and two variations under Section 28-1802. There is no request for rezoning as the current zoning contemplates this kind of use. Regarding the special use, there are four factors that need to be reviewed. He said he had a question regarding subsection (b), that the use will not be detrimental to the health, safety, morals, or general welfare of persons residing or working in the vicinity or injurious to property values or improvements in the vicinity. He asked if there were traffic or other issues that might fall into that category. Regarding the traffic issue, he said he was told by staff that this would not have a deleterious impact on safety and traffic in the area. He said staff will address this again if there are changes.
With respect to stormwater, Commissioner Tully said he understands that these issues have not been completely resolved, but that the petitioner is required to meet all the stormwater requirements for the site as a condition of approval and before any building permits will be issued.
Mr. Prince said he resubmitted plans recently.
With respect to the request for a variation, Commissioner Tully said the variations are to the driveway aisle going in and out of the parking garage, and the width of the parking stalls. He noted that these variations only affect those in the building. He said he feels the criteria for the variations have been met.
Regarding the architecture, he said there is great development going on in the downtown area. There has always been an intention that projects relate to one another. He said he would appreciate the petitioner making that effort in this project to the extent possible.
The Mayor thanked the petitioner for his presentation. Regarding parking, he said currently no one parks on the west side of Forest. He said he envisioned that visitors will park there. Regarding stormwater, he said the minutes indicate that a resident tried to talk to the petitioner and his consultant regarding civil engineering issues. He encouraged the petitioner to speak with the resident.
The Mayor asked about the Park District donation with regard to the one and two bedroom units. He asked how the storage area figured into this.
Mr. Sbiral said that per the building code it is not a bedroom because it does not have a secondary egress.
Commissioner McConnell said some of her comments are beyond this particular building. Regarding the storage space, it seems very large. She asked if people convert this space into a bedroom. She does not want to see everyone converting this space into a bedroom.
Mr. Sbiral said the closets have been taken out of the storage rooms at the request of Code Services. If the plans show this space as a bedroom upon application of a building or occupancy permit, they would be assessed accordingly. If it is converted after the certificate of occupancy, they would not be assessed.
Commissioner McConnell said she is concerned that there are number of residential developments in the downtown and there is no visitor parking requirement. There will be overnight visitor parking issues. She said there is no overnight parking available at this time. There has been discussion of this from a parking deck perspective. She said she does not want to lose sight of this. She noted this is not an issue particular to this development.
Commissioner McConnell said she was disappointed with how boxy the building looks. She said this is an aesthetic, not a regulatory issue. She urged the petitioner to make it look less boxy.
Mr. Prince said regarding greenspace there is 1,300 square feet of greenspace in the backyard as a terrace for the residents. It is setback 12 to 15 feet.
Commissioner McConnell said it is the front of the building where she is seeking relief and additional character such as additional terracing.
Mr. Prince reiterated that they are changing shingles, soffits, colors and setbacks.
Commissioner McConnell reiterated that she would like another level of changes. She said she does not have a problem with the variations.
Commissioner Sandack said the Council is constrained to talk about the appropriateness of the land use. This use is consistent and was contemplated on the future land use map. It is consistent with what the Council is trying to do on a macro-level with the downtown. He noted that the zoning is not changing. He said the variations sought are immaterial and insignificant. They do not cause any disturbance or health problem. With respect to height and greenspace, there are bigger buildings with less greenspace. In size, scope, dimension and use it is consistent with previous Council discussions. He suggested the Council be mindful of directing questions to land use and land use appropriateness.
Commissioner Waldack asked about the height of the building.
Mr. Sbiral said it is 70 feet, the same as Station Crossing.
Commissioner Waldack agreed with Commissioner Sandack. He said the structure is a box, he wishes there were more greenspace, and he had concerns about the parking. He noted that other projects were approved with less parking. He is concerned that there may not be enough parking as building continues. Regarding aesthetics, he said he does not find the building to be terribly attractive. He said this is an example of the need for the Architectural Review Board to get going.
The Mayor asked about the Design Review Board.
Village Attorney Enza Petrarca said the Design Review Board meets to review signs and awnings in the downtown.
Commissioner Waldack said that even though this is on private property, it is on the train line and many people will see it and it will reflect on the entire Village. They will get an impression of the Village based on whether they like this building. He said in terms of the variance requests, he sees nothing that would prevent him from approving this.
Commissioner Schnell said much of this discussion is a policy issue. There is no requirement for greenspace in the downtown now, but the Council could establish such a policy. She suggested staff develop guidelines for future development. She would like tools to require greenspace. She said the Council has opportunities to look at issues with the development coming into the downtown and can think about what the Council wants the downtown to look like. These are policy decisions and are outside of this particular development.
Commissioner Sandack said he disagrees. He said there is nothing unique about this project that should change the way the Council looks at development. The community interest in this project is confined to the land use and zoning requirements. The location does not extend private property rights to the community on a large scale. He said the Council should confine itself to land use, planning, zoning, and not get into aesthetics. This is not a policy issue.
In response to Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Sandack said Station Crossing was public land.
Commissioner Tully suggested this conversation take place at another time.
Commissioner Schnell said she wants to open this up with the Council and staff as something to pursue in the future.
Commissioner Waldack asked if a date should be set for this discussion.
Commissioner Tully suggested it be brought up under New Business.
Mr. Fieldman said staff has been anticipating this discussion and has been preparing draft downtown design guidelines. These will be available in a few months to provide a frame for this issue.
In response to the Mayor, Attorney Petrarca said we can require that the seller acknowledge and disclose that this property is in a TIF district and SSA .
In response to Commissioner Urban, Ms. Petrarca said he could not comment on this item.
State of the Economy. Deputy Village Manager Fieldman said the Council has adopted the goal to develop and maintain a balanced, long-range financial plan for operations and capital improvements. He described a four-step implementation process including: 1) Analyze the local economy; 2) State of the Village’s finances; 3) Long-range financial plan; and 4) Annual budgeting process. He said tonight he would be addressing the first step – analyzing the local economy.
Mr. Fieldman said staff would provide background information, land use and vacancy rates, real estate and tax base rate, the employment base, the retail environment and conclusions and possible next steps.
The goals of the study are to analyze and understand the attributes of the local economy; use the results to create and implement an economic development strategy; and use the results to assist the Village in long-range financial planning and visioning.
Regarding background data, Mr. Fieldman said the Village is 14.48 square miles with a population of 50,000 people and a median age of 39.1 years. There are 18,979 households with a median household income of $65,539.00 and a median home value of $205,900.00. The average home price is $309,885 and home ownership is at 79.2%.
Mr. Sbiral said that information from the Downers Grove GIS is that 68% of the land is for residential use, 19% for commercial use, and 5% for industrial use. Vacancy rates are lower than DuPage County as a whole. The office vacancy trend is at 20%. The retail vacancy is low. Vacancy is higher in older shopping centers. Office vacancy rates are low compared to the region. Industrial vacancy rates are very low compared to the region, but there is a small supply of space in the Village.
Mr. Baker discussed the real estate tax base and tax rate. He said the tax base is divided into three main categories: 70% is residential at $1.3 billion; 26% is commercial and 4% is industrial. He compared this to the DuPage County real estate tax base wherein 47% is industrial and 41% is residential.
Mr. Baker reviewed the Village’s real estate tax base over the last five years. The investment in residential growth is much more dramatic than in either commercial or industrial as demonstrated by the percentage growth over prior years.
The Mayor said at the time of the levy, there was an overall increase of seven per cent in the equalized valuation assessment (EAV). The commercial EAV was flat. He asked as to the reason commercial has not been growing.
Mr. Baker said it corresponds to the high vacancy rates.
Mr. Baker then compared the real estate tax base and land use. He noted that there was relative consistency, although the EAV for commercial is relatively higher compared to the land area indicating economic strength.
Mr. Baker reviewed the rates for the taxing bodies within the Village. In 2004, the Village’s tax rate made up 8.8% of the tax bill. He compared the Village’s tax rate to a number of neighboring communities.
Mr. Baker reviewed by stating that the tax burden and land use are generally consistent. Residential land is bearing an increasing tax burden; commercial and industrial land are bearing a decreasing tax burden. Downers Grove real estate tax rate is low compared to other DuPage County municipalities.
Mr. Sbiral reviewed the employment base. He noted there is a strong service sector at 46%, retail makes up 25% of the employment base, and manufacturing and finance were each at 14%. He noted that unemployment dropped from 5.2% to 5.1% from FY 2004 to FY 2005 . Regarding employers, Mr. Sbiral said Advocate/Good Samaritan Hospital is the largest employer in the Village.
Mr. Sbiral reviewed daytime population figures. He said staff estimates 39,000 non-resident employees, 36,000 residents staying in the Village and 5,000 non-resident students. He said they estimate 10,000 to 15,000 visitors and non-resident shoppers for a total daytime population of 90,000 to 95,000.
The Mayor said he thinks there are more than 39,000 non-resident employees in the Village.
Mr. Sbiral said the daytime population is much higher than the number of residents. He reviewed recent major employment events including the loss of Spiegel and relocation of the Sara Lee corporate headquarters.
In conclusion Mr. Sbiral said the Village is a large employment center with an employment base that consists primarily of professional service and retail employees. The Village has a diverse mix of daytime population. Arterial streets carry a high volume of through traffic.
Mr. Fieldman reviewed the retail environment. He noted that there are 515 retailers in the Village with $1.2 billion of total taxable sales. He reviewed retail sales by category. The highest three categories are automotive at 22%, furniture/household/radio at 19%, and drugs and miscellaneous retail at 19%.
Regarding retail sales surplus and leakage, Mr. Fieldman said Downers Grove residents spend $694 million in retail purchases and businesses sold $1.2 billion in retail items, resulting in a retail sales surplus ratio of 1.80, a strong sales surplus. Mr. Fieldman presented a slide depicting the trade surplus and leakage.
Mr. Sbiral discussed the retail landscape. He said regional shopping centers are located just outside the Village limits. The Village has only five major stores in the general merchandise category. He reviewed significant retail events including attractions/expansions such as Luxury Motors, Fry’s Electronics, Sam’s Liquors, See’s Candy, Gartner Saab, Expo Design Center, Wickes Furniture, and Grant’s Appliances. He also reviewed losses of Comp USA , Bill Kay Chevrolet, Service Merchandise and sales tax of Hines Lumber. In conclusion Mr. Sbiral said the Village has a strong overall trade surplus. The trade surplus is in high dollar sectors. The Village is weak/underserved in general merchandise. Strong competition within the trade area has a negative impact.
Mr. Baker reviewed the strengths and weaknesses of the local economy. Mr. Sbiral reviewed the opportunities and threats
Mr. Fieldman said this information can be used to establish measurable goals and to focus on enhancing strengths, counteracting weaknesses, acting on opportunities and minimizing threats. He said the state of the Village finances will be the subject of the next retreat.
The Mayor said this presentation provided useful information. Regarding Hines Lumber, he said St. Charles implemented a lumber tax and exempted Home Depot. He said he believes a lawsuit has been filed by Hines against St. Charles. He asked for the status of the case. He said people in Downers Grove who purchase lumber from Hines believe their sales tax dollars are staying in Downers Grove when, in fact, they are going to Buffalo Grove. He said staff may want to have a conversation with Hines Lumber to inform Downers Grove builders that their tax dollars are not staying in the Village.
Commissioner Sandack said this was a very informative presentation. He thanked the team for their work and suggested that the information be made available on the Village’s website. He said this is one step in the process toward a long-range financial plan and a tool to use in the annual budget.
Commissioner Schnell said a wealth of information was presented. She also suggested putting this on the website.
Commissioner McConnell thanked staff for their work. She asked about the 20% office vacancy rate.
Mr. Fieldman said it is a little lower than DuPage County in general. He clarified that if a building is leased it is considered occupied.
Regarding industrial rates, Commissioner McConnell noted there may be a discrepancy between this report and the recommendation of the joint Strategic Planning/EDC committee.
Commissioner Urban said this was a great presentation with simplistic terms. It provides a clear road map.
Commissioner Tully offered his thanks for the work put into this presentation. He said he appreciated the review of the strengths and assets and noted that the Village must plan for change as strengths and assets will not stay that way without work. The joint EDC and Plan Commission said that industrial is probably declining and it should be converted into commercial property. Regarding the weaknesses and threats, he said this points out the need to do planning and to ameliorate them. He noted that this presentation provides the foundation that builds on other factors and ultimately drives the budget process.
Commissioner Waldack extended his appreciation to the staff. He said this was a good first step.
The Mayor noted that $1.2 billion in total taxable sales is probably a little low as there are substantial non-taxable sales.
The Mayor asked for information on the five major stores. Mr. Fieldman said he would get a report to the Council.
STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS
Public Services Committee
Commissioner Schnell said they will meet on September 20 to discuss the bike plan.
Public Safety Committee
Commissioner McConnell said they met this morning. They focussed on the Police Department and discussed the accreditation process and benefits. She said the Police Department feels there are significant benefits to continuing the reaccreditation process including attraction/retention component, checks and balances not provided in other ways, and acknowledging that accreditation signifies professional excellence to residents and others in the community. There is also benefit in terms of litigation activities as it relates to creating policies and procedures that meet a national standard. The Police Department feels the work is worth the time and effort. Further, it provides transparency to the public.
Commissioner McConnell said they reviewed the first quarterly overtime status report. The Police Department is currently below the budgeted amount. She said goals and objectives for 2005 are on target. They discussed booking fees and towing seizure fees. She said they would bring the administrative hearing officer information to the Council in mid-September. She said Chief Porter has met with all staff in the last four months. He will share his report.
The Mayor said the Police Department put together a report in response to the new law regarding profiling. He said this was an unfunded mandate that cost $100,000. The Mayor asked the cost of staff time for accreditation activities.
Commissioner McConnell said they discussed this but did not ask for additional detail because much of what is involved in the accreditation process is the policies and procedures they would be doing anyway.
Finance and Administrative Committee
Commissioner Tully said the Committee met this evening and was joined by the rest of the Council as well as members of the public. The topic was a discussion of the financial software project. A presentation was made by our consultant, Leonard McCaw of Group 1 Solutions, who was hired to make sure that the Village gets what we need. Mr. McCaw explained the process and the six phases of the project including: 1) Identifying our needs and wants; 2) Request for Qualifications (RFQ); 3) Request for Proposals (RFP); 4) Analyzing RFPs; 5) Demonstrations of the software packages onsite; and 6) Entering into negotiations. He said we are between steps 3 and 4. He thanked the Technology Commission and others for being part of this process.
Mr. Baker announced the Amnesty Day program schedule. It will be September 26, 27, 28 & 29 on regularly scheduled collection days. The requirement is that with three stickers one can put out an unlimited number of containers. He said this will be widely publicized.
Mr. Fieldman said the McCollum Park building is scheduled for construction start in early September. Staff has been receiving customer service requests for a property in the 4500 block of Prince Street. Demolition should start later this week.
The Mayor noted that the Plan Commission will meet on September 12, 2005. He asked that those who attended the neighborhood meeting be notified.
ATTORNEY ’S REPORT
Village Attorney Enza Petrarca said she was presenting three items to the Council: 1) A resolution expressing intent to continue participation in the Suburban Tree Consortium and to authorize certain purchases for FY 2005 /2006; 2) An ordinance authorizing an amendment to an existing special use to authorize an increase in the variation for an existing school; and 3) An ordinance authorizing a special use for a multi-family condominium unit located at 4929 Forest Avenue with variations.
Bill Barrett , 4911 Highland, said he was concerned about curbs. Since streets have been resurfaced, the curbs are too high for wheelchairs. Some people have to use the street instead of the sidewalk. He specifically noted that the intersection at Highland and Warren by the Tivoli Theater needs to be looked at.
The Mayor asked Mr. Barrett to let staff know of any other locations.
Mike Millette , Assistant Director, Public Works, said staff has to follow ADA regulations. He said he would investigate this matter.
Carol Koutnik , 5400 Park, referred to an article in The Wall Street Journal on Friday, August 19 regarding plants. She asked for a list of plants that are not considered good for this area. She said many of these plants are still being sold.
The Mayor asked Ms. von der Heide to follow up on this.
Ms. Koutnik asked when the Council will be discussing residential redevelopment. The Mayor told her this goes before the Plan Commission in September for a public hearing.
Commissioner Sandack thanked Mary Scalzetti for a successful bike race. He said the benefits outweigh the inconveniences. This represents a public display of Downers Grove on national TV. He noted that the budget process will start in September and invited residents to participate.
Commissioner Waldack said he is a proponent of people showing up for the budget process. Regarding the tax rate, he noted that the second highest tax rate in Downers Grove is from District 99. He said there is a controversy regarding land and District 99. He said if people are concerned about taxes they should look into this and weigh in as appropriate.
Regarding the earlier discussion about architecture and aesthetics, it seemed as though there was an interest in going further with this. He asked if the Council is interested in pursuing this. He said he is concerned about the impression a community makes from a train window.
The Mayor suggested the Commissioners write down specific issues and submit them to the Village management team.
Commissioner Waldack said he spoke with an elected official from another community where the brick color of a building was decided upon by the Plan Commission. It was later determined that a different color was being used and it had to be torn down and replaced.
Commissioner Schnell asked if the Council wants to see more greenspace in the downtown. She said she was also concerned about parking. She thanked all those who attended the bike race. She thanked Mary Scalzetti and Mike Baker for their work in addressing an issue of opening businesses on Main Street.
The Mayor agreed with Commissioner Schnell. He said Mike Baker was very helpful in resolving the issue.
Commissioner McConnell said the bike race went very well. She said it does draw people from other areas.
Commissioner Urban thanked all who worked on the bike race. He said he has celebrated this event for 19 years. He said there are other bike races, but only one Pro-Criterium race in the State of Illinois. As a business owner he can ask the Village to bring foot traffic in front of his business, but then it is his responsibility to attract those people into his store. He found it appalling to walk down Main Street and see stores with signs in the windows saying they were closed due to the bike race.
Commissioner Tully thanked staff for their work on the bike race. He thanked the members of the Community Grants Commission for meeting with the Council on Saturday following the Coffee with the Council. He said the Council needs to decide which board to meet with next.
Commissioner Tully said the Council has an agenda to identify topics under discussion and most people would not have realized that, based on the agenda, tonight’s discussion would involve a philosophical discussion regarding revising the downtown code. For that reason he suggested this be brought up under New Business. He said he is concerned that the Council identify the issues they wish to discuss and not just have general categories of architecture and aesthetics. He also noted that the Council must be mindful of differences between public and private property.
Commissioner Tully noted that at the outset of the meeting, Mr. Fieldman referenced changes in the seating arrangement. Commissioner Tully said Rick Ginex took a position in Brookfield. He thanked Mr. Ginex for three decades of service to the Village of Downers Grove and extended best wishes to Mr. Ginex and his wife.
The Mayor said a bike race was a tremendous event. He noted that TIAA /CREF sponsored the event and a race uniform was presented.
Mary Scalzetti, Director, Tourism & Events, said that the sponsors gave the Mayor the team jersey.
The Mayor noted that the contract ends this year.
Ms. Scalzetti said the dates for next year will probably be August 18 and 19, 2006.
The Mayor said he heard that the turnaround area by the Post Office was very rough.
Ms. Scalzetti said the J. Kyle Braid group conducted economic impact surveys and will compile the results. She also thanked John Tucker for his work.
The Mayor proclaimed September 5-9, 2005 as National Payroll Week.
There being no further discussion, the Workshop meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
April K. Holden Village Clerk tmh