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 Manager Cara Pavlicek; Village Attorney Enza Petrarca; Village Clerk April Holden
Visitors: Press: Kevin Stahr, Downers Grove Reporter; Flynn Murphy, The Sun Residents: Susan Schooch, 5805 Chase; Jeff Agner and Jayne Myczek, 5714 Chase; Bill Wrobel, 7800 Queens Court; Paul Koutnik, 5400 Park Avenue; Frank Falesch, 820 Prairie Avenue; Brian Berg, 4935 Highland; Christine Fregeau, 1918 Elmore Avenue; John Schofield, 1125 Jefferson Avenue; Dave Dahm, 6900 Camden Road; Larry Rosol, 6556 Berrywood; Andrea Crowley, Griffin & Gallagher, 10001 S. Roberts Road, Palos Hills; Tom Sisul, 5120 Main Street; Dan Loftus, 4704 Main Street; Tom Kotovsky, 6110 Springside Avenue; John Helander, Northbrook; Suzanne Shover, 6120 Springside Avenue; Urvi Thanki, 7625 Wakefield Drive, Darien; Gordon Goodman, 5834 Middaugh; Michael Prince, 5157 Main Street Staff: Police Chief Bob Porter; Deputy Village Manager Dave Fieldman; Assistant Village Manager Mike Baker; Director of Community Development Don Rosenthal; Director of Public Works Dave Barber; Director of Social & Health Services Andy Matejcak; Fire Chief Phil Ruscetti; Director of Human Resources Greg Zimmerman; Director of Marketing & Media Doug Kozlowski; Assistant Director of Public Works Mike Millette; Director of Financial Services Rita Trainor; Jon Hall, Stormwater Administrator
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.
Public Hearing: Home Rule Sales Tax
Mayor Krajewski called the public hearing to order at 6:35 p.m. He said this public hearing has been called by the Village Council to consider the proposed amendment to the Home Rule Sales Tax ordinance. Notice of this hearing was published in the Downers Grove Reporter. He summarized the procedures to be followed in the public hearing. He asked Cara Pavlicek, Village Manager, to provide an overview of the proposed Home Rule Sales Tax amendment.
Village Manager Cara Pavlicek said there is an existing half-cent sales tax which will sunset at the end of March. The current proposal before Council is the adoption of an ordinance to rededicate the Home Rule Sales Tax to continue after April 1, 2006 for the purpose of funding of capital improvements programs for infrastructure projects. Documents have been provided to both the Council and the public explaining the need for a funding source to provide for the maintenance of the community infrastructure.
Commissioner Tully said this has been discussed previously. He explained that the purpose of having a sunset clause after a three-year period was to allow the Council after that period to determine whether or not to continue the sales tax. The intent is to reinstitute that tax. He said this would be a continuation, and not an increase, with the fund being dedicated exclusively to capital projects such as roads, sidewalks and stormwater projects. Commissioner Tully pointed out that the experience over the past three years has been that the vast majority of the tax is paid by people who live outside of the Village, shifting the burden from property tax increases to utilizing the Home Rule sales tax. According to information from the Downers Grove Chamber of Commerce, the tax has had no detrimental effects upon Downers Grove businesses or their competitiveness. He noted that there are some other communities that are attempting to institute higher home rules sales taxes. He thanked the staff for their efforts.
Commissioner Schnell said as the Village approaches its 175th anniversary, they are learning that the aging infrastructure needs more funding than could be provided without the Home Rule Sales Tax. She said they will need to prioritize the projects. She said that the infrastructure is not just used by the residents, but also by visitors. Approximately 75% of the Home Rule Sales Tax is paid by non-residents, and this is a fair way of distributing the costs of the infrastructure among all users.
Commissioner Sandack said the reason he likes user-based taxes or fees is that it goes to those who wish to use the services. Property taxes are an across-the-board concept. In this instance the revenue is captured from those who use and make purchases in the Village and use our infrastructure. This is not a panacea for all funding, but it is a dedicated source of revenue and will go for infrastructure improvements.
1) Bill Wrobel , 7800 Queens Court, said that the Village Council discussed the Home Rule Sales Tax in December in light of the needs of the capital fund, and at that time they also discussed the possibility of raising the tax. Then in January it was mentioned that the Council intends to maintain the present tax. He asked for clarification and whether the revenue is sufficient so they will not need to increase the tax.
The Mayor responded that staff provides options and calculates what the tax will generate in dollars. Multiple scenarios are presented and the half-cent figure seems sufficient for the needs of the Village over the next few years.
Mr. Wrobel asked how the percentage of taxes generated by non-residents is calculated. The Mayor said there was a Workshop presentation in which staff reviewed which service areas attract more people, as well as deficiencies. A base-line study was conducted.
Deputy Village Manager Dave Fieldman commented further that the information was part of the State of the Local Economy address last summer, and was based on research conducted by a third-party source.
2) Frank Falesch , 820 Prairie, said that it is also possible for non-home rule villages to have a sales tax with voter approval.
3) Chris Fregeau , 1918 Elmore, said that any revenue source that minimizes the impact on property taxes is a good thing. This tax generates $4-$4.5 million. She noted that a neighboring community was reported recently looking at a home rule sales tax as a ballot issue that is twice that of the Village. Infrastructure and capital projects in the past were funded by telecommunication and utility taxes which did not cover the needs. She thanked the Council for their diligence in using this source of revenue and keeping it to a half cent.
Commissioner Waldack said that Mr. Wrobel might have been referring to a suggestion the Commissioner made some time back. When the Home Rule Sales Tax was put in with the sunset clause, Commissioner Waldack said he was in favor of that, and he was looking forward to the sunset of the tax. When it was pointed out that this could fund the infrastructure he also agreed. Mr. Waldack said he suggested doubling the Home Rule Sales Tax and abating ¼ of the property tax. He approves keeping the sales tax at its current level as long as it is for infrastructure.
Commissioner Tully said that there was discussion with respect to options. He said every year staff provides options to the Council on many issues. The Village is fortunate to have a very diverse revenue stream. He recalled Commissioner Waldack’s suggestions regarding the tax levy. Property tax rates were reduced this year by 5.8% because other revenue sources were doing well. He said it was also discussed about whether the tax levy could be reduced more by increasing the Home Rule Sales Tax; however, it is important to keep balance and not overburden any one area. He noted that the Council abated several tax levies last week precisely because of the good management and the overall revenue streams.
Commissioner Tully, in response to Mr. Falesch’s comment, said it is true that there are non-home rule communities that have sales taxes, and often this is done after they have maxed-out other taxes.
Mayor Krajewski said that over the last 35 years there has been a strong commitment to keep property taxes low. The Village is nearly 175 years old, and that old infrastructure must be maintained. Three years ago, when the economy took a down turn, the Council was presented with many choices such as eliminating services, cutting out one of the fire stations, evaluating funding gaps, raising property taxes, and instituting Home Rule Sales Tax. It was to be a short term measure. He said that many economic factors have turned around and the Village is holding a line on its expenses. There has been a tremendous decline in the telecommunications taxes given the use of inexpensive cell phones, internet services, etc. To keep property values high, the Village needs an infrastructure that is maintained and improved. He sees this as a good thing to move this revenue stream to capital improvements. The Home Rule Sales Tax has been so successful that the Village can take money from the general fund and use it for other purposes. He will support this.
There being no further comments, the Mayor adjourned the public hearing at 7:01 p.m.
Consent Agenda Items
Bid: Fairview & Maple Traffic Signal Modernization, Project TR-005. There were no questions on this bid.
Bid: Purchase of Two Public Works Trucks. There were no questions on this bid.
Fee Waiver Request from Park District for Lyman Woods Streambank Stabilization Phase II.
Commissioner Sandack asked for a history on these items. The Manager said the policy has a benchmark level. This is a significant project for the Park District and requires Council review. Commissioner Sandack said he assumed that there is a reciprocal policy for the Village.
The Mayor said he would also like more information and asked that staff provide the policy information history to the newer Council members. Also fees were realigned below the neighboring communities.
Commissioner Tully said this policy was enacted in a spirit of intergovernmental cooperation. He then asked about Fairview Village and the Park District situation, and asked for more information on this.
Manager Pavlicek noted that there is an outstanding issue on Fairview Village. She said staff would provide additional information, and suggested this be Workshopped again.
Mayor Krajewski discussed some meetings he had with Fairview Village representatives regarding their long-range plans. Their current rehabilitation building is under consideration for possible renovation or reconstruction since there is an extreme demand for residential living space. They also would like to have a park area behind them. He added that Fairview Village seems to be the only such facility in the Village that had to make a financial donation to the Park District. He said there are many questions yet to be answered.
The Mayor said another issue is the streambank project for Lyman Woods. The Park District has spent a lot of money regarding Lyman Woods maintenance. He believes the Forest Preserve District should be more active in these expenses as well, as this is a costly project to maintain. There are three owners of that property.
Dr. Gordon Goodman , 5834 Middaugh, said he had several points to raise which the Council has discussed. He said the intergovernmental cooperation is an important thing and he is happy to see the three agencies working cooperatively. There appears to be good will on all sides. This particular project is to improve public land which is owned jointly by the Village, the Park District and the Forest Preserve. The improvement is a capital improvement rather than an operating improvement. He said it would be useful to bring the tri-partite agreement for Lyman Woods to the attention of newer Council members. He recalls that the agreement provides that the other owners may, but are not compelled to, participate in the capital improvements. He outlined the costs that the Park District has had with regard to this, adding that the Park District has been successful in obtaining grants to assist in this stabilization project. He recommended that the Village not only waive the fee, but also build into its own capital budget some participation with the Park District as an example to the Forest Preserve District to build participation into their budget. Lastly, Dr. Goodman said that the issue of the donations for the Parks and School District associated with approved developments is a feature required by the Municipal Code, Chapter 20, Section 300 which sets the fee size and requirements. It is, in his opinion, timely for the Council to review this policy. The Municipal Code sets an equivalent value for land which is $115,000/acre for residential land and $150,000/acre for commercial land. He thinks this is less that 1/5 of the current value. He thinks the agencies need to work out what is a current reasonable impact fee.
The Mayor said he thought that the schools and Park District would have to come to the Village to ask for an increase in the impact fees.
Village Attorney Enza Petrarca said that is typically how it’s done, although it is a Village ordinance.
The Mayor further mentioned that Good Samaritan Hospital and Midwestern University have done a lot of work on their sites for stormwater detention. He would like to see a plan for the entire area. According to his conversations with Lavoie, there may be something the Village can do in the whole area to address stormwater and how it is directed into Lyman Woods.
Commissioner Schnell commented that when Opus was originally approved, the middle section of land was to have been designed in such a way that the water quality was to be purified to some extent prior to reaching the Woods. She asked if there is something not working as it was originally intended in terms of the amount of runoff and the purity. She suggested looking at that agreement and the provisions which were included.
Mayor Krajewski also suggested looking at the County Stormwater program for funds for streambank stabilization.
Tom Sisul , 5120 Main Street, said that this improvement on the streambank reinforcement benefits all three property owners. The other owners may not be required to undertake this, but it may be equitable to do so. With regard to the waiver of building permit fees, this issue came up a few years ago in regard to the Park District as well as St. Mary’s and other petitioners who wished fee waivers. At that time, the Council treated the non-profit agencies the same as other governmental agencies.
Mr. Sisul then said that he was present on behalf of Fairview Village. The issue there involves a conservation easement and is a quality of life issue. The Village has maintained public land, which has to remain open to the public. Sometimes there are visitors who are not following what would be considered traditional lifestyles, which has been alarming to the Village residents. In trying to find a way to rectify this situation it was found that Fairview Village was the only facility of its type required to make this type of payment. Equity is the issue. They would appreciate it if this were looked at more carefully. It is a question of the quality of life for these residents, and there have been many fears generated as a result of people on the property whom the residents fear. They want to get control of the situation.
The Mayor said that the Village is in partnership for Lyman Woods with the Park District and the Forest Preserve, and although the Village is not required to participate, he suggested that the Village should at least look into this further.
Contract Extension: Office Supply Purchases. There were no questions.
Amendment of Grant Agreement between the Village and Metra. There were no questions.
DuPage County Final Plat of Subdivision.
Commissioner Tully said he had questioned staff on this item because it is part of DuPage County, and is not in the Village. Given the proximity of this development, the County looks to the Village with respect to its concerns regarding protecting the public safety, health and welfare. He said that the staff has provided comments regarding making this plan better. This is only the Village’s opinion. He said that based on the fact this parcel may someday be within the corporate limits, the County is seeking the Village’s opinion. Commissioner Tully asked if this were in the Village under Village Ordinance and came in as R-1, would it be rezoned R-3, which Mr. Fieldman confirmed. Commissioner Tully said that assuming it was Village R-3, the lot sizes proposed exceed what is required by the Village’s R-3 zoning, and Mr. Fieldman confirmed that as well.
Commissioner Tully asked whether any exceptions would be required. Mr. Fieldman said this has not been analyzed at that level. He added that they are proposing to connect to the Village’s water system which requires a preannexation agreement. If there is support to bring this forward, the staff will prepare the preannexation agreement and hold this for public hearing.
Commissioner Sandack said that the annexation agreement is the one concept over which the Village could have control. If they are seeking Village water it gives the Village the ability to make sure the project does comply. Once annexed they would also be on the sidewalk matrix. He asked whether the Village can ask them to contribute to sidewalks. Mr. Fieldman said staff will do so.
Commissioner McConnell said that it is expected these will annex into the Village within the next 20 years. She said that the Village should see if there are any things that will be gross exceptions or misalignments. Mr. Fieldman responded that staff has not looked at the plan in that detail. Commissioner McConnell said she believes they need to do so. Mr. Fieldman said that the property is not currently contiguous to the Village. The Mayor noted that annexation may never occur.
Commissioner Tully said it would still be worthwhile knowing about any exceptions required or involved in the development, based on the information which is available to the Village.
Jane Myczek , 5714 Chase, said she knew that the Village had limited involvement in this project, but she wanted to reiterate the concerns of the Downers Grove Plan Commission. Regarding the 59th Street extension they would like to see a more definitive dead-end to assure that it would not be connected to Leonard. The concern is traffic safety for the children. They also felt there was not sufficient stormwater planning, and that the development did not fit in with the character of the neighborhood. She said that the current dead-end may not meet the Village’s turning radius requirements for emergency vehicles and the plans do not meet the Village’s flooding/stormwater requirements. She added that Lisle Township Highway Commissioner Dow does not want to see 59th Street go through. She would like the Village to convey its concerns. Ms. Myszek encouraged the Council to bring this information to its Plan Commission to prepare it for the potential problems that could arise if this property comes into the Village.
Mr. Fieldman said that he understands that this is at an administrative process in the County rather than staff level.
John Helander , 666 Dundee, Northbrook, said he is an attorney representing the petitioner. This subdivision was approved by DuPage County in December 2005 with the plan as presented. He said that Woodridge has already signed off on this particular proposal. The average lot size is 18,000 square feet which is almost double what the Village requires in an R-3 District. There has been an ordinance approved by the County.
The Mayor asked why the Village has not heard about this until after the fact. He said he would like to see the Ordinance. Mr. Helander said they have attempted to comply with the residents’ concerns. They have no desire to improve 59th Street any more than required, nor to extend it. He indicated that the County Stormwater and Engineering are still under review. The Village has an opportunity to sign off on this as it is within 1-1/2 miles within the Village’s limits, and within the Village of Downers Grove’s boundary line agreement with the Village of Woodridge.
Susan Schooch , 5805 Chase, said that the Village’s purview here is public safety. She discussed the dead end and referenced the Plan Commission minutes. Ms. Schooch said the terminus shown for 59th Street is at Leonard. She was referencing a site plan. She thinks they should leave the character of Janes Street wooded. The developer would have to re-engineer their plan which she believes they want to avoid. She said that the Village Council has the right to ask them to do that, and can send the request back to the Plan Commission. She has no problem with the five lots, but would at least like it to be esthetically acceptable, and come in off of Leonard rather than Janes.
Jeff Agner , 5714 Chase, said that the preliminary plat of approval has been approved for sizing of the lots. It is before the County March 16 for final approval, and the County still has issues to address. He said that the County is speaking with Commissioner Dow about the extension of 59th Street, and he feels this is not over yet. He noticed that the public notice did not reference the location of this development. He recommended this be postponed so that neighbors know what is happening. Mr. Agner said that the neighbors are trying to keep the feel of their neighborhood and feel this is a neighborhood that some of the Council members have dismissed. They would like to have single family homes in their neighborhood, and they do not want their homes to decrease in value. Approval of this proposed subdivision is unacceptable. They see three 100 foot lots fronting on Janes as reasonable, and not the proposed five lots. In order to access five lots they would need improvements of the right-of-way. The extension of 59th Street would only benefit the developer. This is not in the character of their neighborhood. Commissioner Dow is in opposition to this as well. The development is seen as causing severe drainage issues.
The Mayor said that the residents should find out who their County District representative is and talk with the District members and raise these issues with them. He said he would be happy to speak with the District members as well if the residents tell him their District member.
Dr. Gordon Goodman , 5834 Middaugh, said he attended the County’s Planning Commission meeting. Three issues are of concern to him, one of which is procedural. He suggested that when there are issues such as this on the Workshop agenda they should include the File number on the agenda. He asked that the Plan Commission number be used on future agendas as well, so that citizens know what is being discussed. In terms of exceptions, Dr. Goodman said it is his understanding that this would have to come before the Council due to the turning radius for emergency vehicles on 59th Street. That would require a plat revision. He also suggested that it may be inappropriate to continue this as a Consent Agenda item. It seems that this has enough substance and considerations to be addressed to become an Active Agenda item. The residents requested that it be referred back to the Plan Commission for further development, or that the Council at least be responsive to the Plan Commission recommendation.
Manager Pavlicek said that the intention is to obtain additional information for the Council, and develop a pre-annexation agreement. She said it will be Workshopped again on March 28. Staff will provide the Council with the status on the County process.
Commissioner Tully asked for 1) guidance from the Village Attorney regarding the State Statute and interpretation of the Municipal Code; 2) the Chairman’s recommendation regarding the terminus in a lazy “P” or “9” configuration in the context of exceptions; and, 3) information concerning the Village’s ability to tie this development into the water service.
Mr. Helander said that this development is different from some of the surrounding communities. He said that at the Plan Commission meeting one of the Commissioners asked what can be done to deal with this problem. The Village planner, Mr. O’Brien, said this was a no variance subdivision approved by the County, which is where political ties are for this piece of property. Mr. Helander is curious as to the dedicated right-of-way that will be partially used, on a piece of property that is not within the Village limits, and has been preliminarily approved by the County of DuPage. He asked where they stand in terms of a township road versus Village requirements. He sees a political football here. The developer would shorten the entrance on 59th to comply with the request of the Plan Commission and area residents. They have not talked about what kind of dead end it will be. He said there is a stalemate here with a Village that will not patrol the streets, and does not have a “dog in this fight” because it is not going to provide anything other than water service. There is now a design situation for the terminus for 59th, and he sees it being batted back and forth between the two governmental bodies.
Manager Pavlicek said staff is clear with what Council is requesting. She does not think the Village Attorney should be asked to provide an opinion on this at this meeting. This is the first opportunity this governing body has had to review this. The Council has the right to review this, and the staff will get the information to the Council. She explained that although the Plan Commission has reviewed it they are a recommending body, and not a governing body.
Commissioner Schnell said that the Council has the right to protect the health, welfare and safety of its residents and has a right to suggest that a terminus of a street be safe. That is what the residents want as well, and the Council has the right and duty to review this.
Commissioner Urban recommended taking this off of the Consent Agenda and no Council members objected to that recommendation.
Active Agenda and Informational Items
Ordinance Amendment: Chapter 26, Localized Poor Drainage Areas. The Manager asked Deputy Manager Dave Fieldman to address this matter.
Deputy Manager Dave Fieldman said based on input received, staff has recommended two options. He referred to the documents given to the Council. The Code would be revised to eliminate all references to LPDA ’s and the LPDA map would also be eliminated. In its place would be a Village drainage control map identifying areas that might be floodplains. This would eliminate 55 LPDA ’s from the drainage control map. The Ordinance would lower the height of the proposed development from three feet above the flood elevation depth to one foot above the flood elevation. Basically these technical changes would bring the Village more in line with the County Ordinance and eliminate references to LPDA ’s. He said there are two options for enforcement. Option 1 would basically provide funding for the Village to complete formal studies on all potential site-specific flood plains. This would take time and funding in the amount of $310,000 to study and engineer the LPDA ’s. Option 2 recommended by staff is to establish a fund of $35,000 the first year and $25,000 hereafter. If a resident comes in with an issue needing further study, the Village would pay for the engineering study and reduce the impact to the resident.
The Mayor said it seems as though they are changing LPDA ’s to VDC ’s. He asked whether all 150 can be eliminated, and whether they can simply add the ones engineered over the last few years and add them to the County map. That would be his recommendation.
Commissioner Sandack said this is better than the last proposal. He appreciates the efforts of staff. The ordinance is supposed to mirror the DuPage County ordinance. It is similar but more restrictive, so it does not mirror it. There are unintended consequences which are burdensome to the residents. The requirement is to mirror the County ordinance. Commissioner Sandack said he will not vote for Option 1, and he does not prefer Option 2. He prefers being exactly in line with mirroring the County ordinance.
Commissioner Schnell said that there are LPDA ’s in the community and they are not going to go away. She said she views being a full-waiver community somewhat differently, as she sees it as an opportunity to take control of our own destiny. The Village needs an ordinance as strong as the County, but can make it stronger. There are LPDA ’s and they are on a map. She doesn’t like that this is basically changing names. The Village has an obligation to protect all of its residents, including those people next to or near a problem area. She appreciates the fact that there is a $35,000 fund to help individuals pay for the cost of those studies. She’s referring only to individual residents, and not developers. The responsibility is still on the owner to prove that their potential plan will not affect the neighbors. She doesn’t like changing the name because people know what they are. No matter what it’s called it is still there and needs to be identified on the map. People need to know that they have a responsibility not to create a problem for others downstream.
The Mayor asked whether staff can pull out 150 sites and do hydrologic studies. Manager Pavlicek said they can with $310,000. The Mayor asked how they then know that they are LPDA ’s.
Deputy Manager Fieldman said that he challenged Public Works to prove this issue. There have been 32 permit applications where the LPDA issue came into play. Of those 32, four withdrew. Twenty-eight proceeded and all of the studies found that the Village was right and confirmed the presence of an LPDA . Sometimes the flood elevation would fluctuate.
The Manager said that the County ordinance requires that this be done anyway. Mr. Fieldman said that was correct.
Commissioner Urban said that there are more than five applications per year. He asked whether there is enough money for this. Manager Pavlicek said there is assuming economies of scale.
Commissioner McConnell said she can accept Option 2. She believes they should err on the side of putting something on the map since this may be a potential problem about which residents need to know. She sees $35,000 as a good place to start.
Commissioner Tully asked whether the proposed changes will change the FEMA community rating system for the Village. Mr. Fieldman said that perhaps the reduction from three feet to one foot could lower the rating.
Commissioner Tully then asked for confirmation of that. He said there are two issues, the issue of notice and the issue of who pays for the study. The Village stormwater engineer knows of LPDA ’s in the community that will be treated as regulatory floodplains. He asked why not give people notice of this so they can go into it with their eyes wide open. When people find out about this, then the Village has to choose what it will do, such as spending money to assist in the elimination of them all at once, or doing it on an individual basis. He likes Option 2 because it sets aside some funds which may, or may not be spent. If a developer comes in with a subdivision the developer will have to pay for a study. The average resident who simply wants to build an addition could utilize that fund to conduct the study. He believes Option 2 is the best solution given competing factors.
The Mayor asked what if someone is in an LPDA and is not on the map. Mr. Fieldman said that would be included. The Village has never been proven to be wrong on this issue.
Commissioner Waldack said he agrees with Commissions Schnell, Tully and McConnell regarding Option 2. The problem with changing the name is that it makes it difficult from an historical study standpoint. Notice is important. He likes the $35,000 plan and would keep the LPDA map and be up front with residents and give notice.
Commissioner Sandack said that no one is against the notice. Maps don’t provide good notice. The Village has been providing notice and needs to find a better way to provide better notice. Problem areas either comply or do not comply with the County ordinance. If it complies with the County ordinance, it is subject to that ordinance. If it does not, the Village has only made more work and spent more money for something that does not comply with the County ordinance.
Commissioner Urban said that the Village could invest $300,000 in a bus system for 140+ people, but not $300,000 of what may cost literally millions of dollars in identifying LPDA ’s. When he moved into the community, he moved into Prince Pond. The Prince Pond area is no longer buildable. He enjoys ponds, and he has an 18’x20’ koi pond on his lot. He asked whether he has created an LPDA . His back yard does not flood.
Mike Millette , Assistant Director of Public Works, said that man-made ponds aren’t treated as anything regulatory. Commissioner Urban said that the people in Prince Pond area had no idea they lived in an LPDA . His feedback is that he is fine with points 3, 4, and 5. He is not fine with renaming it. He will never support #1, might consider #2, and would like to see Option 3 as mentioned by the Mayor.
The Mayor said that the Village has spent so much time on LPDA ’s to the detriment of other stormwater issues.
Manager Pavlicek said that in drafting the ordinance they will not use the drainage control term, and will use the LPDA in the ordinance.
Ordinance Amendment and Resolution: Recapture Agreement, Farrar Court. There were no questions.
Ordinance: Main Street Rezoning.
Commissioner Tully thanked the staff for the map. He said these two parcels are in an area on the Village’s Future Land Use Planning Map as a downtown transition district classification. It’s recommended as commercial. Mr. Fieldman said it qualifies for rezoning to DT, which is a Downtown Transition district designation.
Commissioner Tully then questioned the point at which the Downtown Transition district ends, pointing out that there are two parcels south of the subject parcels. He also said there was a question raised at the Plan Commission regarding use of the alleys and access issues.
Mr. Fieldman said that the property immediately south of those in question is recommended as commercial in the Future Land Use Map. Regarding access, there are two points of public access, one along Main Street in the front, and a public alley in the rear. According to the Municipal Code, a right-of-way permit is needed for the access use of the alley. Given the fact that the alley goes through a residential district, the Village would prefer access via Main Street. Staff can be directed to deny a permit for access to the alley, and they can direct them to use access via Main Street.
Commissioner McConnell asked if the neighbors across from the alley who have access to their garages would lose their alley access. Mr. Fieldman said that is also under Council control. Manager Pavlicek said the bank has access to the street immediately north of the alley.
Tim McJoynt , attorney for the petitioners, said that the alley is a U-shaped alley about ten feet wide and almost exclusively fenced. There are two or three homes on Lane Place which have exit to the alley. On the Main Street side both parcels have curb-cut access to Main Street and they have access to the alley. He said that the alley use would not be a factor. The bank has no access to the alley, and has an eight-foot privacy fence on both sides of the alley. There has been no discussion of demolition or parking lot use. He explained that the property to the south is for sale, and the application for DT zoning is compliant.
Annexation, Rezoning, and Final Plat of Subdivision with Exceptions: Brian Court Subdivision. The Manager asked Mr. Fieldman to address this item.
Deputy Manager Fieldman said that staff will recommend a name change if this is approved, as there is a Bryan Place already in the Village. He said that there are some exceptions requested. The subject site is encumbered with two issues, one of which is a wetland, with a site specific LPDA . The proposed design takes these two special management areas into account. They have designed a cul-de-sac off of Springside to service the proposed single-family lots. There are exceptions due to the special management areas, one of which is a right-of-way exception. The pavement within the rights-of-way would meet Code completely. The other exceptions have to do with the design of Lots 4 and 7. Lot 4 has a 68 foot width instead of 75 feet, and Lot 7 has a depth of 107 feet instead of 140 feet. Staff studied the surrounding area and said that this proposed development is consistent with other new developments in and around the area. Staff recommends approval of the subdivision, and the Plan Commission also voted unanimously to approve this subject to conditions in the draft resolution.
Commissioner McConnell said she drove this area but did not walk it. She asked about the LPDA and how deep it is.
Andrea Crowley , attorney for the petitioner, said that the wetlands consultant was at the Plan Commission meeting. Their offices are located in Central Illinois. They are proposing that this would not be a dry bottom, but would support natural vegetation in the area. It would not be deep water.
Commissioner McConnell asked about the grade change. Mr. Fieldman said Lot 4 had an elevation of 741.5 feet and 736 feet. Commissioner McConnell asked whether a development agreement will be added to this requirement. Manager Pavlicek said that staff would want that to become a standard practice. Staff felt that the direction from Council was to begin that with new applications coming in. They can discuss the possibilities of this with the developer.
Commissioner Schnell said that the lots with stormwater basins will be owned by a Homeowners’ Association, and asked about the penalties for not adhering to the best management practices. Mr. Fieldman said those conditions would be written into the maintenance agreement. Commissioner Schnell said that the planting takes time and energy to make sure that they replant this as a wetland. She asked if there are plans to put this in ahead of time, and how the developer will insure the drainage system is working before the Homeowners’ Association takes over.
Ms. Crowley responded that they have a consultant who has been working with the Village for over a year. Typically, 75-85% of the homes must be occupied before this is turned over to the Homeowners’ Association.
Commissioner Schnell said that cleaning this out and planting plants native to the wetland can take many years until it takes root. She asked whether this will be the case in this situation. Ms. Crowley said no, she would not say that. The Village could step in based upon any violations. The developer will plant it but will not be around in 7-8 years. They are doing the work based on the recommendations of the consultants.
Commissioner Schnell asked whether the Homeowners’ Association can take care of this. Mr. Fieldman said, yes, if it is done properly and maintained properly. If the Declarations are crafted correctly, this type of situation can be managed well by the Association.
Commissioner Tully said this petition seeks annexation, rezoning and approval of a final subdivision with five exceptions driven by the unique nature of the area. In terms of the annexation, he has no issues. In terms of the rezoning, the zoning around this site is predominately R-3, which would be consistent with the requested rezoning. Regarding the exceptions, Commissioner Tully said that Ordinance Section 20-602© provides the criteria. This is an example of a situation that creates a hardship due to the existence of the wetlands. This is a special management area with wetlands that have to be preserved. All the exceptions requested are driven by this obvious hardship. In his opinion, the requirements for exceptions have been met. He said this is less dense with fewer lots than something the Council approved last week.
Commissioner McConnell asked about the exceptions for streetlights. Mr. Fieldman said that the developer has to meet the photometric requirements of the Village.
Commissioner Sandack said that this is a final plat. He asked whether they have discussed a developer’s agreement, and Mr. Fieldman said that has not been discussed. Commissioner Sandack said that they should be consistent with this policy. He then asked about the quasi-dry bottom and whether the consultant has approved this in all respects. Mr. Fieldman said that the consultant is comfortable with moving forward with this proposal as submitted.
Commissioner Sandack then asked about the outlot situation. He said that they have to be cognizant of the fact that the Homeowners’ Association may fail. Mr. Fieldman said that it appears that this was a collaborative effort on the part of staff and the developer.
Commissioner Tully then addressed the issue of sidewalks on the west side of Springside Avenue. The petitioner has verbally agreed to install the sidewalks; however, he would like to see it in writing as part of the Subdivision Improvement Agreement.
Attorney Petrarca said that item regarding the developer’s agreement will be back to the Council as an amendment to the Municipal Code.
The Mayor asked if the sidewalks in front of the two parcels will connect to other sidewalk. Mr. Fieldman said they would not connect. The Mayor said that the rest of Springside is unincorporated. Mr. Fieldman said they are working on a subdivision adjacent to this, which would connect the system to 63rd Street, and if that were to be approved, the sidewalks would connect.
Commissioner Schnell asked whether, because of the proximity of the lots in the cul de sac to the wetlands, there will be certain caveats regarding the use of lawn care products that could kill the wetlands. Mr. Fieldman said he is aware of those issues and will look into it. That will be included in the agreement.
Gordon Goodman , 5834 Middaugh, said he supports use of this method of preserving wetlands. There is a particular hardship in this situation. This is a good use of the land to preserve this natural resource. It is a model for treating exceptions in the future.
Dr. Goodman referenced the donation to Districts 58, 99 and the Park District. He asked if the donation has to be paid before the building permit is issued.
The Mayor said it has to be paid in full before the permit is issued.
Frank Falesch , 820 Prairie, said it is unfair to have one owner responsible for the detention. He asked about sidewalks on a street with no curbs and gutters. He referenced areas with sidewalk in front of only one or two homes.
Dave Barber , Director, Public Works, said streets are taken off the matrix if there is sidewalk on one side of the street.
Mr. Falesch responded that there is no sidewalk on either side of the street.
The Mayor asked staff to look into this matter.
Mr. Falesch reiterated that he thinks the association should be responsible for wetlands.
Suzy Shover , 6120 Springside, said the current plan will clean up the area. She said it resembles a garbage area, and now attractive homes will be built. She said she is concerned because Springside currently has 22 homes and this will add ten new houses with the potential of five on the other side and four homes on 63rd Street. This will increase traffic and with narrow streets, this will create problems. Regarding pedestrian traffic, she said there is no contiguous sidewalk on either side of the street. The street is heavily traveled by South High School students as well as used by the track students. She requested that the Council direct staff to find funds for continuing the sidewalk.
The Mayor said this is a Township road. He said only two houses that are one the east side are in the Village. He said the Village will try to work with the Township.
Ordinance: Main & Maple & Redevelopment Agreement. The Manager said staff has received a request for continuation of this matter, and will bring it back in March.
Ordinance: Special Use, Parking and Drive Aisle Width Variations for Forest Avenue Condos.
Deputy Village Manager Fieldman said the Council previously approved a Special Use and parking variations for size of parking space and drive aisle width at this location for 24 units. The petitioner has revised the plans to add four more units and adjacent parking to bring the total number of parking spaces to 42, with a parking ratio of 1.5. The original front yard setback was 17 feet; the proposed front yard setback is 12 feet. Staff recommends approval as did the Plan Commission.
The Mayor noted that the rear yard setback is larger in the revised plan than in the original plan.
Mr. Fieldman said there would be a jog and that one area of the rear yard setback would be larger.
Commissioner Schnell said she has a problem with less green space in front of the building.
Michael Prince , 5157 Main Street, petitioner, said he does not know why staff changed this. Mr. Fieldman said he would look into this matter.
Commissioner Schnell asked about the distribution of parking.
Mr. Prince said it would be up to each individual buyer.
Commissioner McConnell said she is concerned about the building being moved forward. She asked about architectural changes to the front of the building.
Mr. Prince described the changes as being more symmetrical with the perception of being open.
Commissioner McConnell then asked about the number of parking spaces being added to the project.
Mr. Prince said he is adding five parking spaces. There were 37 interior spaces and the revised plans call for 36 interior spaces. He said there will be five or six exterior spaces.
Commissioner Schnell asked if there were colored renderings. Mr. Fieldman said there were.
Commissioner Schnell asked for copies of the elevation, site, greenspace plans, etc.
Commissioner Sandack asked for a new chart comparing the previously approved plans to the proposed plans. He noted that this is in the downtown business district and there is no requirement for greenspace.
Frank Falesch , 820 Prince, asked how much money the developer paid for the property.
The Mayor said the Village did not own the property so did not receive any money for it.
STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS
There were none.
MANAGER ’S REPORT
The Manager reminded that public that the next Coffee with the Council will be held on Saturday, March 11 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at El Sierra School to discuss the proposed budget. She also noted that the Workshop meeting on March 14 will be shortened due to a workshop scheduled for Council members following the formal meeting.
ATTORNEY ’S REPORT
Village Attorney Enza Petrarca said she was presenting 17 items to the Council: 1) A resolution authorizing execution of an extension to the contract between the Village of Downers Grove and Warehouse Direct; 2) A resolution authorizing execution of an addendum to an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and the Commuter Rail Division of the Regional Transportation Authority; 3) An ordinance amending stormwater provisions (Localized Poor Drainage Areas); 4) An ordinance authorizing the recapture of certain expenditures; 5) A resolution authorizing execution of an agreement for recapture of cost related to the construction of a water service extension known as the Farrar Court Water Service Improvement; 6) An ordinance amending the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of the Village of Downers Grove, Illinois, passed and approved April 19, 1965, as amended, to rezone property located at 5334 Main Street; 7) An ordinance amending the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of the Village of Downers Grove, Illinois, passed and approved April 19, 1965, as amended, to rezone property located at 5338 Main Street; 8) An ordinance annexing vacant parcels to the Village of Downers Grove, Illinois (Brian Court Subdivision); 9) 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 property located at the northwest corner of 63rd Street and Springside Avenue; 10) A resolution authorizing a subdivision improvement agreement; 11) A resolution approving the final plat of subdivision for the Brian Court Subdivision with exceptions; 12) An ordinance approving a redevelopment agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Access Realty Group, Inc.; 13) An ordinance authorizing a special use for the Main & Maple Development with variations; 14) An ordinance authorizing a special use for Forest Avenue Condominiums with variations; 15) An ordinance to adopt and approve publication of the Village of Downers Grove Zoning Map; 16) A motion authorizing agreement with Versar, Inc. for environmental remediation for the Acadia on the Green Planned Development; and 17) A resolution to authorize attendance and participation in a meeting of charter customers – DuPage Water Commission.
Commissioner Sandack congratulated Dominick’s on Ogden Avenue on the grand reopening of their store. He said it is an amazing store.
Commissioner Waldack said it is good to be back. He noted that the Citizen Survey indicated that Downers Grove is a good place to retire. He suggested people consider health care considerations when contemplating retirement.
Commissioner Waldack said at the budget meeting on Saturday the Council reviewed all programs, revenue streams, priorities and debt. He said it is disheartening to see so few people at the budget meetings. He said the budget is important to residents and encouraged residents to attend such meetings.
Commissioner Waldack suggested inviting the Governor and State General Assembly to attend budget meetings.
Commissioner Schnell said she appreciated Cable TV taping the budget meeting for later rebroadcast. She suggested making copies available at the Library. She asked that the schedule for rebroadcasting the meeting be published in the Village Corner.
Commissioner Schnell thanked the Jr. Woman’s Club for hosting the Taste of the Town.
Commissioner McConnell said she agreed with the budget comments.
Commissioner Tully also thanked the Jr. Woman’s Club. He said the Taste of the Town was a very well-attended event. He said he shared the concerns expresses by the other Commissioners regarding lack of public participation in the budget. He referenced sidewalks in new subdivisions and noted that this does not change the matrix or take away from capital dollars for sidewalks.
Commissioner Tully said early voting started yesterday in the Committee Room. He reminded people that, unlike absentee voting, one needs no reason to vote early. He reviewed the hours for early voting: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday – 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; and Saturday – 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Commissioner Tully said local elections are the most important ones in which to vote. Election day is March 21, 2006. He urged people to educate themselves and vote.
Commissioner Tully said the next Coffee with the Council will be held on March 11 at El Sierra School. The focus will be on issues related to the budget.
Mayor Krajewski noted that two people attended the budget meeting. He said that in attending events he has many opportunities to talk with residents, and he encouraged people to talk to Council members.
Mayor Krajewski said that while he was in Springfield he spoke with a former Downers Grove resident who remarked on the new appearance of the downtown area. The Mayor said the Governor will not release $600,000 promised to the Village for the parking deck. He said he believes the Governor intends to take money out of the teachers’ pension fund to pay for other projects. The Mayor further said that the Governor has authorized $39 million for brick sound barriers along I-88. With respect to the money owed Downers Grove, our legislators continue to send letters, but most go unanswered. The Mayor said the Governor is making municipalities and residents pay for what he will not pay.
The Mayor said ComEd is scheduled to meet again in April with plans to fix the infrastructure.
The Mayor asked for motion to go into Executive Session. Commissioner Tully moved to convene into Executive Session pursuant to Section 2©(11) of the Illinois Open Meetings Act to discuss pending litigation. Commissioner Urban seconded the Motion.
VOTE :AYE: Commissioner Tully, Urban, Waldack, Sandack, McConnell, Schnell; Mayor Krajewski NAY : None
The Mayor declared the Motion carried. The Council convened into Executive Session at 9:55 p.m.
April K. Holden Village Clerk tmh