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 Residents: George Nicholaou, 4845 Highland; Dennis H. Mueller, Bentley Builders, 1385 Warren; Pam Krieten, Realtor Association of West/South Suburban Chicagoland (RWSSC), 6655 S. Main Street; Annette Akey, RWSSC , 6655 S. Main Street; Wayne Tasic, 21W122 Butterfield, Lombard; Christine Fregeau, 1918 Elmore; David and Joanna Matthies, Matthies Builders, 4417 Downers Drive; Scott Tantillo, 5205 Grand Avenue; G.L. Goodman, DGCMR , 5834 Middaugh; Tohurs Alcon, 4708 Douglas Road; Michael Davenport, Davenport Architects, 6636 Blackstone Drive; Sam Salahi, 1080 Cherrywood Lane, West Chicago; Chris Salman, 4722 Wallbank Staff: Don Scheidler, Deputy Director, Community Development; Lori Sommers, Planner; Jeff O’Brien, Planner; Phil Ruscetti, Fire Chief; Dave Barber, Director, Public Works; Liangfu Wu, Director, Information Services; Bob Porter, Police Chief; Don Rosenthal, Director, Community Development; Greg Zimmerman, Director, Human Resources; Mike Baker, Assistant Village Manager; Dave Fieldman, Deputy Village Manager; Mary Scalzetti, Director, Tourism & Events; Andy Matejcak, Director, Social & Health Services; Rita Trainor, Director, Financial Services
Mayor Krajewski explained that Council Workshop meetings are held the second and fourth Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. The meetings are video taped live and for later cable cast over cable channel 6.
The Workshop meeting is intended to provide Council and the public with an appropriate forum for informal discussion of any items intended for future Council consideration or just for general information. No formal action is taken at Workshop meetings.
The public is invited to attend and encouraged to comment or ask questions in an informal manner on any of the items being discussed or on any other subject. The agenda is created to provide a guideline for discussion.
Consent Agenda Items
Village Manager Cara Pavlicek said she would read the items on the Consent Agenda without comment unless there were questions.
2006 Motor Fuel Tax Resolution.
Grant Application and Agreement: Public Education & Enforcement Research Study.
Conservation Land Stewardship Proposal for 2006 Lacey Creek Management and Stewardship Activities.
Mayor Krajewski asked as to the involvement of the Forest Preserve in this matter.
Mike Baker , Assistant Village Manager, said the Forest Preserve is not involved in this matter as it owns no property in this area.
Active Agenda and Informational Items
Budget Amendment for Fiscal Year 05/06. The Manager said an ordinance has been prepared to amend the adopted budget for the current fiscal year for activities that generated additional revenues and/or expenditures that were not considered in the original budget. There is no increase in the total expenditures authorized in the General Fund.
The Mayor asked if expenses are still projected to be $1million under budget.
Mayor Pavlicek said they are and staff will get a report to the Council soon.
Sign Ordinance Update. The Manager asked Dave Fieldman, Deputy Village Manager, to address this matter.
Dave Fieldman , Deputy Village Manager, said this is to discuss the sign ordinance since its adoption in May 2005. He provided a summary of the ordinance. He said the ordinance has been a success story. He noted that 101 sign permits have been issued. He presented a slide depicting monument signs.
Mr. Fieldman said staff met with the Chamber of Commerce and downtown tenants in November 2005. Topics discussed included where to place temporary open house signs, allowing construction signs to be installed prior to construction, noncompliant signs, sandwich board signs, prohibited signs, a Village sponsored financial assistance program, and triggers for change. Regarding noncompliant signs, Mr. Fieldman said staff inventoried the downtown signs and found that 62% were in compliance.
Mr. Fieldman said four policy questions have been identified: 1) Placement of real estate signs on the parkway; 2) Non-conforming changeable copy signs; 3) Sandwich board signs; and 4) Tollway corridor sign separation regarding setbacks. Mr. Fieldman said the draft ordinance includes these policy issues and housekeeping items. He requested that Council direct staff to proceed with the amendments to the Sign Ordinance by referring this to the Plan Commission and bringing forward their recommendations to the Council.
The Mayor asked if the Chamber of Commerce studied any areas other than downtown.
Mr. Fieldman said he did not recall that they did.
The Mayor noted that the sign ordinance was undertaken in response to the signs on Ogden Avenue. He said it is important to enforce the ordinance. Regarding the realtor signs, the Mayor said he does not mind changing the ordinance to allow realtor signs in the parkway on weekends. If the current ordinance is not being enforced, he suggested the ordinance be changed. If realtor signs are to be allowed in the parkway, then he also suggested the same provisions for garage sale signs.
With respect to Butterfield Road, the Mayor said he thinks the requirements should be different for this area due to the wide lots. He asked if lots where monument signs cannot be installed due to their limited frontage would be addressed in revisions to the Code or treated as hardships. He said he was fine with the recommendations regarding the Tollway corridor.
Commissioner Sandack thanked Mr. Fieldman for the status report. He noted that the situation on Ogden Avenue was what drove this project. He said there are indications that this ordinance has had an immediate positive impact. This was the right thing to do and this is a fair ordinance. He supports referring these proposals to the Plan Commission. He noted that he does not have a problem with the real estate/garage sale signs or the sandwich board signs. Regarding the changeable copy signs, he said he would wait for the Plan Commission recommendation. He said he understands the concept of the Tollway corridor signs.
Commissioner Sandack said he is not inclined to make distinctions on Butterfield Road at this time. He said eventually Butterfield Road will look the way the Council wants it to if the ordinance is enforced. He said he looks forward to continued discussion. He noted that only one variance has been requested.
Commissioner Waldack said he agrees with the recommendation regarding the real estate and garage signs to be placed in the parkway on weekends. He further agreed on the need to enforce the ordinance.
He noted that the ordinance could be amended again if necessary. Regarding the changeable copy signs, he agreed there should be additional copy and size allowed for schools and churches as they have a need to get messages out. He asked that this be studied along with the signs on Butterfield. He agreed with the sandwich board signs including making them an exception to the maximum allowable signage provided the rules are enforced.
Commissioner Schnell agreed that this ordinance should be referred to the Plan Commission and the recommendations should be brought back to the Council. She asked that the Plan Commission try to determine what will happen if there is a proliferation of real estate signs in the parkways on weekends. She would like the Plan Commission to discuss methods for policing this matter. Regarding garage sale signs, she asked if this opens up constitutional issues as it relates to political signs.
Village Attorney Enza Petrarca said there is a clear distinction. She said staff has discussed requiring realtors/home owners to register with the Village in connection with their sign permit.
Commissioner Schnell noted that changeable copy signs at schools, churches and government facilities are informational. She does not have a problem with allowing more copy. Regarding sandwich signs, Commissioner Schnell said 80% of the sandwich board signs are nicely done. She asked if all of the owners of sandwich board signs have indemnified the Village.
Ms. Petrarca said they have conformed with the regulation. She noted that after agreements had been submitted, the Village’s enforcement officer measured signs and found that due to the sandwich board signs, many signs exceeded the maximum amounts allowed.
Commissioner Schnell said she concurs that Butterfield Road is different in that there is more green space. She suggested that signs on Butterfield Road could be different and a larger sign would not be out of place.
Commissioner Schnell said she agrees that enforcement is key in all of this. She said she also agrees with the seven-year amortization period. She said she does not have a problem with the Tollway corridor.
Commissioner McConnell said it appears that this has worked better than anticipated. She said it makes sense to treat garage sale signs and real estate signs the same. She suggested regulations as to the number of signs permitted. She also suggested adding an escalation fee to the ordinance for violations. She supported increasing the number of lines for the changeable copy signs. Regarding sandwich board signs, she expressed concern about small storefront areas with several signs in a row creating a hazard. She said she is fine with the Tollway corridor. She said she agreed that Butterfield Road should be reviewed, but she does not want to lose track of what the Council was trying to do in originally adopting the sign ordinance. She asked about signs in shopping centers.
Mr. Fieldman said the ordinance allows tenants to have a sign above their store and a panel on the monument sign. The monument sign will not count against their maximum.
Commissioner Urban asked as to the number of new and replacement* * signs. He said he was fine with the Tollway corridor. Regarding real estate and garage sale signs, he expressed concern about political and other signs saying he would not like to see 25 signs on one corner. He concurred with the Mayor as to Butterfield Road. He noted that if the ordinance is not enforced, it is no good. He said he is concerned that the ordinance be enforced. Commissioner Urban said that without business licenses we do not know who owns a particular business.
The Mayor said there are many reasons to have business licenses.
Commissioner Urban clarified that he is not on a mission to raise money through business licensing.
Commissioner Tully said great progress has been made in implementing the Ogden Avenue Master Plan and specifically the sign ordinance is a big step in the implementation of the Plan. He noted that when the sign ordinance was passed Council knew it was not perfect and contemplated changes. It is appropriate to make changes at this time.
With respect to real estate and garage sale signs, Commissioner Tully concurred with establishing responsible provisions for weekends only. He noted there are many elements that can be added to this. With regard to changeable copy, he suggested pursuing a new category for institutions such as schools, churches and the Village. As to sandwich board signs, Commissioner Tully said he is in favor of pursuing this. He noted they are on a temporary basis and he thinks there can be reasonable limits. He said Butterfield Road is different from other areas of Downers Grove, and it is appropriate to recognize that Butterfield Road is different from Ogden Avenue. He is in favor of considering an overlay district or similar designation. He reiterated that the sign ordinance was originally in response to needs on Ogden Avenue.
Regarding Ogden Avenue and setback restrictions for monument signs, Commissioner Tully said he is in favor of recognizing unique circumstances. He would rather address the specific instances than change the ordinance and would prefer the variance process if there are not a large number of requests. Commissioner Tully noted the importance of adopting a new ordinance as well as enforcement. He further noted that the ordinance has guided over 100 new signs.
Manager Pavlicek addressed the unique needs of businesses on Butterfield Road. She said she would like to pursue the overlay concept on Butterfield Road as a separate track.
Commissioner Schnell noted that the Northwest Territory may be the overlay district. The shopping areas on Butterfield Road may be more in line with Ogden Avenue.
Mr. Fieldman said staff will refer the ordinance to the Plan Commission.
In response to the Mayor, Attorney Petrarca said variance requests are heard by the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). The Mayor suggested that the ZBA review this ordinance as they would handle any variance requests. Attorney Petrarca noted that the ZBA had members on the original sign committee.
Wayne Tasic , 21W122 Butterfield, Lombard, asked if the sign ordinance contained language regarding notification to residents of business signs in residential areas.
The Manager said the Village is required to notify owners of a change in zoning. This is generally the trigger that there may be parking, signage and light issues of interest to the neighbors.
Commissioner Tully clarified that if there is a change in the underlying zoning, a notice is sent to surrounding neighbors within a certain distance of the parcel. However, if there is an existing commercial area next to an existing residential area, there would be no notice.
Gordon Goodman , 5834 Middaugh, noted that the Village gives notice to property owners in the situation of a redevelopment with a change in use.
Dr. Goodman said he is pleased with the appearance along 31st Street. He asked if there were concerns as he has not heard any comments about how the sign ordinance has impacted 31st Street.
The Mayor said those signs are too large and will have to come into compliance with the ordinance. The property owners will probably seek to amend their Planned Unit Development (PUD).
Dr. Goodman asked if the signs on 31st Street west of Highland are in compliance with the ordinance. The Mayor confirmed that they are in compliance.
George Nicholaou , 4845 Highland, said he is delighted in that this ordinance has moved beyond his expectations. He referenced a letter written to the Council and former Village Manager urging the Council to take immediate action on some items such as business licensing which was not within the purview of the sign committee. Mr. Nicholaou acknowledged that the committee knew that the downtown area would not be in compliance with the ordinance. He said he is surprised by the number of signs that have come into compliance. He agreed with the recommendation regarding the changeable copy signs for churches and schools. He encouraged the Council to amend, but not re-do the sign ordinance. He urged the Council not to write the ordinance to the exceptions. He noted that, as a realtor, he has not used the public thoroughfare for real estate signs since the ordinance was adopted. Mr. Nicholaou agreed that Butterfield Road is unique. He said they do not need other signs. Regarding the seven year amortization, Mr. Nicholaou said this was determined by talking to people who make signs and determining the average life of a sign.
Tom Sisul , 5120 Main Street, said this is an important issue. He said the Chamber of Commerce supports licenses for businesses. This is a good opportunity to further reinforce this proposition. He clarified that variances go to the ZBA and amendments to a PUD goes before the Plan Commission.
Redevelopment Agreement for the Mochel Drive Redevelopment Project. The Manager asked Dave Fieldman to address this item.
Mr. Fieldman said the subject property is at 933 Curtiss Street, the building formerly occupied by Hart’s Garage, located near the southeast corner of Curtiss Street and Mochel Drive. The proposal is to construct a three-story, 28,000 square foot retail and office building with the first floor retail and office condominiums on the second and third floors. Parking would be within the existing CBD parking and the parking deck. He explained the key terms of the redevelopment agreement. The developer will develop the site in substantial conformance with the plans attached to the agreement. At least 70% of the retail space will be leased to sales tax producing tenants. The developer will conduct the environmental remediation on the site. The developer is seeking financial assistance from the Downtown Tax Increment Financing District (TIF). Total financial assistance will not exceed $500,000 on a reimbursable basis and will be generated only from this development. If the project fails to generate money, no funds would be paid out. The developer will be required to submit proof of paid invoices for TIF -eligible expenses prior to reimbursement. TIF assistance would be reduced if shown not to be needed. He noted that properties that are nonresidential in nature do not have to provide on-site parking.
The Mayor thanked staff for bringing this forward and complimented them for working on this issue.
Commissioner Sandack said this is a visible piece of property. The Village assistance to make this property usable makes good sense. He asked about the TIF assistance.
Mr. Fieldman said in the past the Village has pledged TIF assistance from all projects. This project differs from that model in that financial assistance will be paid to the developer on a pay-as-you-go basis from the incremental real estate tax generated by the development. It will require no upfront money from the Village. Staff projects a net positive impact to the TIF of $800,000.00. Mr. Fieldman noted that this project meets the goal of getting more office space, but not on the first floor.
Commissioner Sandack reiterated that the agreement is for at least 70% retail establishments. Mr. Fieldman said that was correct.
Commissioner Sandack commented that this is a good use of TIF funds with no risk to the Village as it is on a reimbursement basis. This is a terrific opportunity.
Commissioner Schnell said the advantage to residents is in getting rid of an unattractive building and in cleaning up the site. It will bring in additional increment to the TIF . She noted that there are many pluses.
Commissioner McConnell thanked staff for working on this issue. She noted that this is privately owned property. She asked why this development is the best one for TIF funds and how it fits into the goals for downtown.
Mr. Fieldman said this project will improve the aesthetics of the area, clean up environmental contamination, and provide more retail and office space in the right places. Financially, the goal is to be sure the development more than pays for itself and does not put the Village in debt. This project will be done at no risk to the Village.
Commissioner McConnell asked about the developer, Three Lights Development, LLC .
Mr. Fieldman said the developer is the current owner of the property. They are long-term Downers Grove business owners.
Commissioner McConnell asked about the parking for the project.
Mr. Fieldman said the Village intended the parking deck to be used for employee parking in order to spur development.
Commissioner McConnell said she reviewed the preliminary drawings and urged the developer to be creative in the design of the building.
Commissioner Tully said this is a win/win situation as well as a classic example of the kind of cooperative redevelopment project that has been envisioned for many years. This project fits many of the Village goals in terms of spurring reinvestment and redevelopment of the downtown to help enhance and maintain a viable downtown. This parcel has been identified for some time as a potential redevelopment opportunity. One of the purposes of the parking deck was to allow and facilitate this type of development that otherwise would not take place. He noted this may be the first property with a Mochel Drive address.
Gordon Goodman , 5834 Middaugh, agreed that this is a good step forward. There are many innovative features in the agreement. He asked if the Council foresees the need to use Home Rule powers in this matter.
Attorney Petrarca said this is pursuant to state law and TIF regulations.
Dr. Goodman urged the Council to keep citizens informed when using Home Rule powers.
Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment: Residential Regulations. The Manager asked Dave Fieldman to address this item.
Mr. Fieldman said this was introduced at the March 28, 2006 Village Workshop meeting. The primary goals of the amendments are to simplify the zoning regulations and reduce the potential for inconsistent interpretations as well as reduce the potential for negative aesthetic and drainage impacts of larger new homes and additions built in established neighborhoods. By way of background information, Mr. Fieldman said 462 permits were issued for residential demolition since 2003. A total of 401 permits have been issued for new single family residences since 2003. He presented slides providing examples of R-4 setbacks per existing regulations, and per proposed regulations as well as window well setbacks. He presented a slide depicting two houses with window wells each encroaching three feet into the side yard setback, leaving only a four-foot side yard for drainage. It becomes very difficult to convey water away from the window wells and the houses. He estimated that 50-80% of homes would become nonconforming with respect to side yard setbacks.
With respect to height regulations, the proposed amendments would measure maximum height at the peak of the roof, 33 feet maximum in the R-4 district, as opposed to the current regulation of measuring at the midpoint of the roof. He reviewed the lot coverage and buildable area per the existing regulations as compared to the proposed regulations. Under the proposed amendments, the maximum allowable footprint would be 2,000 square feet vs. 3,200 square feet under the present code. Maximum lot coverage would be 32% of the lot in the R-4 district. He noted that lots 60 feet wide or less could get a 500 square foot bonus for detached or rear load garages which could potentially increase the lot coverage to 2,500 square feet or 40% of the lot.
Regarding accessory structures, existing setbacks limit accessory buildings to 40% of the rear or side yard. Under the proposed regulations, accessory structures are limited to 1,000 square feet or the size of the house, whichever is less. There would be six-foot side yard and rear yard setbacks.
Mr. Fieldman said that under the current code neighbors can sell land without the Village’s knowledge as it is permitted without staff review. Staff is proposing an administrative process requiring a plat of consolidation when land is sold to create a lot of record.
Mr. Fieldman then depicted three houses under construction and reviewed height and setbacks under both the existing and new code.
The Mayor asked if the change in rooflines will allow architects to be more creative. Mr. Fieldman responded that it gives them more flexibility in roof design.
Commissioner McConnell noted that this amendment is a huge step forward. She encouraged finalization of this and further review in the future. She asked if there is an opportunity to establish timeframes for demolition and construction.
Mr. Fieldman said building permits are currently valid for one year. He said this can be fine-tuned.
Commissioner McConnell asked about the maximum impervious surface area. Mr. Fieldman said this amendment is proposing building coverage. Public Works is working on a Stormwater Master Plan. He suggested it might be more appropriate to address impervious area at that time.
Commissioner McConnell then asked about Conservation Districts. Mr. Fieldman said it is not being proposed at this time. Many of these concepts will be reviewed by the Architectural Design Review Board.
Commissioner McConnell said she would like to continue to look at aesthetic issues such as protecting trees. She does not want to lose sight of this as well as the concept of demolition fees, timeframes and waiting periods.
Mr. Fieldman said staff is currently working on a demolition ordinance.
Commissioner McConnell said she would like to hear from builders regarding the 18” vs. 24” window well encroachments as to benefits and hazards. Mr. Fieldman said the issue is not the size of the window well but the placement of it on the lot. If the foundation wall goes to the edge of the buildable lot, only an 18” window well could be used. Regarding flag poles, she asked if distance from the lot line is for ground- mounted flag poles or for wall-mounted ones as well.
Ms. Petrarca said the intent was for the ground-mounted flag poles. She said she would clarify this.
Commissioner Urban said he would like to hear feedback on the 18” vs. 24” window well issue. He said this ordinance takes the guesswork out of how to measure height, lot depth, lot width, etc. He said his air conditioner is on the side of his house and asked how this would apply to these regulations.
Mr. Fieldman said this ordinance only applies to new construction.
In response to Commissioner Urban, Mr. Fieldman said staff will consult with the Fire Department as to the impact of the setback on the Fire Department.
Commissioner Urban noted that this ordinance does not leave anything to chance.
Commissioner Tully thanked staff for their work. The focus is on concerns such as height, setbacks, stormwater drainage, lot coverage, etc. He noted that this ordinance will be the product of balancing competing interests. He said there are other components of this ordinance that have been discussed but are not being presented at this time. He does not want to lose sight of those issues, but recommended that this should not prevent the main items from being addressed and acted upon.
Regarding setbacks, the placement of window wells is to allow for better stormwater management, which becomes a problem with 50 foot-wide lots. He asked for the number of these lots in order to determine if this matter needs to be addressed by ordinance or on a case-by-case basis. Commissioner Tully also addressed 50 foot-wide lots and 6 foot setbacks as to what type of variance can be allowed that complies with the goals of stormwater maintenance. He clarified that Section 28.1702 pertains to changes to the zoning classifications. He said the goal of this ordinance is to improve the process and guide change, not stop it.
Commissioner Schnell said this has been a long process. Council and staff have listened to residents and developers. She expects modifications to this as it is not perfect.
Commissioner Schnell noted that the advantage of setting the height of the house as measured from the peak vs. the mid-point of a sloped roof is that currently houses look the same and she hopes this change will instill creativity and allow homes to fit in better with existing structures. The more that can be done to foster aesthetics, the better. Regarding demolition, she expressed concern that more demolition permits are issued than building permits. She suggested tightening this up.
Commissioner Schnell said she measured her fireplace. It is 24” and this ordinance would only allow 18”. She asked if a house with a fireplace would have to apply for a variance.
Mr. Fieldman said they could build a non-standard foundation or change the structure.
The Manager clarified that those options would be assuming that one is building to the maximum size of the lot.
Commissioner Schnell asked if the additional setback would allow for grading such that high retaining walls will not have to be installed. Mr. Fieldman said there is some opportunity for this; however, this issue is being studied separately.
Commissioner Schnell asked how people will be educated about the new regulations, the grace period, etc.
Mr. Fieldman said the recommended grace period is 30 to 90 days for people currently in the process of building a home. Regarding educating people, Mr. Fieldman said he would provide information on DG Cable Channel 6, and through the web page, the newspaper and direct mailings. He noted that the development community is a tight-knit group and have been following this issue.
Commissioner Waldack said this has been a long process. Key to this process is that the stakeholders were very involved in the process and all parties have had a say in this issue.
Commissioner Waldack then discussed the maximum lot coverage of 32% vs. 25%. He said that he believes Mr. Sbiral said that upon review of existing construction only one would be nonconforming.
Mr. Fieldman said the range for maximum lot coverage in other communities is 25 to 35%. Staff backed into the lot coverage figure based on what is reasonable and still meets the overall goals. He reiterated that the maximum lot coverage applies to all buildings on the lot, including accessory buildings. He said there is no magic number.
Commissioner Waldack noted that the maximum lot coverage percentage could be reviewed if necessary. He said this ordinance is a very good product.
Commissioner Sandack said he feels this process has proceeded prudently. Having this discussion is a good thing in that it means Downers Grove is desirable and people want to come here. He said for many people their home is their biggest investment and he does not want to do anything to devalue real estate. He cautioned to be careful of unintended consequences. He said simplifying the ordinance is a good goal. He said he has a problem with having a discussion about reducing the potential for negative aesthetic consequences. He said everyone seems to have an opinion on someone else’s home. Further, he believes the market will dictate how builders will design homes.
Regarding drainage, Commissioner Sandack asked if the additional one-foot side yard setback will make a significant difference. He said he would like more discussion of accessory structures. He said the height and lot coverage recommendations make sense, but he would like to hear from property owners about the setback recommendations. He noted that new homes comply with stormwater requirements, while older homes do not.
The Mayor noted that perhaps 500 of 50,000 residents have participated in this matter. He said that people do not want anything done that will negatively affect their property values. He also noted that people do not like teardown sites due to parking, garbage and other issues.
The Mayor further said that increasing the value of homes is a big benefit to the schools. He said he would like to see examples of stormwater drainage when there are window wells. He complimented the staff on bringing this forward.
1) Sam Salahi , 1080 Cherrywood Lane, West Chicago, noted that a one foot difference in setbacks makes a huge difference. He said 32% lot coverage is the average and the right percent. It will not devalue the property. Regarding the roofline, he said the buildings can potentially look more attractive. He said this is a good rewrite of the ordinance. He said he has several projects in Downers Grove and when he calls the Village, he always receives a return call. He encouraged the Council and staff to continue the good work as the end result will be great.
2) Gordon Goodman , 5834 Middaugh, said he is in sympathy with efforts to adopt the first phase of changes to the Zoning Ordinance. He noted that residents and developers have called for this. He said he hopes the presentation can be made available on-line.
Regarding window wells and encroachments, Dr. Goodman noted that not all window wells have to be in the side yards. They could be in the back yard with air conditioners, etc. He further said he is pleased to hear about ways to deal with encroachments for chimneys.
Dr. Goodman said this ordinance will stabilize and continue the growth of property values. He cautioned against a boom/bust type of development. He encouraged the Council to make use of the momentum and direct it in the way that preserves and improves the Village. He said he hopes the Council will move ahead to do the follow-up mentioned during this discussion. He encouraged Council to pass this ordinance.
The Mayor noted that the first meeting of the Architectural Design Review Board* * will be held on April 27, 2006.
Commissioner McConnell clarified that she is interested in an incentive to encourage people to keep mature trees and build around them.
In response Dr. Goodman’s comment regarding the Council role to stabilize the real estate market, Commissioner Sandack said he diametrically disagrees with that concept. The Council should not try to have any effect on the real estate market. Trying to funnel some desired result other than trying to preserve qualities that make our town desirable is a dangerous concept.
3) Mike Davenport , 6636 Blackstone Drive, said he has been lobbying for this for years. It is dangerous to work under a Zoning Ordinance written long ago. This is long in coming and long overdue, but will yield great benefits.
Regarding the lot coverage maximum of 32% or 25%, Mr. Davenport said there is considerable focus on new construction; however, he noted that his firm deals mostly with additions. His concern is there will be a big problem on smaller lots in terms of people wanting to put on additions. Regarding the five-foot setback requirement, the building code requires a ten-foot separation between homes. From a life safety perspective, there is good reason for a larger setback.
4) Annette Akey , Realtor Association of West/South Suburban Chicagoland, 6655 S. Main Street, commended the Council for listening to both sides and for being balanced. She commented that Downers Grove has a full range of homes. She expressed concerns about the height and lot coverage requirements as she feels they will reduce the size of homes. Many people are looking for attached garages, high ceilings, and a possible loft. Limiting the size of the home may limit the number of people looking at homes.
Ms. Akey said she would like more discussion in R-3 and R-4 zoning districts regarding in-fills and the proximity of small homes next to larger homes. She asked why R-3 and R-4 zoning districts were singled out. She also asked some questions about porches and for the rationale for the bonus for a detached garage. She noted that the driveway will be an impervious surface. She commended the Council for including some of the standards for approval that were set by the Illinois Supreme Court, but expressed some concern about the wording. Regarding current non-conforming houses, she asked what would happen if they had to be rebuilt due to damage by fire or storm.
The Mayor asked Ms. Akey if she has specific knowledge that the proposed roof height and lot coverage is going to reduce the size of homes or if she is trying to make sure that it does not reduce the size of homes.
Ms, Akey said she is looking to keep those heights at 35 feet.
In response to the Mayor, Ms. Akey said her comment regarding the Illinois Supreme Court came from their legal counsel. The Mayor asked if she could forward the questions she brought forth as well a copy of the legal opinion to the Manager.
Dave Matthies , 4417 Downers Drive, said he has learned how to work with the roof heights. He discussed the side yard setbacks and encroachments. He said on a 50-foot lot, the entire buildable space is used. He tries to keep the garage in the body of the house and discussed this in terms of encroachments. He asked the Council to reconsider the encroachment aspect of the ordinance. He noted that 36” is required for egress window wells. He discussed the daylight plane issue and the need to evaluate this.
Commissioner Tully agreed with Mr. Matthies that there are a number of different ways that stormwater issues can be dealt with other than a swale. If encroachments are to be allowed, he said he would like to discuss ways to deal with stormwater drainage.
Commissioner Sandack suggested that it may be more appropriate to deal with stormwater controls in the ordinance rather than as a variance due to the size of the lots being less than 60 feet and the requirement of a 5 foot setback.
The Mayor said what he has heard is that we are trying to accomplish six-foot side yard setbacks as a life safety issue, and stormwater drainage. He said he is not sure that changing encroachments will do anything other than allow for a swale. He asked if there is something that will better accomplish the goal of stormwater drainage.
Mr. Matthies said the ordinance is worded such that 24” window wells require that the house must be stepped back an additional foot. He asked that this be reviewed.
Commissioner Schnell reiterated that the goal is stormwater drainage. She noted that Mr. Matthies said he had spoken with staff about alternatives to the swale at which time staff said it would be hard to enforce stormwater other than swales. The Commissioner said she is concerned that people fill in swales over time. Drainage has to be enforceable and over time it cannot be changed. She asked staff for suggestions.
Mr. Fieldman said he would like to discuss these matters with Mr. Matthies.
The Mayor said the biggest issue is stormwater drainage.
The Manager noted that due to the age of the community there is not a consistent stormwater infrastructure throughout the community.
Commissioner McConnell asked if a two-foot difference is significant in terms of stormwater drainage.
Mr. Fieldman said if one assumes an overland stormwater route, such as a drainage swale, then the issue becomes the width between homes to create the proper drainage rather than the number of square feet.
George Nicholaou , 4845 Highland, said he has been a realtor for 28 years. Stormwater is a problem whether it is new or old construction. He said buyers will not get what they want with 25% lot coverage. He recommended reviewing this ordinance in one year. He noted that many people cannot afford $1million homes, but they can afford $150,000 additions. He further noted the need for more enforcement staff.
Chris Salman , 4822 Wallbank, said he is a local builder. He complimented the staff on this ordinance and presentation. He said he would prefer 5 foot side yards on 50 foot lots. He further said he feels 35 foot ridges for building height is appropriate.
Tohurs Alcon , 4708 Douglas, asked that encroachment in the side yard related to standard size chimneys be considered. He also discussed air conditioners in the side yard. He said he prefers 50 foot wide lots with 5 foot setbacks. He noted there are many 50’ x 125’ lots in areas throughout the Village.
Mr. Fieldman said many issues have been identified. He would like to review the ordinance again and will bring it back to the Council in May 2006.
STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS
There were no reports.
ATTORNEY ’S REPORT
Village Attorney Enza Petrarca said she was presenting three items to the Council: 1) A resolution for maintenance of streets and highways by municipality under the Illinois Highway Code; 2) A resolution authorizing an agreement with the Illinois Commerce Commission regarding education and enforcement of railroad safety; and 3) an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 4667 and the Village of Downers Grove budget for fiscal year 2005/06.
There being no further discussion, the Workshop meeting was adjourned at 10:00 p.m.
April K. Holden Village Clerk