1. Call to Order
Mayor Brian Krajewski called the regular meeting of the Village Council of the Village of Downers Grove to order at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Downers Grove Village Hall.
Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
Mayor Krajewski led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
2. Roll Call
Present: Commissioner Ron Sandack, Commissioner Marilyn Schnell, Commissioner Martin Tully, Commissioner William Waldack and Mayor Brian Krajewski Absent: Commissioner Stan Urban Non Voting: Village Manager Cara Pavlicek, Village Attorney Enza Petrarca and Village Clerk April Holden
Mayor Krajewski said he would like to remind everyone present that the Council meeting is broadcast over the local FM radio station, WDGC . In addition, a tape recording and videotape of the meeting are being made using Village owned equipment. The videotape of the meeting will be used for later rebroadcast of the Council meeting over the Village cable television Channel 6.
The Council will follow the rules of conduct for this meeting as provided in Sec. 2.5 of the Downers Grove Municipal Code. These offer the public the opportunity to comment at several points in the meeting. First, immediately following approval of the minutes of the past meetings, an opportunity will be given for public comments and questions on the active agenda items for this evening’s meeting. Following this, an opportunity is given for public comments and questions on any subject. Finally, if a public hearing is scheduled for this meeting, an opportunity is given for public comments and questions related to the subject of the hearing.
The Mayor stated that at the appropriate time the presiding officers will ask if there are any comments from the public. If anyone wishes to speak, the individual should raise their hand to be recognized and, after acknowledgment from the presiding officer, approach the microphone and state their name and address. He stated that remarks be limited to five minutes, and asked that individuals refrain from making repetitive statements.
The Mayor said there are agendas located on either side of the Council Chambers, and he invited the audience to pick up an agenda and follow the progress of the Council meeting.
3. Minutes of Workshop and Council Meetings
Council Meeting – April 4, 2006 Workshop Meeting – April 11, 2006 Commissioner McConnell said she provided a minor change to the April 11, 2006 Workshop minutes. There being no other additions or corrections to the minutes, Mayor Krajewski said they would be filed as corrected. The Mayor announced the presence of special guests from Boy Scout Troop 57. He had the boys introduce themselves, and one Scout explained his Eagle Scout project is helping to refurbish a facility for the homeless. The Troop is working on their citizenship and community merit badges. A Scout asked the Council if they have ideas for things middle-school students can do in the downtown area. The Mayor said a group of community leaders have been discussing that issue as a major concern among government entities. He then asked the Troop about their trip to Wisconsin.
A Scout described the trip to Rice Lake where they have a outdoor camping experience, usually in April. They have had training regarding winter camping, and have built shelters with snow-tarps. The temperature when they first arrived was 26 degrees below zero. There’s a no-fire policy, so they were unable to depend upon that for warmth. It was an excellent experience and fun.
The Mayor wished them all good luck on their badges and Eagle Scout projects. Forestry Accreditation and Arbor Day Proclamation Mayor Krajewski proclaimed Friday, April 28, 2006 as Arbor Day in the Village of Downers Grove and said this is the 22nd year that the Village has been named a Tree City, USA . The Mayor introduced Bob Benjamin, board member of the Society of Municipal Arborists. Mr. Benjamin congratulated the Forestry Department on achieving accreditation and presented Mayor Krajewski and Kerstin von der Heide, Village Forester, with the accreditation award.
4. Public Comments and Questions
A. Comments and Questions on Active Agenda
There were none.
B. Comments and Questions on General Matters
Alan Baldwin, 5873 Walnut, read a letter that he sent to all of the Council members. He said Woodridge intends to open up a connection to Walnut Avenue in conjunction with a new housing development, Offerman Estates. All construction traffic will be directed to Walnut Avenue for a period of about five years of construction, and then would be opened to through traffic with an estimated increase of 500-600 cars per day. He stated that Walnut Avenue was not designed for this type of traffic. He described the street and the number of children who use that roadway to walk to their bus stop or school. Mr. Baldwin said that Woodridge has no regard for the impact this will have on the community. He appealed to the Council to help the residents with this. He gave the Council a copy of a petition to keep the street closed to through traffic, or to require the developer to work on this. He added that the Village of Woodridge is expected to vote on this issue on Thursday night. He added that a group of citizens in Woodridge is petitioning Woodridge to keep 59th Street closed as a cul de sac.
He thanked Commissioners Schnell and Sandack for their responses, and Manager Pavlicek for her time last week. He said that the signatures on the petition represent every homeowner but one in the two block area, which is a rural unimproved area. Construction on this will begin in August if approved. He noted the concern for safety of the children. There are no sidewalks on the residential side of the street. If this is opened, the children will have to cross two lanes of traffic to cross the street. In addition, one resident in Woodridge said that Walnut is an easy exit from the new subdivision, which would be beneficial to the criminal element. Mr. Baldwin said that Mr. Millette and Mr. O’Brien of the Planning Department have also been very helpful to him. He said the residents are asking for help from the Council on this issue.
The Mayor asked staff about the Village limits in that section. Manager Pavlicek said her understanding is that Walnut Street is in the corporate limits, but the adjacent residential properties are not within the corporate limits, and it is those residents that are making the petition.
Mr. Baldwin said that the residents north of College are incorporated, but the block south of College is unincorporated.
Mayor Krajewski said the agreement from the late 80’s is no longer valid. They will never come into the Village unless that area does so voluntarily or becomes contiguous and is annexed by the Village.
Manager Pavlicek said staff is still researching this issue, and will provide a letter and map to the Council. She said that this road provides one of few accesses to the proposed new subdivision. She said staff would like to meet with their Woodridge counterparts.
The Mayor said that the Village owns the road to the dead end. He said he would also like to see the County involved in this.
Mr. Baldwin said it is the Village of Woodridge and their planners that are pushing the connection through Walnut, though the developer said they would prefer a cul de sac. He thanked the Council for their time, and said he would follow this up with Manager Pavlicek.
Commissioner McConnell asked if there is any benefit of communicating with Woodridge that the Village has concerns on this issue. Manager Pavlicek said that has occurred at the staff level.
The Mayor asked that a letter be sent regarding concerns about traffic coming through the Village and the Village may have to install a cul de sac to close the road.
Commissioner Schnell said that Walnut is not a full lane road, and this is difficult for construction traffic to travel. Two cars do not fit on the roadway, and construction traffic would be an issue for both vehicular traffic as well as children crossing the roadway.
Mr. Baldwin said that variances have been provided to the developer to increase the number of parcels that will be buildable. He said they are planning an extension of 59th Street. He said he had a copy of the plans if the Village is interested.
The Mayor said a letter will be sent, and asked if there is another access point. Manager Pavlicek said she would prefer to show the Council the map before dialogue begins.
Commissioner Tully thanked Mr. Baldwin for his letter and the petition. He said that the Council and the Mayor have concerns regarding this, and also thinks it would be a matter of municipal courtesy for Woodridge to hold off on their final decision until some dialogue with Downers Grove occurs. He agreed that the letter should be sent to Mayor Murphy under Mayor Krajewski’s signature.
5. Public Hearings
Annexation Agreement – 5841 Janes Avenue – Lisa-Marie Subdivision Mayor Krajewski called the public hearing to order at 7:05 p.m. to consider a proposed annexation agreement for the property located at 5841 Janes Avenue (PIN 08-13-209-004 and 08-13-209-005). Notice of this hearing was published in the Downers Grove Reporter on March 31, 2006.
The Mayor then summarized the procedures for the hearing.
Manager Pavlicek reviewed that this is a five-lot subdivision with the proposed name of Lisa-Marie. The developer sought connection to the Downers Grove water system, and background materials have been provided to the Village.
John Hewlander of Northbrook said he represents the developer and has the annexation agreement. Mr. Hewlander said they have worked with the Village Attorney, County officials and are awaiting final engineering and final stormwater approval.
Commissioner McConnell asked whether the lots would meet all of the Village’s requirements. Deputy Village Manager Fieldman said that per the materials provided the lots would conform to Village Code.
Deputy Village Manager Dave Fieldman said that this would be developed as unincorporated DuPage County.
Commissioner Tully said that the reason they are coming before the Village is because the property lies within the Downers Grove planning area, and therefore must be submitted for the Village’s review and approval. Commissioner Tully said that the Village has the right to review the plat and the annexation agreement to determine conformance to Village standards.
Mr. Fieldman said this has already been before the Plan Commission and they have recommended approval. The Council will then review that recommendation for health, safety and welfare issues.
Commissioner Tully said that the Plan Commission made a recommendation that 59th Street should terminate at the east property line of lot 5 with a traditional road terminus. He asked if that was a requirement. Mr. Fieldman said that was a Plan Commission recommendation, and if the Council wishes to they could take that position. The staff would like to discuss this with the developer and other agencies.
Commissioner Schnell asked when DuPage County will approve this, and Mr. Hewlander said they are waiting for the engineering plan review to be completed. The County has 30 working days for approval turn-around, and they are looking for final approval. He indicated that the developer has changed the terminus of the street which is in line with the recommendations of the Plan Commission.
Commissioner Tully said that the Council has an obligation to review this before it comes into the Village, and it sounds as though some changes have already been made in line with the Plan Commission’s recommendation.
Deputy Fieldman said staff would report out the changes
There being no questions or comments from the Council or the public, the Mayor adjourned the public hearing at 7:17 p.m.
6. Consent Agenda
COR00 -02303 Claim Ordinance: No. 5631, Payroll, March 31, 2006 Sponsors: Accounting A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: N/A
BIL00 -02304 List of Bills Payable: No. 5620, April 18, 2006 Sponsors: Accounting A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: N/A
RES00 -02307 Resolution: Maintenance of Streets and Highways by Municipality under the Illinois Highway Code Sponsors: Public Works Summary of Item: RESOLUTION FOR MAINTENANCE OF STREETS AND HIGHWAYS BY MUNICIPALITY UNDER THE ILLINOIS HIGHWAY CODE
RESOLUTION 2006 -43 A motion was made to Pass this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Motor Fuel Tax
RES00 -02308 Resolution: Authorize an Agreement with Illinois Commerce Commission re: Education and Enforcement of Railroad Safety Sponsors: Police Department and Finance Summary of Item: A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND THE ILLINOIS COMMERCE COMMISSION (ICC)
RESOLUTION 2006 -44 A motion was made to Pass this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Rail Crossing Enforcement System, Illinois Commerce Commission
MOT00 -02309 Motion: Authorize an Agreement with Conservation Land Stewardship for 2006 Lacey Creek Management & Stewardship Activities Sponsors: Manager’s Office Summary of Item: This is in the amount of $20,546.94. A motion was made to Award this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Lacey Creek, Orchard Brook Homeowners Association Passed The Consent Agenda
A motion was made by Commissioner Tully, seconded by , that the consent agenda be passed. The motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack and Mayor Krajewski
7. Active Agenda
ORD00 -02310 Ordinance: Amend Ordinance No. 4667 and the Village of Downers Grove Budget for Fiscal Year 2005/06 Sponsors: Finance Summary of Item: This adopts certain amendments to the 2005/06 budget.
AN ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR AN AMENDMENT TO ORDINANCE #4667 AND THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2005 /06
ORDINANCE NO . 4766 Commissioner Tully asked for a description of Ordinance 4667. Manager Pavlicek said it is the Ordinance adopting the fiscal plan that will end April 30, 2006. There were a number of minor fund amendments which were incorporated into the new ordinance. Ordinance 4667 is used as a cross-reference. A motion was made by Commissioner Tully to Adopt this file. Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack and Mayor Krajewski Indexes: Budget Amendment – 2005/06
MOT00 -02311 Motion: Authorize a Redevelopment Agreement for 933 Curtiss Street (Former Hart’s Garage) Sponsors: Deputy Village Manager Summary of Item: This will indicate the Village Council’s preliminary support for a redevelopment agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Three Lights Development, LLC for the property located at 933 Curtiss Street (former Hart’s Garage) known as the Mochel Drive Redevelopment Project. Commissioner McConnell said she made a plea that the building not be too boxy, and she has been shown a color rendering which looks very nice.
Commissioner Tully said he believes it will be a very nice addition.
Commissioner Sandack said that anything put there will be better than what is there. He said the discussion tonight is for preliminary support of the redevelopment and reimbursement of some TIF expenses. What is critical is that there is no money out of the Village’s pocket until and unless steps are followed properly. This is an incentive agreement and there could be reimbursement from TIF on that property. This will help a struggling property be redeveloped.
Commissioner Waldack said that he pushed for office condos when discussion about Acadia on the Green began, and he is glad to see that this will provide some office space. He wished the developer the best of luck.
Commissioner Schnell said that there are people in the community who want to see an aesthetically pleasing building. One of the advantages of this agreement is that the environmental cleanup will be done by the developer. She sees this as a good project for the community, and concurs with Commissioner Waldack as to the need for office condos.
The Mayor thanked Deputy Village Manager Fieldman and staff for their work on this project. The Lakota Plan envisioned redevelopment of this parcel on a pay-as-you-go basis. A motion was made, seconded by Commissioner Schnell, to Authorize this file. Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Yea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack and Mayor Krajewski Indexes: Redevelopment Agreement – 933 Curtiss Street (Hart’s Garage)
8. Mayor’s Report
Materials to be Received – Minutes
Events Subcommittee – March 9, 2006 Library Board – March 22, 2006 Liquor Commission – March 2, 2006 Parking & Traffic Commission – March 8, 2006 Plan Commission – February 27, 2006 The Mayor asked the Village Attorney whether the minutes can be made part of the Consent Agenda, and she said they could. He requested that they be included in the Consent Agenda for future meetings. Votes: Yea: Commissioner Sandack, Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Tully, Commissioner Waldack and Mayor Krajewski
Materials to be Received – Monthly Reports
The Mayor proclaimed the week of April 23 to April 30, 2006 as Days of Remembrance in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, as well as the survivors.
Mayor Krajewski proclaimed the week of April 16 to April 22, 2006 as National Public School Volunteer week. He said there is a luncheon on Friday at O’Neill Middle School as well as a tour of the school.
9. Manager’s Report
Downtown TIF District Strategy Manager Pavlicek said that staff has a presentation on the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) strategy for the downtown area.
Deputy Village Manager Dave Fieldman reviewed the strategy being used by staff for improving the downtown TIF District. He explained that TIF is an economic development tool authorized by the State designating a specific geographic area which meets specific standards as a blighted or conservation area. It allows for the revitalization of the area using revenues generated from that district to finance revitalizing the district. As new taxes are generated, the incremental taxes go back into the TIF district. He then provided a hypothetical example of how TIF works.
Assistant Village Manager Mike Baker gave an historical perspective of the downtown TIF , saying it was created in 1997 with a 23-year lifespan, and is scheduled to expire in 2020. He showed the boundaries of the district, slides of the downtown area before the TIF District was established, and goals of the downtown TIF . Mr. Baker said that the goals are to maintain the downtown as a community focal point by offering retail, office, dining, entertainment and residential opportunities to enhance the overall quality of the area. This would be achieved through aesthetically pleasing developments, providing a center for public events, and improving the economic performance of the area. He reviewed the approved and completed projects over the years which have contributed to the downtown development including the renewed infrastructure, the parking deck, Acadia on the Green, Morningside, Station Crossing, etc. He said there are 260 new residential units; 72,000 square feet of new commercial space; 33,000 square feet of remodeled commercial space; and an additional 790 parking spaces through the deck. He reviewed pending projects including the northeast corner of Main and Maple, the northeast corner of Main and Rogers, a proposed Civic Center redevelopment, the northwest corner of Main and Burlington, and the east side of Forest Avenue.
Mr. Fieldman said that another goal is economic performance. He reviewed the Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) in 1997 which was $16.05 million, while the latest figures are just over $31.65 million, or a 97% increase. In the four years prior to the TIF adoption, the downtown EAV only increased 5.4%. Using the Power Point presentation, he reviewed the amount of privately funded projects which have been added to the downtown area. The public TIF expenses represent $8.7 million, and the public TIF revenue generated is expected to be $26.4 million, with a net impact of $17.7 million positive return. In addition several grants were obtained including METRA at $1.87 million, the IEPA Brownfield grant, and Illinois First grants. Expenses to date are $41.8 million, with private investment of $72 million. That results in $1.78 to every $1 of Village funds.
Mr. Fieldman then addressed constraints such as the TIF debt and valuation ratio. The length of the TIF District is 23 years old and is presently in its ninth year. Another constraint is multiple land ownership of smaller parcels, and increasing land costs. A final constraint would be in terms of market conditions and analysis. The Village will be implementing strategies to facilitate additional projects and what type of projects should be considered based on market analyses. It is anticipated that the plan would be updated to guide redevelopment so that specific direction is established. Pay-as-you-go incentives will continue to be used to maximize returns and minimize risks to the Village.
It is important to match the appropriate developer with the appropriate sites. Included in consideration will be the redevelopment of the Village Civic Center based on analysis of space needs which has been an ongoing concern. When financial conditions permit, the Village intends to complete the final phase of public improvements along the Washington Street area, east of the Acadia project.
Measurable goals, according to Mr. Fieldman, are to increase the total EAV to $60 million, improve the TIF leverage ratio to 3:1, add 25,000 square feet of office space, 25,000 square feet of retail, and 200 new residential units.
Mayor Krajewski said that the TIF has been very successful for the Village, and the Village needs to update plans to accomplish its goals. He added that Senator Dillard provided $500,000 for the downtown redevelopment as well. He asked that a letter be sent to the Governor under his signature regarding the committed funds to the Village. He indicated that the TIF was amended in 2001, and it would be helpful to get the funds together and move forward on the Civic Center goals. He said that for every year they are late in additional development, they lose funds they cannot recoup.
Commissioner McConnell thanked staff for the presentation, and encouraged staying focused on the goals and providing updates. She asked how they came up with some of the numbers regarding additional retail/residential/office units. Mr. Fieldman said some are based on market evaluation done by staff and market conditions. They feel the goals are aggressive, but achievable, and fit the spirit of the downtown plan. Commissioner McConnell suggested that they have “fresh eyes,” in terms of consultants, look at the plan.
Manager Pavlicek said that they could bring back the Lakota group for an update. Seeking new developers would take considerable time. Commissioner McConnell asked if there was an alternative to that. She would be more interested in having “fresh eyes” look at the plan and potential opportunities.
Commissioner Schnell said that Oak Park recently did this. She agrees with Commissioner McConnell that “fresh eyes” may be advantageous.
Manager Pavlicek said that in regard to laying down an economic strategy, there are only so many things that can be done including office, retail and residential. She doesn’t think they need to reinvent the wheel. To some degree she would be concerned about going through the process of taking the RFPs and reviewing those documents and bringing a recommendation forward. That would probably be a six-month process, versus a two-month process. If the goal is to double the EAV within the next four years, that is an uphill charge.
The Mayor said he thought they should bring back John LaMott. He said that S.B. Friedman was also involved. They reviewed the square footage of various uses. He wants someone with expertise. He agrees they don’t want to reinvent the wheel, although they may modify it, as a lot of the update work has already been done.
Commissioner McConnell said she did not feel the Village was well served last time by those consultants. She thinks they did not get the value for their money. Mr. Fieldman said that a key is knowing how to manage and leverage the consultants. He said there is experience on staff as to how to get the most for their money.
Commissioner Sandack said he appreciates the comments and goals established. He is interested in the details as to how the pieces fit together, and agrees that they need to dust off the plan. The Village should guide the process. He has seen some good private development coming online. He thinks that a guiding and suggestive and supportive role needs to be further developed, and professional assistance may be helpful in this regard. He said that with the staff the Village can direct the level of service and get distinct responses.
Commissioner Schnell said the goals have not mentioned additional parking. Her concern is with additional office space and retail, the deck will get tight. There has been talk of other places for parking, and she thinks parking should be part of the goals established. She thinks they must integrate parking into the development. She would also like to see a fresh look but does not want to take six or eight months to accomplish that. She wants people to look at the plans, and wants the Village to receive a quality project. The TIF is driven by increases in the EAV . People have told her that they do not think buildings are being assessed at the appropriate amount, and she asked how the Village is assured that the buildings are assessed at an appropriate amount.
Mr. Fieldman said it is done by establishing a working relationship with the Assessor’s Office. He said that Downers Grove has a low tax rate on property taxes, and they need to work to get the right balance. He said once a building is on public record he suspects the EAV will be properly adjusted.
Commissioner Waldack thanked staff for the report, saying he agreed with the Commissioners that having a fresh set of eyes look at this would be beneficial. He asked for information as to the time and money this would take. He also expressed concern about the density of the area and parking.
Commissioner Tully said that the presentation made by staff was very helpful and positive, and it spurred conversation. With respect to having a plan, Commissioner Tully said that it provides guidance even in the private sector, and developers crave guidance. Furthermore, the plan shows whether or not a development fits. Reviewing the plan provides for new opportunities, and new guidance. He is happy to see measurable goals established. Commissioner Tully said he wouldn’t want to start the plan again, and would be reluctant to continue to miss opportunities, as they do not get those opportunities back. In regard to fresh eyes, the Commissioner said that the Village has staff with experience at looking at plans, and getting advice. He doesn’t want to hold up plans, but would like to see them define what it is they are looking for if they decide to obtain guidance from consultants. His recommendation is to stay contemporary but not delay the plan. He reiterated that this was a very positive and exciting report.
Mayor Krajewski said he believes they need to update the plan to be sure that the entire Council is aware of the plan. Consultants will not implement the plan, as that is staff’s responsibility. He reviewed some of the analysis and achievements accomplished in developments such as Hart’s Garage and Acadia on the Green. He agrees that the plan needs to be updated, but it is up to the Council and staff to implement this. He noted that another issue not addressed or updated is Village Hall.
10. Attorney’s Report
Future Active Agenda
11.Committee Standing Reports
12.Council Member Reports and New Business
Commissioner Schnell congratulated the Village Forester and the Forestry Department on the receipt of their award. They are dedicated and hard working people and deserve the award.
The Mayor asked about 63rd Street and whether they are re-doing the watermains by the high school. He said there is someone out there digging again and he’d like to know what is going on. Mr. Baker said he would provide follow up on that.
Commissioner Tully moved to adjourn. Commissioner McConnell seconded.
VOTE : YEA – Commissioners Tully, McConnell, Waldack, Sandack, Schnell, Mayor Krajewski
Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m