Skip to main content

July 25, 2006

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, 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: Kent Ebersold, Ebersold, Inc.,1519 Hillcrest Road; Bill Brown, Ebersold, Inc.; Jeff Brown, FDC Construction, 151 East 22nd Street, Lombard; Mark Nosky, Stewart-Nosky Architects, 1411 Opus Place; Marilyn Weiher, Charles Place, 5151 Mochel Drive; John Schofield, 1125 Jefferson; Mary Brennan, 909 62nd Street; Laurel Q. Bowen, 829 Clyde Drive; Peter Hultman, 5540 Walnut; Bill Wrobel, 7800 Queens Court; Andy Clark, 1226 62nd Street; John K. Olson, 2800 Maple Avenue; Ken Lerner, 4933 Whiffin; Charles and Jan Smart, 4804 Main; W. and M. Benda, 4400 Pershing; Bruce Beckman, 4629 Middaugh Avenue; James and Barb Holmes, 513 Chicago Avenue; Barry and Maureen Boyle, 1204 Pleasant, Lemont; Barb Wysocki, Downers Grove Area Chamber of Commerce Staff: Fire Chief Phil Ruscetti, Mary Scalzetti, Director, Tourism & Community Events; Deputy Police Chief Kurt Bluder; Dave Barber, Director, Public Works; Andy Matejcak, Director, Counseling & Social Services; Don Rosenthal, Director, Community Development; Dennis Burke, Assistant Director, Human Resources; Bill Herman, Assistant Director, Information Services; Mike Baker, Assistant Village Manager; Dave Fieldman, Deputy Village Manager; Rita Trainor, Director, Financial Services; Naz Yetgen, Intern

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.

MANAGER

Village Manager Cara Pavlicek reviewed each of the items on the Consent Agenda.

Consent Agenda Items

Bid: Purchase of Fire Hydrants. No questions.

Resolution: Authorize Intergovernmental Agreement with the Downers Grove Park District.

Mayor Krajewski asked about the mailboxes.

Dave Barber , Director, Public Works, said the mailboxes will be on an island. He noted that the Park District has already approved this agreement.

Commissioner Schnell asked about a sidewalk. She said there does not appear to be a safe pedestrian passage.

Mr. Barber said he would check on this.

The Mayor said a walkway is needed through the fence as well.

Resolution: Authorize a Park-N-Ride Agreement with Elite Sports Complex.

Commissioner Waldack said this is a satellite parking lot to be used for the commuter bus system. It is a great option for people who want to take the commuter bus and cannot park downtown. He encouraged people to take advantage of commuter buses.

Bid: Purchase of Snow Plows. No questions.

McCollum Park Satellite Maintenance Facility – Change Order No. 1. No questions.

Tiered Approach to Corrective Action Right-of-Way Agreement for 5100 Washington Street and Burlington Avenue. No questions.

Active Agenda and Informational Items

Final Planned Development and Variation for Preserve at Belmont. The Manager asked Deputy Village Manager, Dave Fieldman, to provide Council with background information.

Dave Fieldman , Deputy Village Manager, provided a brief overview to clarify information regarding density and stormwater management. He provided slides of the subject property with the Localized Poor Drainage Area (LPDA) and wetland outlined. He described the subject site. It is 40,510 square feet, .093 acres. He said 36,026 square feet is required to accommodate 18 condominium units. The density is 19.4 units per acre and 11-25 units per acre is permitted. The building will be 39 feet tall and 35 feet is allowed. With respect to parking, 38 spaces, or 2.11 per unit will be provided and 36 spaces are required. Mr. Fieldman discussed how the height of the building was measured. He asked Mr. Barber to explain the detention on the site.

Mr. Barber showed how water normally drains to St. Joseph’s Creek. The building on the east side of the subject site was the first building built and it is outside the LPDA . He said there are drainage problems in the alley. No stormwater was required on that site. The building on the subject site on Belmont puts the total development over 25,000 square feet. The outflow was constructed to retain some water on site. The petitioner is retaining enough water for all of the water from both sites at 4401 Belmont.

Mr. Fieldman commented that staff responded to a majority of the questions raised by a speaker when this was last discussed.

Commissioner Schnell said the alley belongs to the Village and the Village is responsible for correcting the water problems in the alley.

Mr. Barber said that was correct. In further response to Commissioner Schnell, Mr. Barber said that by capturing more water on the 4401 Belmont Road site there is no negative effect on Pershing.

Commissioner Schnell asked if the height variation of four feet is due to the underground storage.

Mr. Fieldman said that was correct.

Commissioner Waldack said he had questions last week. He said he appreciated the Council tabling this for a week and thanked the staff for their extra effort. He apologized to the petitioner for delaying this for an extra week.

The Manager said the Village Attorney will ask Council to vote on this tonight.

Request for Vacation of a Public Alley. The Manager noted that the petitioner is in attendance. She said staff tried to identify means to determine the value of the land in the right-of-way in lieu of completing an appraisal. It was suggested to staff by a real estate lawyer that the value of the land encumbered with an easement is generally valued at one-third of the value of the same property that does not have an easement.

Commissioner Tully said the petitioner is requesting the Village vacate a 14 foot alley to access the garage on his property. Commissioner Tully said he has two questions: 1) Should the property be vacated, and 2) If the property is vacated, should the Village be compensated for the property and, if so, at what amount. He said Council policy requires that before vacating a piece of property, an appraisal or alternate assessment of the current market value of the parcel be conducted. This is a difficult piece of property to value. He said the petitioner is not a developer, but an individual. There is incremental value to the size of the property from 50 to 64 feet. Commissioner Tully said he feels there should be compensation. He suggested $3,000 with the terms to be discussed with the petitioner.

Commissioner Urban said he is in favor of vacating the property. He asked if the petitioner has been made aware of this.

James Holmes , 513 Chicago Avenue, said Don Rosenthal, Director, Community Development, called him yesterday. Mr. Holmes said he agrees with the comments of the Council that this parcel would add value by expanding his lot, but he noted that it cannot be built upon because of the easements.

Mayor Krajewski said he prefers not to vacate property if it is needed, but he said that will not happen in this case. If property is vacated so another house or an addition to a house can be built, the Village should be compensated. In this case, the Mayor said he has no problem vacating the property and would not charge anything for it. If this had come to the Council before the house was built, he would have a different opinion as it would have had value in that it would have increased the side yard setbacks.

Commissioner Urban said he is favor of this. He would like to vacate this and not charge the petitioner.

Commissioner Schnell said she has no problem with the vacation, but she has a problem with charging the petitioner as the value is based on the fact that the property is improved which may inflate the value. She said she felt that $3,000 is not nominal and may be place an undue burden on the petitioner.

Commissioner Waldack said he agrees that the petitioner could continue using this under a license agreement although that option has the potential of creating problems. He said he has no problem vacating this parcel. He noted that it is a driveway and will continue to be a driveway. He said he feels $3,000 might be appropriate compensation. It is to the advantage of all to clean this up and vacate the property. He feels evidence of valuable consideration should be presented and as such, $1.00 may be sufficient.

Commissioner Sandack said he spoke last week to the need to vacate this property. The policy speaks to an appraisal or a fee. The petitioner will get a return on this property. He suggested the Council ought to be reasonable, but he said a piece of real estate is valuable. He feels $3,000 is reasonable and can be done in a measure where everyone wins.

Commissioner Tully said there is no request here to build a bigger home, but if the vacation had been requested before the house was built, it would have resulted in a bigger home. He reiterated that that is not the situation here. The property will be worth more with the driveway than it would be without it. The parcel is worth something. The $3,000 figure takes into account that there is an easement on the property. He feels $3,000 is very fair and reasonable. No one wants to put a burden on the petitioner, but there is a need to be fair to the petitioner and to the public. There could be payment when the property is sold rather than upfront.

Commissioner Urban agreed with Commissioner Tully that no one is trying to penalize the petitioner. He said, however, that he is having a hard time understanding why this was not done five years ago.

Village Attorney Enza Petrarca said the policy did not contain this provision at that time.

Commissioner Schnell said there is a benefit to the community in that the petitioner will now pay taxes on this property. The former policy did not actually give the land away as it was added to the tax rolls.

Commissioner Urban asked if the Village has to list all property in compliance with GASB -34.

The Mayor said the Village must list physical assets and attach a value to them.

The Manager said that municipalities everywhere are facing dangling properties; this is not unique to Downers Grove. She said staff will prepare an ordinance that will allow the Council to determine the value of the property.

Final Planned Development & Final Plat of Subdivision for Charles Place, 5151 Mochel Drive (PC 33-06).

Redevelopment Agreement for 5151 Mochel Drive (Former Hart’s Garage). The Manager said staff will discuss items 3 and 4 together. She asked Dave Fieldman to address these items.

Mr. Fieldman provided an update to the Council. He said the terms have not changed since the Council last reviewed this in April 2006. The developer has submitted a plat of survey, engineering plans, building elevations and floor plans. The Plan Commissioner unanimously forwarded a positive recommendation to the Council and staff has recommended approval.

Commissioner Tully said the redevelopment agreement has already been reviewed by the Council, and it has not changed. As for the final planned development, no zoning variations are requested. Commissioner Tully said this is a nice project.

Commissioner Sandack said the building looks fabulous. There are no zoning or land use variations or exceptions being requested. The redevelopment agreement makes sense. It is a novel concept. He looks forward to seeing this constructed.

Commissioner Schnell said the developer is responsible for cleaning up the site, which is a public benefit.

Mayor Krajewski said this gets rid of the auto body shop. He heard many positive comments about this at the Heritage Festival. The impact is $800,000 in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) that the Village will receive. This represents a present value amount. He asked for the gross value and inflationary percent.

Mr. Fieldman said he will provide that information.

The Manager thanked the petitioner for bringing this forward.

Special Use to Locate a Professional Office at 6040 Main Street . The Manager said this property is surrounded by Ebersold Park. There is a structure on the property that is being used as a residence and the petitioner would like to use this structure as a professional office space.

Mary Brennan , 909 62nd Street, asked if this will be the petitioner’s primary residence.

Don Rosenthal , Director, Community Development, said it will not be the petitioner’s primary residence.

Ms. Petrarca said this is not a request to rezone, but it is a special use for a professional office. This is a one-person office and if the petitioner, Mr. Ebersold, leaves, the property reverts back to residential.

In response to Ms. Brennan, the Manager said there are certain businesses that can be run out of a home.

Mr. Rosenthal said there will be three employees. There will be no heavy traffic.

Commissioner Tully said Mr. Ebersold explained at the Plan Commission that the majority of his business is done over the internet.

Commissioner Sandack said the property is zoned R-3 and will stay R-3. The request is for a special use for a home occupation. There will be no intensified use of this property. This meets all the criteria for a special use. The parcel is in an isolated area.

Sign Ordinance Amendment. The Manager said this does not include the overlay on Butterfield.

Commissioner Waldack discussed school, university and governmental agency signs. He asked if the sign at Downers Grove North High School would be in compliance with the sign ordinance if the draft ordinance is adopted.

The Manager said it would be; she noted that two of the Village signs would not comply with the ordinance.

The Mayor asked about the sign at Deer Creek.

The Manager said staff is close to resolving this matter.

Commissioner Tully said a comprehensive change was made to the sign ordinance and the intention was to review the ordinance in a year. This is consistent with what was envisioned and is appropriate. He commented that this is an evolutionary process.

John Schofield , 1125 Jefferson, said he has three questions. He asked for the definition of “Gross Surface Area.” He asked for clarification of what is required for development signs as the proposed language is vague. He further asked about when existing non-conforming signs will be required to come into compliance with the proposed ordinance. He said the ordinance needs to be clear about existing non-conforming signs.

The Mayor asked that staff respond to Mr. Schofield’s questions.

Demolition Ordinance . The Manager said this was previously Workshopped.

Mr. Fieldman reviewed the changes made to the draft ordinance. Applicants will be required to pay a fee for the purchase of the notification sign. Applicants will be required to notify residents within 100 feet of the subject site prior to starting demolition/construction activity. The Community Development Director will have the authority to determine the fencing requirements for construction completed in conjunction with subdivisions and planned developments. Abandoned demolition projects are addressed in terms of completing the work with due diligence and without delay. Finally, the ordinance clarifies that demolition permits are valid for a period of six months.

The Manager said that regarding the location of the portable toilets, staff did not change the proposed regulations because of the potential enforcement difficulties due to the landscape in Downers Grove.

The Mayor complimented Mr. Rosenthal and his staff on a good job in code enforcement. The Mayor asked about adding a provision to the ordinance whereby builders would have to fence in the entire site after two or three warnings.

Mr. Fieldman said that could be added.

The Mayor asked about the provision providing discretion to the Director of Community Development with respect to subdivisions. He said he understands the need for flexibility, but the issue of discretion needs to be addressed.

Commissioner Sandack asked if the Village requires that the entire parkway be fenced.

Mr. Fieldman said the requirement is to fence the perimeter around the parkway trees.

Commissioner Sandack said he would recommend fencing off the whole perimeter in most instances.

Commissioner Sandack asked that if chain link fences will cause unintended consequences. It is safe and does not fall down, but he would like to give this further thought. He said he supports the concepts in this ordinance.

The Manager noted that staff has asked for discretion to make common sense decisions. This is a training issue. She noted the need to mitigate the consequences of development on the neighbors. Allowing discretion makes for better decisions.

The Mayor said he agrees that the entire parkway should be fenced.

Commissioner Schnell said that a subdivision or planned development site will be fenced in during grading and earth moving activities. As individual homes are developed, the fences would be moved.

Mr. Fieldman said that was correct.

Commissioner Schnell said that with respect to the portable toilets, she has a problem with them being in the front yard. She understands the limitations, but if the lot is so tight that a toilet cannot be placed in the backyard, how is parking going to be on the site. This also impacts parking on both sides of the street. Parking on tight sites is difficult and needs to be approached creatively. She suggested staff talk with other communities to see how they address this matter.

Mr. Fieldman said staff will get more information. He noted, however, that the ordinance requires a parking plan and the intention is for parking on only one side of the street.

Commissioner Waldack said that it looks horrendous when there are several homes on one block with portable toilets in the yard. He feels the ordinance is not stringent enough in this regard. He would like something more stringent than what is being proposed.

Commissioner Waldack said he agrees with the Mayor regarding the wording providing leeway to the Director of Community Development with respect to subdivisions or planned developments.

Commissioner Waldack said he has a number of questions he discussed with the Manager. He suggested a presentation by code enforcement to include daily activities and steps they follow on an enforcement/inspection issue. He would like more explanation of the code enforcement process.

The Manager said there are two areas of questions raised by Commissioner Waldack. One has to do with compliance and building inspection matters. The other is a more philosophical distinction between level of interpretation vested in the Director of Community Development through the International Code Council which is adopted as part of our Municipal Code, and the specific criteria outlined in the Code to be used by the Council in granting variances. She suggested staff meet with Commissioner Waldack and submit a written synopsis of the meeting to the Council. If there is additional Council interest, the meeting will be noticed.

Commissioner Tully noted that the demolition ordinance along with the sign ordinance is evolutionary with the goal of achieving good, solid development.

With respect to Section 7.11.1(s), Commissioner Tully said he supports an increase in the cash bond. One of the challenges in enforcement is to encourage the developer to be self-enforcing. He asked if the cash bond requirement of $3,000 should be increased to promote self-enforcement.

The Manager said she has not seen amounts for cash bonds higher than $5,000.00.

Regarding the portable toilets, Section 7.11.1(f), Commissioner Tully said he understands wanting to put the toilets as far back on the site as possible; however, with five foot setbacks, one does not have many options. This ought to be driven by what is possible. Commissioner Tully read the original wording as well as the recommended change in the draft ordinance with regard to this matter. He suggested borrowing both concepts such that the wording would include the language that the portable toilets be set back as far as possible from all property lines but not less than five feet from the front lot line and five feet from the side yard line.

Regarding the fencing, Section 7.11.1©, Commissioner Tully referred to the issue of discretion discussed earlier. He read the applicable sentence from the draft ordinance. He suggested a minimum expectation be included with the provision that if circumstances warrant it, the developer could make his case to the Community Development Director, who would have the authority to use discretion in the matter.

Commissioner Waldack asked if the bond would have to be replenished if there is a violation. The Manager said it would have to be replenished.

Commissioner Waldack asked if there is interest on the part of the Council to meet with the staff.

Commissioner Tully noted that the Council is a policy making body and is not responsible for implementation.

Commissioner Waldack said a meeting will help him to be able to respond to questions from residents.

Bill Wrobel , 7800 Queens Court, said he represents the Downers Grove Coalition for Managed Redevelopment. He said Ken Lerner, the Chairman, addressed the Council by e-mail in which he discussed signage, linking demolition to building permits, public notice of demolition and construction, tree preservation and impact fees. He said the Council is on the right track. He referenced a house in his neighborhood where the front yard is clear but the side yard is the staging area for construction.

Ken Lerner , 4933 Whiffen Place, said some of the changes suggested by the Downers Grove Coalition for Managed Redevelopment, such as wider notification and specifics on signs are addressed in this ordinance. Regarding the placement of the portable toilet, he suggested that even on narrow lots there may be a driveway, corner lot or alley where it could be placed. He suggested a clear policy for placement of the portable toilet. It may be an easier conversation to address complaints if the policy states a clear preference. He said he is glad to see the Village moving forward on this issue.

John Schofield , 1125 Jefferson, thanked the Council and staff for the synopsis provided on the green sheet. He said his comments pertain to 7.11.1©, fencing. He asked when the fencing is allowed to be installed. He said he believes it should be when demolition/construction permits are actually issued and not before. He then asked if the demolition fence has to be removed within 60 days after the completion of the demolition. He noted that the draft ordinance is not consistent with what is currently done. The current ordinance requires restoration within 60 days after the demolition permit is issued, while the draft ordinance requires restoration within 60 days after the completion of the demolition.

Mr. Schofield said he did not agree with the provision providing the Director of Community Development the authority to determine the fencing requirements for construction completed in conjunction with subdivisions and planned developments as he does not want to give up the existing protections. He would like it clearly stated that the Director cannot waive all requirements. Any requirements waived or modified should be carefully documented. Mr. Schofield noted that it is important to convey this information to the neighbors. Mr. Schofield said he is enthusiastically in favor of this amendment.

The Mayor asked if complaints have been reviewed in terms of the type of complaint, such as fencing, noise, trash, etc. He is curious as to the actual complaints of the neighbors.

The Manager said staff has not done this, but will look at it. She said staff is reviewing the report writing module of the Community Response Center (CRC) software.

Ordinance Amendment: Utility Billing. The Manager said as part of the installation of the new financial software for utility billing, staff has reviewed the procedures and provisions of the Municipal Code as part of the set-up of this module of the software.

With respect to charges for connection to a water main for new service, staff is recommending that the current practice of allowing a new water customer to defer one-half of the cost of the initial hook-up continue, but requests that the payment plan be limited to a fixed period of 24 months with equal installments. Staff is also recommending a change to the process for handling delinquent payments, assessment of late fees and water service shut-offs to eliminate the escalation of fees.

Regarding water shut-offs, the Mayor said commercial and residential customers should be treated the same. If there is going to be an error, he would like it to be on the side of residents.

Chamber/Village Directory. The Manager said this is a proposal regarding the Village’s arrangement with the Chamber for the production of the annual directory for the Village and members of the Chamber of Commerce.

Commissioner Urban asked for clarification as to member and non-member businesses advertising in the directory.

Barb Wysocki , President, Downers Grove Area Chamber of Commerce, said the Chamber will not overly promote to non-members. They will not send out a mailer to these businesses, but they will do press releases and will work to coordinate publication of information in the Village Corner.

Commissioner Urban said he would like a written recommendation from the Chamber as to the parameters and the fees the Chamber is recommending.

The Mayor said the Village would like to list all Downers Grove businesses in the directory.

Commissioner Tully said the question is whether the Village should support the directory. He feels that this should absolutely be supported. It is a tremendous tool and resource guide, and the Village benefits from it.

ATTORNEY ’S REPORT

Village Attorney Enza Petrarca asked for a motion to adopt an ordinance designating Preserve at Belmont as Final Planned Development Number 39 with a Variation.

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE COMPREHENSIVE ZONING ORDINANCE OF THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE , ILLINOIS TO DISIGNATE PRESERVE AT BELMONT AS FINAL PLANNED DEVELOPMENT NUMBER 39 WITH A VARIATION

ORDINANCE NO . 4796

Commissioner Tully moved to adopt AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE COMPREHENSIVE ZONING ORDINANCE OF THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE , ILLINOIS TO DESIGNATE PRESERVE AT BELMONT AS FINAL PLANNED DEVELOPMENT NUMBER 39 WITH A VARIATION , as presented. Commissioner Urban seconded.

Commissioner Tully said the only variation is a four-foot height variance driven by the need to be sensitive to Stormwater issues.

VOTE :YEA – Commissioners Tully, Urban, Waldack, Sandack, Schnell, Mayor Krajewski NAY None

Mayor Krajewski declared the motion carried.

Index: PLANNED DEVELOPMENT #39 – PRESERVE AT BELMONT

Ms. Petrarca said she was presenting 11 items to the Council: 1) A resolution authorizing execution of an intergovernmental agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and the Downers Grove Park District for construction of parking improvements at Doerhoffer Park; 2) A resolution authorizing execution of a lease agreement for parking between the Village of Downers Grove and Elite Sports Complex; 3) A resolution authorizing execution of a tiered approach to corrective action objective agreement; 4) An ordinance vacating a certain portion of a public alley east of 513 Chicago Avenue in the Village of Downers Grove; 5) An ordinance approving a redevelopment agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Three Lights Development, LLC ; 6) A resolution approving the final plat of subdivision for the Charles Place Subdivision; 7) An ordinance amending the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of the Village of Downers Grove, Illinois, to designate Charles Place as Final Planned Development #41; 8) An ordinance authorizing a special use for a professional office building located at 6040 Main Street; 9) An ordinance amending sign provisions; 10) An ordinance amending demolition/construction site management; and 11) An ordinance amending certain water billing procedures.

COUNCIL MEMBERS

Mayor Krajewski said he noticed tree trimming trucks on the sidewalks today at Woodward and Prentiss. He asked staff to look into this matter. He asked that staff also look into the table set up in front of the Post Office. The Mayor thanked the Downers Grove Youth Baseball Rookie 8-year old All Star Game for inviting him to their game. He thanked Fire Chief Ruscetti and Deputy Police Chief Black for their participation.

There being no further discussion, the Workshop meeting was adjourned at 8:50 p.m.

April K. Holden Village Clerk tmh