Mayor Sandack 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 Ron Sandack; Commissioners Marilyn Schnell, Martin Tully, William Waldack, Sean P. Durkin; Geoff Neustadt; Bruce E. Beckman; Village Manager Cara Pavlicek; Village Attorney Enza Petrarca; Village Clerk April Holden
Visitors: Press: Samantha Nelson, Downers Grove Reporter Residents: John Schofield, 1125 Jefferson; Jackie Karlson, 4832 Florence; Janice Sommer, 4824 Florence; Marge & Edward Earl, 4720 Florence; Norma Bonder, 4724 Florence; Carol Schmidt, 4800 Florence; George Joch, 4800 Florence; Chris Ekstrom, 530 Fairmount; Bryan Oakley, 588 Declaration; Jeff Oakley, 930 Middleton; Christine Fregeau, 1918 Elmore; John McCarty, 1524 George; Don Hlinsky, 4728 Saratoga, DuPage Amateur Radio Club; Mitchell Mize, Intercapital Main & Maple, LLC , 414 N. Orleans; Jim Mueller, 8521 Thistlewood Ct., Darien; Mark Thoman, 1109 61st Street, Dan Dreiser, 4624 Lee Avenue; Bob Long, 1864 Grant Street; Kevin Block, 4217 Florence; Gordon Goodman, 5834 Middaugh; Tim McJoynt, 1131 Warren; Joe Mendrich, 6124 Lane Place; Star Coyle, 6205 Lane Place Staff: Liangfu Wu, Director, Information Services; Bob Porter, Police Chief; Tom Dabareiner, Director, Community Development; Jeff O’Brien, Sr. Planner, Community Development; Andy Matejcak, Director, Counseling & Social Services; Mary Scalzetti, Director, Community Events; Judy Buttny, Acting Director, Finance; Dave Fieldman, Deputy Village Manager; Mike Baker, Assistant Village Manager; Phil Ruscetti, Fire Chief; Dave Barber, Director, Public Works; Doug Kozlowski, Director, Communications; Wes Morgan, Director, Human Resources; Brandon Dieter, Management Intern
Mayor Sandack 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.
Mayor Sandack said that the order of business would be changed, with the Active Agenda items as there are members of the public who are interested in those items. The Consent Agenda will be discussed after the Active Agenda items.
Fire Department Promotion
Fire Chief Phil Ruscetti introduced Jeffrey S. Oakley who was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. The Chief provided background information.
Mayor Sandack thanked Lt. Oakley for his service to the Village.
Active Agenda and Informational Items
Manager Pavlicek reviewed the items on the Active Agenda for questions and comments.
2007 New Sidewalk Program (Matrix) and Downtown Crosswalk Upgrades.
The Manager said that this item has been before the Council on two prior occasions and staff has responded to the questions raised by the Council concerning Kenyon Street and the location of the Florence Street sidewalk.
Mayor Sandack said that residents have commented on this issue concerning the Florence Avenue segment at previous meetings as well as the latest Coffee With the Council. He asked that anyone wishing to see the sidewalk moved to the west side make their comments this evening.
Commissioner Schnell said that she would like to see the sidewalk matrix pass, but take out the Florence segment to discuss on which side of the street the sidewalk can be placed. She walked the area. The right-of-way issue shows more room on the east side than on the west side. She noted that ditches are deeper on the west side. She sees these as compelling reasons for installation on the east side. She further noted the ability to get to the park from either the east or the west side. Commissioner Schnell said that there is also a utility pole located on the west side. She noted that the east side will be more expensive and will result in the loss of more trees. She said that staff has worked with the residents on other projects to save trees and she hopes that would be done in this case as well. She is concerned about children walking on the west side due to the elevation of the site and the ditch. She felt that there were compelling reasons to place the sidewalk on the east side. She also expressed her desire to keep the funds for the whole project and include Florence as the last piece to allow time for more discussion and study.
Mayor Sandack asked whether anyone wants to speak to keeping it on the west side as recommended by staff.
Commissioner Tully said there are 14 different sidewalk segments concerned in this issue, including Florence. He does not want to hold up the entire contract. His only concern with having Florence moved to the end of the list is that those on the east side may not have voiced their concerns because the sidewalk was proposed to be on the west side. He would not want Florence to come off the matrix and would not like to start the entire process over.
Commissioner Schnell said her intent is not to slow the process, but to be sure the sidewalk is in the best spot.
The Mayor said that the concept before the Council is to put Florence at the end of the season and asked whether that can be done.
Dave Barber , Director of Public Works, said it can be done and staff has spoken with the contractor. The work will begin after July 4. They could work with the neighbors to chalk out the area.
Commissioner Tully asked whether this could be voted on tonight. Manager Pavlicek said that the Council might have to authorize a change order once the Florence segment is determined, which should not be a problem.
Commissioner Waldack said he agrees with what is being proposed. The advantage for the east side is the setback. He was convinced to move it to the east side because of what it would do to parking and he would like to look at parking restrictions in the future.
Marge Earl, 4720 Florence, showed a photo of the conditions of the creek on the west side of the street. She would like action on this as well, noting that Public Works has had a meeting for Florence Avenue residents already.
Norma Border , 4724 Florence, the west side of the street, thanked the Council for coming to the site to see the situation, and to consider their request.
Nancy Svoboda , 4702 Florence, said that there is more setback on the east side of the street. She appreciates the time and energy spent by the Council on behalf of the residents.
Christine Fregeau , 1918 Elmore, said that the process works well, and she commended the Council for being responsive to the residents. She noted that staff has done a good job of working on so many segments. Every year concerns are expressed. She said that the matrix is stable but not static. She suggested they might see whether there are opportunities to do field work further ahead of what is currently done. She said this is an investment for current residents as well as the future.
Commissioner Tully said that the principal reason for another meeting would be to meet with those residents living on the east side.
Commissioner Schnell said that the value of another meeting is that it will enable everyone to know what the engineers are thinking. She said that the residents could walk the area with staff.
Brick Streets Maintenance Policy.
The Manager said that earlier in the year the Council and residents had a number of discussions about the brick streets and staff is looking for direction from the Council. Staff has presented a resolution to the Council for that purpose.
Mayor Sandack said he understood staff’s comments to mean that staff assumes the Council wants reconstruction of the existing brick streets to be part of the regular budget and not a Special Service Area item. The Manager said that they would include those streets that are brick streets and not those that are brick streets covered with asphalt.
Commissioner Schnell said this is fair to everyone in her opinion. She likes that the SSA for brick streets would no longer exist.
Commissioner Neustadt said he believes it is important for those streets to remain, and agrees that residents on brick streets should not have to pay for the maintenance.
Commissioner Beckman applauded the direction that the Council was taking and suggested that staff prepare a more broadly based policy. The Manager said the title of the resolution is to help staff in search of records. The broader policy will be the design standards for the municipal infrastructure. She addressed how this will fit into the strategic plan.
Commissioner Tully said that he disagrees with the policy and with his colleagues. He referenced the history of the streets which were reconstructed in 1982 and designated as historically significant. He said that the Village has an SSA policy whereby, if a neighborhood wants something that is not normally done throughout the Village, the Village can create an SSA tax for the area allowing the residents to get what they want. He explained that the Village pays for the normal cost of maintenance, and the SSA is for the increment to cover the brick. He noted that Oakwood, Middaugh and Franklin were declared historic districts in 1982 after research done with the Historical Society. Another group of streets was reconstructed in 1986 and the Village paid for those brick streets, although they were not designated as historic. The third area including Saratoga, Prince, and other areas was done in 1988 pursuant to an SSA . His concern with the policy is that it places aesthetics above public safety, stormwater, and sidewalks. He does not believe brick streets should be high on the priority list based on aesthetics, and does not feel that the brick streets should be customarily provided by the Village. Areas deemed as historical are different than the other areas. He believes the policy has significant implications for the Village and is concerned about the precedent that it might set and urged the Council to rethink this issue.
Mayor Sandack noted that the prior Council hotly debated this item. He agrees with Commissioner Tully with respect to setting policies on a go forward basis. History shows that the past policies were uneven and sometimes done with no distinctions. He said that what has been learned is that by and large, a road is a road. The residents on Oakwood studied the costs with respect to maintaining and reconstructing brick streets. The fact is that there is no maintenance. Residents were not given credits for the fact that there was no maintenance on their roads. He believes that having a clear policy is better than one subject to interpretation. The Mayor said he appreciates Commissioner Tully’s comments. However, he noted that they are not talking about a large number of streets and not a large amount of money. He supports this as it is a clear policy that is completely ascertainable.
Commissioner Schnell said that in 1982 the Historical Society and the Council said the streets were of historical value. The streets were not reconstructed. She said that bricks were lifted and sand was filled in so they would look better. In 1988 residents worked out a formula and decided to pay for the work themselves. She said that in the present debate the statement was that all brick streets are important to this community and are not costing the community that much more because of their longevity and minimal maintenance. She disagrees with Commissioner Tully in that she believes the Village treated people unfairly in the past. She noted the cost is $7500 which will not pay for a stormwater policy. This policy allows everyone to be treated the same.
Commissioner Durkin said that all streets are a public asset, and he will support this policy.
Commissioner Tully stated that he understands the need and desire to be fair, but they should be focused on a clear policy on a going forward basis. He sees this as an aesthetic issue above the basic needs, and noted that a road is not a road. Some streets have no curb and gutter, no sidewalk, and have traffic safety issues, etc. These are a higher priority than aesthetic issues.
Commissioner Durkin responded that these are existing streets. They are already here. They are not talking about changing something. They are talking about maintaining what is already there, and he believes the Village should maintain what they already have.
Commissioner Tully said that there are other conditions that the Village doesn’t want to see maintained such as blind hills, or stormwater issues, etc. He sees this as a question of priorities.
Commissioner Beckman noted that this matter is not dealing with other projects, but with just a few streets. He feels those people who chose to cover brick streets with asphalt lessened the community.
Commissioner Waldack said that brick streets have historical value. Looking at this from an historical and economic point, he supports this. Not only do they have historical value, but they also have a traffic calming effect.
Commissioner Tully said he thinks this is an appropriate discussion because it is a policy that would require the Village to consider brick streets as something customarily provided by the Village along with other things including stormwater, sidewalks, streets, etc. He thinks the comments on prioritization are completely on point.
Commissioner Schnell said they would get to the other issues such as stormwater, sidewalks, etc., in time. This issue deals with an item of historical significance. People wanted the brick streets, and they add to the beauty of the community for everyone. This policy doesn’t diminish the importance of any of the other services provided by the community.
There were no comments from the audience.
Final Planned Development – Main & Maple Redevelopment .
Tom Dabareiner , Director, Community Development made a PowerPoint presentation of the proposed three-story mixed-use development for Main and Maple. It would contain 18,600 square feet in total, with a retail portion of 5,300 square feet. Garages would be on the first floor. He showed slides of the elevation depicting the residential and retail space, including garages, as well as landscaping plans. Mr. Dabareiner said that the developer would no longer require an encroachment into the easement. He said that the Plan Commission recommended approval of this proposal at its April 23 meeting.
Mayor Sandack said that this parcel is Village-owned. He said that this has a requirement for retail on the first floor with an allowance for some service business. He said it is a creative use of the space, which is currently used as a parking lot with no green space and no generation of sales or real estate taxes. He thinks it is well contemplated and well designed.
Commissioner Durkin echoed the Mayor’s comments regarding the difficulty of the property. He commended the developer for the design, and asked about security for the stairways.
Jeff O’Brien , Senior Planner, said there is no security gate, but they may consider it as they market it. The Homeowners Association could possibly consider it later.
Commissioner Durkin asked about stormwater retention. The Manager said that she thinks the requirements will be provided by the parking deck.
Commissioner Durkin said the only area that bothers him is that there doesn’t appear to be much greenspace. He asked about the roof being green. The Manager said that the developer complies with the requirements.
Mayor Sandack added that the Village is getting more greenspace than what is currently there.
Commissioner Beckman expressed concern about parking. He doesn’t see much space for retail or visitors, and asked how the estimate for parking was determined.
Mayor Sandack said that the zoning requirements are being exceeded by this project.
Commissioner Beckman then noted receipt of the information stating that the parking requirement is seven spaces, and they are proposing 19 spaces, which answered his concerns.
The Manager added that Director Dabareiner pointed out that open parking in the back is meant for retail as well as guests or visitors. There are unique parking requirements in the downtown area, and the developer was sensitive to parking needs.
Commissioner Neustadt asked about the curb cuts, saying he recalled that the building from the north would be removed and there would be one or two more on-street parking spots. Director Dabareiner said that was correct.
Commissioner Neustadt added that he liked the project design and how it mirrors the Acadia on the Green project on the north end of the downtown.
Commissioner Waldack noted that the Council was presented with a number of options for this site. This is not as big as some of the projects proposed, as the Council wanted to make this fit aesthetically. He asked whether this would be wood construction meeting the 2006 building code. The Village has not made any changes to the Code. Based on what the Council has heard from the public he hopes Council will consider changes to the code to more metal construction. He is also concerned about parking, and although no parking spaces are required for commercial use, he would like the Parking & Transportation Commission to come up with a parking plan in the downtown area, as well as an overnight plan. He has heard people talking about the possibility of another parking deck, and he would not favor that. The Commissioner then noted that one of the 19 spaces would be handicapped as required. He asked staff to look at making some of the spaces wider, and he looks forward to the completion of the project.
Commissioner Schnell said that this is one of the only downtown projects that has provided off-street parking and they should be congratulated for it. She said this should be held out for other developers to follow. This developer has made a small step in the right direction and that should be acknowledged.
Commissioner Tully stated that this is Village property and a Village project in conjunction with the developer. The Council reviewed plans before approving the redevelopment agreement in January 2007. He said he asked if there are any other material changes made to the agreement as seen in January.
Mr. Dabareiner said he thought there were stairways to the rooftop that were removed, although it is still shown on the plan.
Commissioner Tully clarified that what is being requested is a special use and approval of the final planned development for the project. He said that this project would be appropriate for approval under the Village’s Code. He then asked as to the timing for construction and demolition since they are about one month away from Heritage Festival. Mr. Dabareiner said that they would be into July before activity begins on this project.
Bill Wrobel , 7800 Queens Court, said that historically this parcel was acquired by the Village to bring greenspace into the downtown, and the parking lot was an interim accommodation during the garage construction. He reminded the Council that they have lost major greenspace with this proposal.
Final Planned Development, Final Plat of Subdivision, and Special Use – Green Knolls Shopping Center, Main Street and 63rd Street.
Mr. Dabareiner said that there are three parts to the project: An ordinance for the Planned Development, an ordinance for the special use drive-up window at Walgreens, and a resolution for the final plat of subdivision. The site is the northwest corner of 63rd Street and Main, and is surrounded by residential on the north and the west. The proposal calls for a new planned development on the entire site with a resubdivision of two sites into three sites. There will be new retail on the south side, with Walgreens to the north, as well as a third site that is not part of the initial phase. He pointed out changes that will be made to the site, including closure of some access and traffic changes.
Mr. Dabareiner said that the special use is for the drive-through window for Walgreens on the north side. He noted that the noise from the window is controlled in part by the hours of operation. He indicated that the site plan meets all the zoning requirements except for green space, which is a great improvement over the present amount of less than 1%. The greenspace proposed would be 9.9%, which is still a significant variation of 34.2%.
Mr. Dabareiner said that the developer would include an eight-foot vinyl fence. He noted that a number of comments from the public at the Plan Commission hearing, as well as staff comments were included in the proposal, including lighting, the fence, foliage and traffic signage. The Plan Commission recommended approval with the conditions as outlined in their approval.
The Mayor said that in the original contemplation the drive-through would not impact residents because it was centered at 63rd and Main. He noted that Walgreens has experience with the drive-through on Ogden and Main and that should positively impact this proposal and result in as little interference as possible to the neighbors. He feels the design and the plan is good considering the challenges of this site.
Commissioner Durkin asked about the back entrance on the north side of the property and whether it will be closed. Mr. Dabareiner said that was correct. The Commissioner asked about landscaping along the fence saying he wants to see something solid at that location to grow eventually beyond the fence and create a natural buffer during the winter months. Mr. Dabareiner said that staff would work with the developer to assure that the intent is addressed. He indicated that the specification was a six-foot height minimum. The planting will be on the resident side only.
Commissioner Durkin asked about the tenants along 63rd Street. Mr. Dabareiner said that some of the present tenants would move from the existing structure into that area.
The Mayor said with Walgreens entering there, the tenant mix might change over the next few years.
Commissioner Durkin said he thinks this is a great addition and complimented the developer for coming back after the original proposal and responding to the public outcry by providing a workable plan for the site. He noted that the developer has worked with the residents who would be directly impacted by this proposal. He looks forward to the change and said he would like to see a coffee shop there.
Commissioner Beckman asked whether there were any discussions regarding ingress and egress since there is an obvious problem turning left onto Main Street. Mr. O’Brien said that the petitioner was required to do a traffic study to determine whether the traffic generated by the development would warrant any turn lanes onto the public road. The study resulted in the changes in access points which he showed on the site plan, which should allow a sufficient gap for turning based on the timing of the traffic signals.
Commissioner Neustadt asked whether trees for the north side buffer are included in the figures for greenspace. Mr. Dabareiner responded that it is not included as it is located in the parkway. It is intended as a buffer. The Commissioner asked if there is any room in the parking aisles to add medians for greenspace. He agreed with others that this is a good plan, and likes that the neighbors were directly included. He thanked the Plan Commission, and the staff for their work with the residents and developer.
Commissioner Waldack said he was of the understanding that there is no plan to keep this open 24 hours. If they should move to 24 hours, would they have to come back to the Council. Mr. Dabareiner said that for a special use they would have to come to the Council and limits can be placed there. In terms of changing the operation from 7:00 a.m. to midnight to a 24-hour time frame they can do that by right. However, the hours for the drive-through special use can be limited. Commissioner Waldack said if they were to extend to 24 hours he would like to have them come before the Council again. He would also like the lights turned off when they are not in operation. The Commissioner also asked that delivery hours be observed, and that these issues be included in the agreement.
Commissioner Schnell commented that Walgreens learned from the public discussion with the initial proposal. At Main and Ogden the screening was six feet and was done well. She hopes this alleviates some of the concerns regarding noise. The greenspace is better, but it is not great, and she would like to see some type of landscape island in the two long expanses of parking. This would eliminate a possible speedway, and it is aesthetically pleasing. Additional greenspace would soften the look of the asphalt. The Commissioner said that she is concerned about the signage and wants it made clear that the signage has to conform to the Village’s ordinance.
The Mayor said this is a solid design, and he asked whether they would retrofit the building and upgrade the building. Mr. Dabareiner then showed a slide depicting the upgrade planned.
Commissioner Tully said that the site is a challenging one, and it was always contemplated that development on this site would require some variations. There are three parts of the Village Code affected by this including Section 28-1607 for the Planned Development, Section 28-1902 for the special use, and Section 28-1803 to grant the variations. Commissioner Tully reiterated that it is a tough project to design, and as for the variation regarding open space, he would like to see more open space, understanding that it is a challenging site. In every other category the proposal exceeds the Village requirements. Commissioner Tully said he agreed with Commissioner Waldack that the special use be conditioned upon the current operating hours, requiring that any changes in the hours come back to the Council for approval.
The Mayor said he thinks the Council agrees that any change in hours for the drive-through would have to come to the Council. The Manager asked for clarification that the ordinance includes the hours of operation for both the store and the drive through, and that changes to the hours of the drive-through special use would trigger coming back for Council approval. The Council members agreed with that clarification.
Commissioner Schnell said that in the Plan Commission meeting there was mention that there would be no signage on the north side of the building, and she wanted to verify that there would be no signage facing the residential area.
Mr. O’Brien said that the staff required that there be no lighted signage on the north side of the Walgreen’s building. They can have a drive-through sign, but it cannot be lighted, and that is a condition of the special use.
Mayor Sandack asked if everyone agrees with the hours of the special use being included in the ordinance. The Mayor said he thinks they want the deliveries to take place from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Manager said with the lighting issue, they can check with other developments. Mr. Dabareiner said that they will have to have at least security lighting. Village Attorney Petrarca then asked about the landscape islands. The Mayor asked the petitioner to consider more greenspace if possible.
Commissioner Durkin asked what impact additional greenspace would have on Ace Hardware’s ability to store sale items. He thinks that is a consideration that has to be looked at. Mr. Dabareiner said that a bigger issue would be if a restaurant comes into the site and when additional spaces might be used. He said staff would look at the potential for additional greenspace with the petitioner to make sure the needs are balanced out. Commissioner Durkin said the Ace Hardware store has been there for a long time, and he doesn’t want to chase out the hardware stores.
Deputy Village Manager Dave Fieldman said that permanent outdoor storage requires a petition for a special use and approval by the Village Council, and that was not requested as part of this. Another way for approval of outdoor storage is a temporary use permit approved at the staff level. Staff will continue to work with the hardware store on these issues.
Joe Mendrich , 6124 Lane Place, said that at the Plan Commission meeting much of the mediation occurred. He used the site plan showing where the drive-though window is and the initial plan for evergreens. He said that they need some corrections to the existing condition. He indicated that the evergreens should be buffers but are not to be on the north side. Discussion has taken place about the front of the plaza, but not on the back which is adjacent to the resident homes. There are weeds and trees out of control that need to be addressed. Even in the new plans they show evergreens on 63rd Street, and not on the north side. That is where the drive-through speaker is located. He said that the resident most directly affected could not be present due to health issues. She asked that the trees for buffering be close together. Residents have worked hard in the last two years to improve the neighborhood, and tried to plant in the back area. They are happy to see the renovations, but the residents don’t want to be left out. He asked whether the residents can meet with the Village Forester when the final plans are drawn up so the residents can have some input on what would be planted.
The Mayor said he saw no reason why they could not do so, and the petitioner’s counsel will be asked to address this. Proper maintenance has to be included in the considerations.
Commissioner Schnell said she thought the discussion was to have the buffer on the north side and planted in the right-of-way.
Star Coyle , 6205 Lane Place, said that her bedroom would be next to the drive-through. The fence has been broken when snowplows go through the lot, and the owner has never fixed that. She would like greenery along there to help with the sound problems. Her property is on the lot line, and her fence goes all the way down her driveway. If they choose to put greenery on her side she will not be opposed to that.
Dr. Gordon Goodman , 5834 Middaugh, said that this is in his neighborhood as well and is a better use of the land than the previous development. He congratulated the Commissioners for turning down the previous development which prompted this revised proposal. Dr. Goodman said this is a better job of renovating the site of this out-of-date shopping center and making it a useful site. This still leaves a pad for another restaurant, and they enjoyed having Lonestar there. The only reservation is that it does not come far enough into the contemporary mode with the green space. There is a good deal of parking which is 10.9 % over the Code requirements. They are 34% below the Code for greenspace and he thinks they need to make this a better match to the Code. He noted that staff has two weeks before the next meeting to address some of these issues, but overall he thinks it is a good proposal.
Tim McJoynt , 1131 Warren, commented as the attorney for the petitioner, that they think this is an improved plan that has addressed the issues raised by the Council and the public in the original plan. He noted that the Plan Commission was unanimous in its recommendation, and the developer has kept in close contact with the neighbors throughout this. He discussed the fence issue saying it will be addressed to meet everyone’s concerns. As for the drive-through, it has been changed from two lanes to one. The challenge with plantings is that it would be on Village land, and they are willing to do it; however, the issue is maintenance. He said this would have to be discussed with the staff and developer after planting. As for the greenspace, there is more than enough parking. He spoke with the developer saying that they think adding greenspace islands is doable. He reiterated that the only variance is for greenspace. As to the store hours and deliveries for Walgreens, they need to discuss the issue of hours. Walgreens has indicated they want no restrictions so this will have to be addressed. As to lighting and hours of operation, Mr. McJoynt said that Walgreens has learned much from its’ Ogden Avenue site and will use that experience to address the needs of this site. There is a detention system established. He indicated that the plan is to construct the outbuilding first, saying that not all of the spaces are spoken for as yet.
The Mayor said residents have expressed concern regarding the maintenance of the grass, weeds, etc. on the back of the building. He asked Mr. McJoynt to follow-up on that issue with the residents.
Chris Fregeau , 1918 Elmore, asked about the traffic pattern noting that one curb cut is full access while the other is limited.
Kevin Block , 4217 Florence Avenue, asked what the recourse will be if the developer doesn’t live up to his commitments. The Mayor responded that if they violate the terms of the agreement, the special use can be withdrawn.
Planned Development Amendment – Special Use – Downers Park Plaza, 7451 Lemont Road.
Manager Pavlicek said this amendment relates to the Taco Bell in the Downers Park Plaza and asked Mr. Dabareiner to provide the Council with the information.
Mr. Dabareiner said that the special use requested is related to the drive-up window at Taco Bell at 75th and Lemont Road. This is a 40,000 square foot site, and the Taco Bell is 2,500 square feet. They would like to demolish the existing building, re-orient it to make it 2,800 square feet and make improvements to the site. They have met all of the requirements, and received unanimous approval from the Plan Commission. He showed on the proposed site plan what the intent is for the reconstruction.
Commissioner Durkin said he thought it was an improved project and he likes the additional green space. He is concerned, however, about the loitering of the adults in the parking lot. It is a concern that should be addressed. The Manager said staff would ask the developer to work directly with the Police Department on this type of issue.
Commissioner Tully said that this request is for a special use and a planned development which would replace the existing building with a slightly larger building. The criteria are from Section 28-1607 and Section 28-1902 of the Municipal Code. The petitioner’s proposal exceeds the minimum requirements.
First Amendment to Redevelopment Agreement with Luxury Motors.
Deputy Village Manager Dave Fieldman said this request is for a first amendment to the Redevelopment Sales Tax Rebate Agreement. He said there are five topics involved. The Strategic Plan adopted in 2006 and the Ogden Avenue Plan approved earlier apply to this proposal. The Strategic Plan seeks more attractive commercial development and more contribution to the local economy in terms of sales and property taxes. The Ogden Avenue strategy has as goals to improve Ogden Avenue’s appearance, improve the economic performance of the corridor, improve vehicular and pedestrian traffic using closed streets and curb cuts in connection with new developments, and redevelop a minimum of two sites per year.
Mr. Fieldman noted the site conditions. The lack of lot depth on Ogden Avenue hinders the ability for modern retail developments. In addition multiple land ownership and trade area competition are also hindrances. In 2005 the Village entered into a Redevelopment and Sales Tax Rebate Agreement with Luxury Motors, and he outlined the terms of that Agreement (the “Agreement”). One aspect of the Agreement is the Village’s ability to withhold permanently any sales tax payments due to Luxury Motors if they have any violations of the Village Code for more than 90 days, and that will continue to remain the case whether the amendment is approved or not. Luxury Motors operates in three separate locations, and proposes to purchase two apartment buildings on Florence Avenue and the LaMantia building which will be demolished. The key concepts of the proposal are that Luxury Motors would expand their facility, petition for a rezoning and special use, comply with the Village’s ordinances, submit a letter of credit of approximately $500,000 in addition to an existing letter of credit, and meet all construction schedules and deadlines. The Village would design and construct a detention basin and duly consider the petition for rezoning and the special use. Mr. Fieldman said that the Council is being asked to vote on the first amendment at the June 5 Council meeting, with the petition for rezoning and special use at a later date for late fall construction.
The Mayor said that this is consistent with the Ogden Avenue Vision Statement to put Ogden Avenue to its best use as a vital economic corridor. He said that if the Village does not continue with the Agreement, it is quite likely that Luxury/Bentley will move elsewhere. The car dealership competition is fierce. He said that this Agreement would allow maintenance of sales tax revenues, and from his perspective it is a solid agreement.
Commissioner Neustadt commented on the concept of improving the appearance and function of the Ogden Avenue corridor, and compliance with the Village’s ordinances. He said they should keep this in mind as they move forward.
Commissioner Schnell said that she would also like to keep Luxury Motors in the Village, but they do not want to sell the residents down the road. She has concerns, and her views are tainted by Luxury’s ability to comply with ordinances based on other problems with their other Ogden Avenue facility. Her major concern is the land use change with no public informational meetings. She feels that the public informational meeting should have come first. Luxury Motors should have held this meeting. This will change the lifestyle of the residents next to the apartment buildings, and she believes they owe it to the residents to inform them of what is going on. The Commissioner said she anticipates a public outcry with this proposal, and she sees many issues arising with this. She would like to know the impact this will have to the properties to the south.
The Mayor responded that Luxury Motors would have to follow the zoning process.
Mr. Fieldman said that the Agreement obligates Luxury Motors to comply with the terms of the Agreement. He noted that the compliance rates with Luxury Motors were less than stellar in the past; however, they have gone up dramatically since the Village withheld payments to them.
Commissioner Beckman asked about the border between the redesigned parking lot and the residential area. Mr. Fieldman said that it is a buffer zone. Commissioner Beckman said he shared some of Commissioner Schnell’s concerns. He asked about the buffer zone and Mr. Fieldman said that he would have Mr. O’Brien provide that information to the Council.
Commissioner Durkin said that their ability to be a good corporate citizen is a huge concern, based on their previous track record. They are expected to be good citizens. He is concerned about the number of employees that he continues to see running across the street. He sees this as a potential accident and he wants to know how they will address that. He wants to see penalties put in place to prevent the employees from running across the street and dodging cars.
The Mayor said if they can redevelop the property as contemplated they would probably be able to have less back and forth travel. Mr. Fieldman said specifically to that concept is that the north side would be only the Bentley portion of operations, with the south side incorporating only the Luxury Motors operations. They hope that the crossing issue will be reduced.
Commissioner Durkin said his primary concern is that staff is “hoping” the crossing issue will stop. He said he shares a lot of Commissioner Schell’s comments based on past behavior.
Commissioner Beckman asked for clarification that with the expansion there would be two separate entities functioning. Mr. Fieldman said that is not clear at this point as to whether future expansion will also be necessary. Commissioner Beckman said that if it isn’t clear, then a commitment has to be made to have people on one or the other side. Mr. Fieldman said that the options they have are police enforcement, as well as continued negotiations with Luxury Motors.
Commissioner Waldack said just before he was elected Luxury Motors was a hot topic at Coffee with the Council, and they were portrayed as less than good corporate citizens. He agrees that they are important to the Village, and he likes that they are going to be two separate entities with fewer trips crossing Ogden Avenue. He said this is a business deal. He wants to support this and is hopeful that it will work, but he thinks the Council also needs to hear from the residents and neighbors.
Mayor Sandack agreed with Commissioner Waldack that this is a business deal. He noted that the area is in a TIF District, and the Council has tasked staff to make Ogden Avenue competitive. This is the largest corporate taxpayer for the Village. They are wishing to expand their operation, and they will situate themselves elsewhere if not in Downers Grove. The Mayor said he thinks that the critical element of the Ogden Avenue Master Plan was time. This is not a perfect corporate citizen and there have been challenges in the past; however, those challenges have lessened over time. He believes that the community has done a solid job of managing a very difficult situation. He reminded everyone that the Master Plan was built specifically for this type of concentration.
Commissioner Tully said that he believes they need to work hard to expand the tax base, not the tax rate. Sales tax is a huge component of paying for the basic services of Downers Grove. The Council has supported the EDC to make sure that there is a vibrant corporate tax base. There are many communities waiting to take the Village’s tax base away. Commissioner Tully said that the prior agreement and this agreement try to achieve a balance, and the Village would have to replace the revenue stream if they leave the area. However, he is not saying the Village should bend over backwards to meet unacceptable demands. He believes this agreement makes sense and secures a revenue stream while addressing concerns. There should be proper sanctions in place to address any outstanding issues. The Commissioner noted that there are land issues which should be brought out early for the residents to hear and understand. The key aspects of the Ogden Avenue Master Plan is assembling lots and going deeper into residential areas. There will be more hearings on the land use in the future.
Mayor Sandack said that this is an extra layer of process, and the zoning process will occur down the line. This was contemplated by the Lakota Plan for the Ogden Avenue Master Plan.
John Schofield , 1125 Jefferson Avenue, asked about stormwater provisions under the street rather than under the parking lot which will hold the used cars. This doesn’t make sense to him because there is more load on the street. The street will have to be closed while that facility is being built as well. He asked who would have the maintenance responsibility for the storage facility. Putting it on the streets seems to obligate the Village rather than the facility, and it is not clear to him why they would go in that direction.
Mr. Fieldman said that there are three reasons for putting it on the public right of way. The NPDES -Phase II (Clean Water Act) requires municipalities to take an active role in the maintenance of stormwater facilities. Secondly, this is an application of a regional detention basin concept which, if it is successful, staff would like to see employed not only on Ogden Avenue but in other places in the Village as well. Thirdly, Luxury Motors’ long-term plan is for a new dealership located on the site. Each new dealership has specific site design constraints and parameters. If a basin were placed under a parking lot it might conflict with an unknown building design in the future.
Mark Thoman , 1109 61st Street, requested that there be a more rigorous financial analysis of $500,000 for an underground water storage facility. If the Village is going to do this on a continuing basis, there should be more accurate and detailed analyses of the actual costs. Mr. Fieldman said that there is an extremely detailed cost analysis for Fire Station #2 with almost the same size and design. It came in at $200,000, and staff considers the figure of $500,000 more than adequate.
Ordinance Amending Liquor Restrictions Regarding Resealing of Wine Bottles.
The Manager said this would allow patrons to reseal wine bottles purchased in a restaurant. This ordinance would adopt State law which became effective on January 1, 2007. The Village Home Rule is currently stricter than the State law.
The Mayor said the concept is that this would eliminate and/or reduce DUI ’s in that it prevents over consumption. With this ordinance a person could transport a partially consumed bottle of wine home rather than feeling they would have to drink it on the premises or waste an expensive wine.
Commissioner Neustadt said he would request emphasis on training of personnel in the procedures.
Dr. Gordon Goodman, 5834 Middaugh, said this is a good step for the Village to take. He has seen this successfully implemented in other states and venues in Illinois.
Ordinance Amending the Provisions Regarding the Removal of Members of Boards and Commissions.
The Manager said this would require a consenting vote of the Village Council to remove members of Boards and Commissions.
The Mayor said it is common sense that the appointment and termination process should mirror one another.
Commissioner Neustadt said he was glad to see this, since he was one of the members who was fired previously. He feels it is important that the people who volunteer to serve on the Boards and Commissions know that their community values them.
Commissioner Waldack said that there was an unfortunate experience because of the existing language, and it is nice to see this come forward so quickly.
Commissioner Schnell said she supports this action and said there should be some place that defines for volunteers potential reasons for removal. She wants to honor the hours that volunteers put in for the Village.
Commissioner Beckman said he was also on a Board when the removals occurred. He is encouraged to see this being proposed so quickly.
Bid: Summit/Lane Place Watermain Improvements.
The Manager said that staff requests waiving the one-week waiting period so there will be no impediments for the bike race.
ComEd & AT&T Easement – Charles Place.
The Manager asked that the one-week waiting period be waived here as well. There has been some work relative to transformers that needs to be moved, and staff is trying to comply with ComEd’s requests.
Heritage Festival Agreement – Tent Rental Vendor.
Manager Pavlicek said that staff has requested the waiting period waiver since this relates to the Heritage Festival. She noted that two weeks ago the Council Workshopped a different vendor, who appeared unable to meet the conditions of the agreement. Chicago Party is the lowest and most responsible bid.
Consent Agenda Items
The Manager reviewed the items for questions and comments.
Nicor Easement – Belmont Underpass.
Vehicle Purchase Four-Wheel Drive Utility Vehicle.
Farmers’ Market Agreement.
Sungard Maintenance Agreement.
Resolution Accepting Public Improvements.
Resolution Approving a Release Agreement.
Commissioner Tully said that there were people on Lee Avenue who had questions regarding this and he asked that Mr. Fieldman circulate the information to the Council. The Manager said this would be placed on the Active Agenda for June 5 to include those questions and concerns.
Dan Dreiser , 4624 Lee Avenue, lives on the west side of Lee Avenue, across from Banchory Woods. He will be unable to attend the June 5 meeting due to surgery. He mentioned his concerns that have to do with the restrictor valve that was supposed to be put into place in 2005, but wasn’t done until 2006. However, there is still substantial flooding. Mr. Fieldman told him that the value is closed now, and that the Village will take charge and the valve will be opened. He asked what will happen to his property then, since when the valve was closed he experienced flooding. Before the Village approves this he would like the Village to investigate the flooding problem more thoroughly.
Mr. Fieldman said that when the valve is closed that means it is in place and operating at the proper flows. It is only open for cleaning purposes. When it is closed it is functioning per plan. The Mayor asked that Mr. Fieldman work with the developer to confirm all aspects of the working system to make sure it is functional.
Commissioner Tully said he noticed that they require public improvements, and he would like to know what “substantially complete” means before the Council is asked to approve this.
DuPage Radio Club Agreement.
MANAGER ’S REPORT
Mr. Fieldman said that the Village received a petition for an encroachment into an existing Village easement for the property at 807 Franklin. He said the Village Manager is permitted to execute a license agreement to permit easement encroachments provided that 48 hours notice is given to the Village Council. The proposed encroachment is a brick paver patio into an existing stormwater easement that is about 16 feet wide. The development team including Village engineers has reviewed and investigated the request and feels there is no issue for operation and maintenance of the storm sewer system. The Village Manager intends to execute the agreement after the 48-hour period.
ATTORNEY ’S REPORT
Village Attorney Enza Petrarca said she was presenting 17 items to the Council: 1) A resolution authorizing execution of a grant of easement between the Village of Downers Grove and Nicor Gas; 2) A resolution authorizing execution of an agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and the Indian Boundary YMCA to jointly conduct the 2007 Downers Grove Farmers’ Market; 3) A resolution authorizing execution of a maintenance agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Sungard HTE , Inc.; 4) A resolution authorizing acceptance of public improvements – Banchory Woods Subdivision; 5) A resolution authorizing execution of a release agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Joel Andersen Homes, Ltd.; 6) A resolution authorizing execution of a license agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and DuPage Amateur Radio Club to install, maintain and operate an antenna on Village property; 7) An ordinance amending the Downers Grove Liquor Code concerning re-sealed bottles of wine; 8) An ordinance amending provisions for the removal of members to Boards and Commissions; 9) A resolution authorizing execution of a first amendment to the redevelopment and sales tax rebate agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and Luxury Motors, Inc.; 10) An ordinance amending the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of the Village of Downers Grove, Illinois to designate Green Knolls Shopping Center as Final Planned Development Number 46 with a variation; 11) An ordinance authorizing a special use for Green Knolls Shopping Center; 12) A resolution approving the final plat of subdivision for the Green Knolls Subdivision; 13) An ordinance authorizing a special use for 7451 Lemont Road to permit a restaurant facility with a drive-up window; 14) An ordinance approving a planned development amendment to Planned Development #18 to permit construction of a one-story restaurant building with a drive-up window; 15) An ordinance amending the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of the Village of Downers Grove, Illinois to designate the northeast corner of Main & Maple Final Planned Development #47; 16) An ordinance authorizing a special use for Main & Maple to permit a multi-use planned development; and 17) A resolution for a Village Council policy regarding repair and maintenance of existing brick streets.
Attorney Petrarca asked the Council to consider waiving the traditional one-week waiting period to consider voting on four items discussed at this evening’s meeting.
Commissioner Tully moved to waive the one-week waiting period to consider new business. Commissioner Durkin seconded the motion.
VOTE : AYES : Commissioners Tully, Durkin, Beckman, Neustadt, Waldack, Schnell; Mayor Sandack
NAYS : None
Mayor Sandack declared the Motion passed.
1. A motion to award a contract for the Lane Place-Summit Street Water Main Improvements (CIP Project WA-027) in the amount of $620,442.50 to Martam Construction, Inc.
Commissioner Durkin moved to award a contract for the Lane Place-Summit Street Water Main Improvements (CIP Project WA-027) in the amount of $620,442.50 to Martam Construction, Inc. and direct staff to prepare the necessary budget amendments. Commissioner Beckman seconded the Motion.
VOTE : AYES : Commissioners Durkin, Beckman, Neustadt, Waldack, Tully, Schnell, Mayor Sandack
NAYS : None
Mayor Sandack declared the Motion passed.
2. A resolution authorizing execution of an easement agreement between the Village of Downers Grove, Commonwealth Edison and Illinois Bell Telephone Company. This will authorize execution of an easement agreement between the Village of Downers Grove, Commonwealth Edison and Illinois Bell Telephone Company for the property located at 945 Curtiss.
A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF AN EASEMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE , COMMONWEALTH EDISON AND ILLINOIS BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY
RESOLUTION 2007 -55
Commissioner Beckman moved to adopt a resolution authorizing execution of an easement agreement between the Village of Downers Grove, Commonwealth Edison and Illinois Bell Telephone Company, as presented. Commissioner Schnell seconded the Motion.
VOTE : AYES : Commissioners Beckman, Schnell, Neustadt, Durkin, Waldack, Tully, Mayor Sandack
NAYS : None
Mayor Sandack declared the Motion passed.
3. A resolution authorizing execution of a contract between the Village of Downers Grove and Chicago Party Rental. This will authorize a resolution between the Village of Downers Grove and Chicago Party Rental for tents and related equipment for the 2007 Heritage Festival.
A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF A CONTRACT BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND CHICAGO PARTY RENTAL
RESOLUTION 2007 -56
Commissioner Schnell moved to adopt a resolution authorizing execution of a contract between the Village of Downers Grove and Chicago Party Rental, as presented. Commissioner Waldack seconded the Motion.
VOTE : AYES : Commissioners Schnell, Waldack, Beckman, Neustadt, Durkin, Tully, Mayor Sandack
NAYS : None
Mayor Sandack declared the Motion passed.
4. An authorization of a contract for the 2007 new sidewalk program and the downtown crosswalk upgrade.
Commissioner Tully moved to authorize award of a contract for the 2007 new sidewalk program, Project CIP S -004, and the downtown crosswalk upgrade, CIP S -007 to A & R Cement Inc. of Bartlett, Illinois in the amount of $649,802.95 as presented. Commissioner Durkin seconded the Motion.
Commissioner Schnell expressed concern about the exact placement of the Florence sidewalks, as that has not been determined, and she wants something in the Motion that states it will be done last and the placement is yet to be determined.
The Manager suggested that Commissioner Tully accept an amendment to the Motion and simply direct staff to bring back a final decision on the Florence Avenue location, and staff at that time would include the change order or not.
Commissioner Tully agreed to the amendment and Commissioner Schnell seconded it.
Vote on the amendment: VOTE : AYES : Commissioners Tully, Schnell, Beckman, Neustadt, Durkin, Waldack, Mayor Sandack
NAYS : None
Mayor Sandack declared the Motion passed.
Vote on Motion as amended: VOTE : AYES : Commissioners Tully, Durkin, Beckman, Neustadt, Waldack, Mayor Sandack
NAYS : None
Mayor Sandack declared the Motion passed.
Commissioner Waldack said that the Mayor and Commissioners attended the Officer Barth memorial which was a great tribute to him, and a reminder to Police trainees that their work is not routine, but is dangerous. The Fire Department was there, and they also have a dangerous job which is not simply routine.
In regard to Walgreens, Commissioner Waldack said it went to the Plan Commission on April 2. Several residents were present and expressed concerns about the hours of operation. Tonight a memo was handed to the Council regarding a change in the hours of operation, dated May 2 and faxed on May 9. He is disappointed that they were notified that there was a change in the hours of operation on May 2 and the Council did not get this until tonight. He asked that the Village make sure that the sound barrier is a very good one, and he is also concerned about the lighting. Mr. John Polivka and Alex Lyubelski were at the Plan Commission expressing concerns about the hours of operation.
Commissioner Beckman said that there was a Business After Hours event sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and he appreciated their invitation. He said that he reviewed the Florence Avenue situation on Saturday. St. Joe’s Creek on the west side of the road needs to be looked at because a heavy rain could cause a serious problem. He asked the Manager to have staff look at this.
Commissioner Durkin said he attended the annual dinner for the DuPage Mayors and Manager’s Conference celebrating the past year. He thanked Dave Barber for the Public Works Open House event, the staff and the residents who attended. The Commissioner said the YMCA is looking for volunteers to work with the Farmers’ Market
Commissioner Tully expressed his appreciation to the Downers Grove Chamber of Commerce for this hospitality, as well as the people who attended the Public Works Open House, and the Barth Memorial event. He then reminded everyone about the concert on June 21, 2007 to support the 1846 Blodgett House which will be held at the Heritage Festival Beer Garden Stage in the Library parking lot. The band for the concert is Gin Blossom and he invited everyone to participate in preserving the Village’s heritage.
Commissioner Tully also said that on Saturday, June 2 at noon in Fishel Park, the VFW Post 503 will celebrate its 75th anniversary. He added that Memorial Day is often a kick-off of summer events, but it is also a somber day as well to remember those who have given their lives to preserve our freedoms and our way of life. He then wishes all the residents a safe and happy Memorial Day.
Mayor Sandack said he was invited to the Downers Grove North Softball Team Senior Day at Doerhoeffer Park, and threw the opening pitch, although it was not underhand. He was impressed by the parent support shown. The Mayor said his family enjoyed the Public Works Open House. On Friday he attended the Family Shelter Service annual event, and he looks forward to them being part of the community. Mayor Sandack then said that there will be the American Legion Post 80 annual Memorial Day celebration at Fishel Park. It is important to always remember those men and women who have put themselves in harm’s way to preserve our liberties.
Mayor Sandack then summarized the public hearing held by the Liquor Commission on May 3, 2007. He reviewed recommended suspensions and fines for North Beach and Sam’s Wines & Spirits. He presented his findings and orders as Liquor Commissioner. North Beach will be suspended for one day, Monday, June 4, 2007, and fined $1,000 as well as administrative costs of $1,000.
Sam’s Wines and Spirits located at 2010 Butterfield Road, will be fined $7,500 plus $1,000 administrative costs, and will be required to provide proof of purchase and installation of identification system software no later than July 1, 2007. Otherwise a one-day suspension will be served with an additional $2,500 fine.
The Mayor proclaimed the week of May 20-26, 2007 as Emergency Medical Services Week in the Village of Downers Grove.
Dr. Goodman thanked Commissioner Tully for his comments regarding the Gin Blossoms concert, saying there are nine locations where tickets can be purchased by cash or check, as well as on the 1846blodgetthouse.org website by credit card. He noted that there are 31 days to Heritage Festival, and 30 days until the Gin Blossoms come to Downers Grove.
Bob Long , 1864 Grant Street, said that last Thursday the Ogden/Lee/Grant/Stonewall neighbors held a meeting with 60 neighbors in attendance to discuss the Ogden/Lee Redevelopment Project. Staff and the developer and their attorney were present, and the developer surprised the Village and the neighbors with a significantly changed plan, including increasing the number of townhouses from 78 to 113. They were unable to obtain the property at Ogden and Lee. Residents expressed their concerns about numerous issues, and especially the concept of 113 townhouses in an area of single-family homes. He thanked Mr. Fieldman for the excellent job he did of facilitating the meeting. This was their third neighborhood meeting.
There being no further discussion, the Workshop meeting was adjourned at 10:25 p.m.
April K. Holden Village Clerk tmh