Mayor Ron Sandack called the regular meeting of the Village Council of the Village of Downers Grove to order at 4:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Downers Grove Village Hall.
Roll Call: Present: Mayor Ron Sandack, Commissioners William Waldack, Sean P. Durkin, Geoff Neustadt, Bruce Beckman
Absent: Commissioners Marilyn Schnell and Martin Tully
1. Executive Session to discuss personnel matters – Committee Room (4:00 p.m.)
Commissioner Durkin moved to go into Executive Session pursuant to Section 2©(3) of the Illinois Open Meetings Act to consider the selection of a person to fill a public office. Commissioner Beckman seconded the Motion.
VOTE : AYE – Commissioners Durkin, Beckman, Waldack, Neustadt, and Mayor Sandack
NAY – None
The Mayor declared the Motion carried and the Council convened into Executive Session in the Committee Room at 4:05 p.m.
Mayor Sandack reconvened the Workshop meeting of the Village Council of the Village of Downers Grove at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Village Hall. The Mayor led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
Present:Mayor Ron Sandack; Commissioners Marilyn Schnell, William Waldack, Sean P. Durkin, Geoff Neustadt, Bruce Beckman; Acting Village Manager Dave Fieldman; Village Attorney Enza Petrarca; Village Clerk April Holden
Absent:Commissioner Martin Tully
Visitors: Press: Catherine Leyden, Downers Grove Reporter Residents: Harold Liesenfelt, 16 W 343 83rd St., Burr Ridge, Village Square; Downers Grove Watch: Frank Falesch, 820 Prairie; Andy Clark, 1226 62nd Street; Dan Cermak, D.G. Park District, 2455 Warrenville Rd.; Bob Gelwicks, 1535 Grant; Kent Ebersold, Rotary Club, 1519 Hillcrest Road; Laura Crawford, D.G. Chamber of Commerce; John Schofield, 1125 Jefferson Ave.; Mark Thoman, 1109 61st St.; Sam Wojciechowski, 6901 Meadowcrest; Lisa Stack, 3736 Candlewood Ct.; Marge Earl, 4720 Florence Staff: Mike Millette, Assistant Director, Public Works; Judy Buttny, Director, Finance; Tom Dabareiner, Director, Community Development; Megan Bourke, Management Analyst
Mayor Sandack explained that Council Workshop meetings are held the second and fourth Tuesdays at 7:00 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 Council would consider the Consent Agenda item first this evening and then move to the Active Agenda items.
2. Consent Agenda Items
Downtown Pattern Book. Acting Village Manager Dave Fieldman asked Tom Dabareiner, Director, Community Development, to address this matter.
Tom Dabareiner , Director, Community Development, said the pattern book is consistent with the Strategic Plan for the downtown area. He showed the Council copies of the draft prepared by Houseal Lavigne. He explained that the pattern book is a tool to help the community protect and enhance its identity. It establishes basic building forms and architectural elements for retail areas and provides direction for future design. Mr. Dabareiner further explained that the pattern book provides neighborhood layouts and streetscapes on a block-by-block basis. Urban design elements are addressed and examples of existing developments as well as historical elements are included. The pattern book includes important architectural features that are good for a downtown retail area, including the types of appropriate materials, forms and styles of buildings.
Mr. Dabareiner stated that staff will proceed without hiring a consultant to draft design guidelines. The document was reviewed by the Architectural Design Review Board at three public meetings and they recommended acceptance. Staff is now seeking a motion from the Council to accept the document as presented, which will allow design development guidelines to be prepared for the downtown area. He said that the Downtown Management Corporation, business and property owners and the ADRB have all been involved in this process.
Mayor Sandack said the importance of the pattern book cannot be overstated. The book is 77 pages long and contains in-depth information. It outlines a process that will hopefully enhance the downtown area. Having standards for the continued growth and maintenance of the downtown area is important to the Village. He said that members of the ADRB he spoke with said they were extremely impressed with this document in terms of the design quality presented. The ultimate goal of staff is a façade improvement program that will make changes consistent with the design of the downtown area, and this will include participation by the business owners and the Village.
Commissioner Schnell asked how Council and staff will use this as a tool when looking at development and building for the downtown. Mr. Dabareiner responded that this is a solid research document that offers clues as to what works successfully across the country. Some areas of the downtown area are close to ideal and other areas would benefit from improvements. He explained that this document provides excellent information for use by developers. Pattern books have been used throughout history. Mr. Dabareiner said that the Village will be using it for diversity in the downtown area.
In response to a question by Commissioner Beckman, Mr. Dabareiner said that the pattern book will serve as the groundwork for a policy. Mr. Dabareiner said that the Village does not want a document that mandates a design, but something that provides diversity in the buildings. Pattern books can be used to show potential developers what the community values for its downtown business community.
Manager Fieldman agreed that a pattern book serves as a research document. Downtown design guidelines are a policy document that would decide what the Village wants to see for its downtown and how to use the guidelines. This is the research level. Façade improvements would outline how the Village would participate financially with businesses wanting to improve their façades.
Commissioner Durkin said it is nice to know that the Village got more than they asked for in this document. It begins a program of façade improvements, and he thanked staff for a great job.
The Mayor also extended thanks to Mr. Dabareiner for the product that has been presented.
John Schofield , 1125 Jefferson, said he followed this topic with interest and enthusiasm. It is an enormous contribution and has the potential of bringing forward and identifying buildings that are worth conserving and designating as historical sites. The public has not had the opportunity to see this document, as it was not on the website. He asked how the public can review it, how it will be published, and how the principal targets will obtain copies.
Manager Fieldman said that staff has received an electronic version of the pattern book that will be available on the web. Staff will also make copies available.
Mr. Schofield said this will not translate effectively into a pdf document. Mayor Sandack said that copies will be made available. Mr. Schofield requested a copy.
Commissioner Schnell suggested making a few copies available to the Downtown Management Corporation as well as other key locations throughout the downtown area.
3. Active Agenda and Informational Items: Acting Manager Fieldman reviewed each of the items for comments from the public and the Village Council.
Special Uses for Multiple-Family Residential and Outdoor Seating Accessory to a Restaurant in the DB District . Mr. Fieldman said this is a proposed new development at 5100 Forest Avenue.
Mr. Dabareiner said that the location is the site of the former TCF Bank. There are two items under consideration including a multiple family residence and an outdoor seating area. It is a six-story mixed use development that is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) project. He showed a depiction of the proposed structure. Mr. Dabareiner said the structure is proposed to be 70 feet tall, built of brick and stone with stucco accents. It will be 12,515 square feet of commercial space on the first floor. The remaining five floors will include 60 residential units of approximately 95,000 square feet. There will be underground parking for 84 cars, in addition to 42 spaces for the commercial property. This parking area will be connected to the Village’s Commuter Parking Lot D. Mr. Dabareiner showed additional slides of the building elevation, parking areas, garage and residential floor plans. The proposed development complies with the Village’s zoning requirements and is consistent with the Village’s Future Land Use Plan. The Plan Commission has reviewed the proposal and recommended approval. Staff concurs with that recommendation.
Mark Thoman , 1009 61st Street, said he found this to be an exceptional project as it has no request for variations, exceptions or Village financial assistance, plus it is a LEEDS project.
Commissioner Schnell said that this is a very dense project. She applauds what they have done; however, she is disappointed that there is a mass of brick facing the residents on Gilbert. She asked as to the amount of green space along Forest and Gilbert. Mr. Dabareiner said it accounts for just over 6% of the total property. There is about 8 feet along Gilbert. Commissioner Schnell then asked whether there will be a problem with the commuter lot adjacent to the project in terms of parking for commuters versus shoppers during normal commuter hours. Mr. Dabareiner said they will include signage at the location.
Commissioner Schnell then asked about pedestrian safety, especially with seniors attempting to cross Forest Avenue to get to the Library or downtown area. She asked how they intend to get people from the west side of Gilbert to cross during the construction period. She would like to see a plan to ensure the safety of the residents. Mr. Dabareiner said that the Village requires a pedestrian plan and a traffic management plan as they relate to the phasing of construction. He indicated they may not need to close the sidewalk, and may provide a canopy. Staff will look closely at the traffic management issues. Commissioner Schnell said she is very concerned about this and having these matters addressed so that the people are protected. Mr. Dabareiner said that is a point well taken especially given the neighbors in the area. Staff has the ability to red tag projects and has used it in the downtown area.
Commissioner Waldack agreed that there is a lot of density in this project. He is concerned about traffic and parking. He is happy that they will be providing the 84 parking spaces, and hopes that this will be a true test of the Village’s Codes in terms of LEEDS projects. His two major concerns are the placement of handicapped parking, saying they should not place it further away than it should be. He is also concerned that the connections between Lot D and the site will meet the Illinois Accessibility Code. In addition, he asked how this would fit into the pattern book. The document indicates that the parking spaces will be for sale. The Village requires 1.4 spaces per unit and it almost seems that they are operating three different types of businesses: residential condo, commercial business, and parking lot operations. He questioned how the sale of the parking space will take place.
Manager Fieldman said that the ordinance works on an average basis in determining the number of spaces needed. Staff will work with the petitioner to be sure they are working within the spirit of the Code.
Commissioner Neustadt asked where construction vehicles will park. Mr. Dabareiner said that parking will not be allowed in the commuter parking lot. The intent is to have their parking and staging on the site. Commissioner Neustadt said that as the project progresses, they will need to be mindful of the safety to pedestrians.
Commissioner Beckman commented that he still has concerns about traffic patterns in and out of the area. Crossing Forest Avenue during rush hour at that location is difficult. He understands the parking lot access; however, he asked about accommodation for potentially congested areas for the commercial parking. Mr. Dabareiner said that there will be access to the commuter lot during the rush house period. The design for access is not unusual and should be adequate for the site. Manager Fieldman added that the drive aisle should align with the street.
Commissioner Durkin commented with respect to the economy, saying he noted that there is a belief that 20% to 30% of the site is already sold. He said that the developer is hoping for a 12-month building project. Commissioner Durkin asked if the Village can ask for a certain amount of sales before building permits are issued. He also asked whether this includes a “green” roof. Mr. Dabareiner said not as far as he knows. Commissioner Durkin asked that a no left turn sign be placed for a specific timeframe and Mr. Dabareiner said they can look into this as well. Commissioner Durkin commented that it is a large building, but he said it would be great to see it in this specific location.
The Mayor said that construction management and safety during the construction process is absolutely critical, and staff will have the opportunity to monitor this. What they are discussing now is whether or not the site development plan conforms to the Village’s requirements for special uses. The Village has sought to increase residential living in the downtown area. There is a question as to whether or not the outdoor restaurant is acceptable. He indicated that the traffic needs to be safe and must conform to the Village’s requirements. No matter what the development would be, there will be a traffic increase. In terms of the request before the Council, it appears that the criterion for a special use has been met. The design components are consistent with what the Village wants in the downtown area. He noted that not all sides of the building can be made equally attractive, although he agrees that the backside will look big. He thanked staff for finding a developer willing to put in this type of project in the downtown area. He sees it as a win-win situation.
Intergovernmental Agreements with the Downers Grove Park District for Stormwater Improvement Projects. The Manager said the Council approved the Watershed Infrastructure Improvement Plan in 2007. The plan recommends the construction of detention basins in McCollum Park, Washington Park and Sterling North Park. All three projects are identified as high priority. The implementation strategy calls for partnering with other local government agencies such as the Park District. These intergovernmental agreements would permit the Village to construct detention basins on Park District land and would require the Village to construct recreational improvements to the parks. The estimated cost of the recreational improvements is $2,250,000.00.
Mr. Fieldman reviewed the terms of the agreements, including easements for construction as well as permanent easements and agreement on the scope of the projects. At McCollum Park, a dry bottom detention basin would be constructed. Recreational improvements would include a soccer field with a crown and perimeter drainage system, an irrigation system for the soccer field, relocation of an existing sand volleyball court and relocation of an existing basketball court at an estimated cost of $200,000. At Sterling Park North, a wet bottom basin with sufficient depth to allow water-based recreational activities would be constructed. Recreational improvements include playground equipment, shelter, pedestrian bridge, walking paths and parking lot at an estimated cost of $750,000. At Washington Park, two surface dry bottom basins would be constructed. Recreational improvements include two soccer fields with a crown and perimeter drainage system, a decorative fountain, reconstruction of an existing softball field, decorative retaining walls, pedestrian path and other similar improvements at an estimated cost of $1,300,000.
The Downers Grove Board of Park District Commissioners considered the intergovernmental agreements at their August 21, 2008 meeting and voted unanimously to approve the agreements in concept. They directed the staff to make minor revisions to the agreements that would specifically give the Park District the option to purchase additional alternative items at their cost.
The Mayor said this has been an on-going dialogue with the Park District. The Park District saw an opportunity to enhance their parks. He thanked everyone involved in this project. He noted that this utilizes untapped assets.
Andrew Clark , 1226 62nd Street, said history is repeating itself. In 1996/97, the Park District bought property near Brookbank and 63rd Street. DuPage County approached the Park District about stormwater detention. He wonders if the Park District wishes it had not agreed to work with the County. Mr. Clark said the Village needs stormwater detention, but he would like the Park District to have the ability to veto any of the projects. The plans for the previous project were not right and precautions were not taken to be sure they were right. The Park District may be strident with respect to the plans. Mr. Clark said he would like to review the plans. He noted that in the earlier plans the elevation of the field was wrong and the field could never drain.
The Mayor said many precautions have been put in place in regard to these projects.
Commissioner Schnell asked if the under drain system will clear water away. Mr. Fieldman said it would. Commissioner Schnell thanked the Park District administration and board for their cooperation. She asked about liability issues.
Enza Petrarca , Village Attorney, said the Park District and the Village will indemnify each other.
Special Commercial Event License – Downers Grove Rotary Club Oktoberfest. The Manager said a resolution has been prepared to authorize a Special Commercial Event License agreement with the Downers Grove Rotary Club to host Oktoberfest at Forest Lot South. The terms are consistent with past practice for Oktoberfest.
Kent Ebersold , 1519 Hillcrest Road, said he is representing the Rotary Club. He noted there has been one change with respect to the charities benefiting from the event. They are SEASPAR , Marklund Charities, Indian Boundary YMCA , and a children’s program at Advocate Good Samaritan. He noted that last year the Rotary distributed $60,000 to community charities and to Alliance for Smiles, an organization in China that helps children with cleft palates. This is the 8th annual Oktoberfest. He thanked all those working with the Rotary on this event. The dates are October 3, 4, and 5, 2008. Family Day is Sunday, October 5, 2008.
Strategic Plan 2008-2013-2023. The Manager said this is the third year of the Strategic Plan. He reviewed the vision, mission and core beliefs, consistent with prior years. It also contains a prioritized policy and management action plan that describe what the Village should be working on for the next 12 months. This item is being presented before the budget process begins and on the same night as the long range financial plan is being presented in order for the Council to consider items contained in the strategic plan in the long range financial plan as the budget is being developed. He noted that many items on the action plans are similar to those in last year’s plans.
Questions have been asked as to how the Citizen’s Summit was used in the strategic plan. Mr. Fieldman said it was used in four ways. It was directly considered during the next two days of strategic planning sessions. Elements of Citizen’s Summit influence the next year’s plan. There are several items that appeared in last year’s Citizen’s Summit that became part of this year’s Strategic Plan. Staff refers to this document when presenting items for Council consideration. Mr. Fieldman said staff will provide the Strategic Plan including the Citizen’s Summit document to all of those who participated.
The Mayor said this Council has committed to better planning and noted that it makes for a smoother budget process. He said the Council cares about citizen input very much. The budget process is the most important thing the Council does and it flows from planning.
Commissioner Waldack said the Strategic Plan is a wish list. It is an important document. He noted that this document has not been sent to those who participated in the Citizen’s Summit and they have not had a chance to review it. Other residents have not had a chance to review it either. He would like the participants and residents to have this opportunity prior to placing this on the Active Agenda.
Commissioner Neustadt said he doesn’t think the plan will change. It will be a guide. He doesn’t see the need to delay approval of the plan.
Commissioner Beckman said this is a broad-based plan. He is interested in comments from the public, but he is not sure he wants to modify the plan. He intends to support this next week.
Commissioner Schnell said this will be used in the budget process. Delaying this may cause a delay in presenting the budget in a timely manner. She suggested scheduling the Citizen’s Summit earlier if Council wants citizen feedback.
The Mayor said there were no concluding remarks at the end of the Citizen’s Summit this year and Council and staff learned from that. It is an element that should be changed. However, Council listened and tried to prioritize what they heard. This process is an alignment of goals heard from the residents and becomes part of the budget. He does not see that the plan will fundamentally change through a citizen review. He said he cannot endorse delaying this at this time.
Long Range Financial Plan – Draft. The Manager said he provided an overview of the long range financial plan last week. This is a draft document presented for the Council’s review and discussion at the September 9, 2008 Workshop meeting. The long range financial plan will contain the following items: Economic environment and conditions, five-year financial outlook and general fund expenditures, financial planning for significant areas, revenue analysis, and long range financial strategies. Recommendations will be prepared after discussions.
Mr. Fieldman reviewed two approaches to long range financial planning – Key item summary in which issues are identified, and the five-year budget and plan. He noted that the staff will include projections in the long range financial plan. The next draft is scheduled for September 30 and October 11 is the budget workshop. He said he is looking for an on-going dialogue on this subject.
The Mayor asked if staff expects this plan to change in the next two weeks. Mr. Fieldman said no changes are proposed in the next two weeks.
The Mayor said this is another opportunity for good planning. The Village is trying to put in place a mechanism that will allow us to budget and prioritize and do things better by having a process in place for good decision-making. He acknowledged budget challenges given the economy. Financing municipal services is always going to be a challenge. It is our duty to show we are doing the best we can with as little as possible. This can be used for good financial planning.
Commissioner Schnell said the long range planning of the 1980s and 1990s was invaluable. She likes aspects of the new plan and is happy to see a combination of both plans.
MANAGER ’S REPORT
Mr. Fieldman said utility work started on the Prairie Avenue resurfacing project. He noted that the project was split into two pieces. Bids for the resurfacing on Prairie from Belmont to Forest will be opened on Friday, August 29. Staff will bring forth the recommendations as soon as possible and may ask that the one-week waiting period be waived in order to expedite the work.
ATTORNEY ’S REPORT
Village Attorney Enza Petrarca said she was presenting five 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 the construction of stormwater improvements at Washington Park; 2) A resolution authorizing execution of an intergovernmental agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and the Downers Grove Park District for the construction of stormwater improvements at McCollum Park; 3) A resolution authorizing execution of an intergovernmental agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and the Downers Grove Park District for the construction of stormwater improvements at Sterling North and Bending Oaks Park; 4) A resolution authorizing a special commercial event license agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and the Rotary Club of Downers Grove for the 2008 Rotary Club Oktoberfest; and 5) An ordinance authorizing special uses for 5100 Forest Avenue to permit construction of a multiple-family residential dwelling in the downtown business district and permit outdoor seating accessory to a restaurant.
John Schofield , 1125 Jefferson, referred to an advertisement last week in The Downers Grove Reporter regarding the sale of parking spaces in a building that had already asked for an exception to the 1.4 spaces regulation. He asked for more information.
Mr. Fieldman said Village staff has contacted the developer.
Frank Falesch , 820 Prairie, said he saw a sign to sell parking spaces in a window at Acadia on the Green. He said he does not think it is a good idea to sell parking spaces. On another matter, Mr. Falesch said there has been a large backhoe sitting on Prairie for two weeks, even though no work has been going on. He is concerned about protection of trees in the parkway.
Commissioner Neustadt said the Downers Grove Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #73 and the International Association of Fire Fighters, Downers Grove local, held their annual golf outing today. He thanked them for the invitation to participate. It raised money for autism awareness. He also announced the Chamber of Commerce Black & White Ball on September 20, 2008.
Mayor Sandack said St. Mary’s Parish had a wonderful picnic Sunday, August 24. Last Thursday, he and Mr. Fieldman attended a Park District meeting. There was a thorough discussion of the intergovernmental agreements. A considerable amount of work went into this issue and was a great example of true cooperation. It is an opportunity to improve the parks. All involved are very mindful of the need to have a good process going forward. He is confident that the Village has a good design and process in place that will result in better detention and better parks.
There being no further discussion, the Workshop meeting was adjourned at 8: 49 p.m.
April K. Holden Village Clerk tmh