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May 17, 2011

1. Call to Order

Mayor Martin Tully called the regular meeting of the Village Council of the Village of Downers Grove to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Downers Grove Village Hall.  

Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag

Mayor Tully led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

2. Roll Call

Present: Commissioner Marilyn Schnell, Commissioner Bob Barnett, Commissioner William Waldack, Commissioner Sean P. Durkin, Commissioner Becky Rheintgen, Commissioner Geoff Neustadt and Mayor Martin Tully  Absent: Village Clerk April Holden  Non Voting: Village Manager David Fieldman, Village Attorney Enza Petrarca and Deputy Village Clerk Linda Brown  C indy Klima, Downers Grove Economic Develpoment Corporation; Charles and Maureen Krasneck, 1609 Hatch Place; Ed Hamiliton, Mackie Consultants; Kevin McCormick, Midwestern University, 555 31st Street; Dwight Todd, DWL Architects, 2333 N. Central, Phoenix; Kathleen H. Goeppinger, Midwestern University, 555 31st Street; Arthur Dobbleacre, Midwestern University, 555 31st Street; John Page, 606 Austin; Marge Earl, 4720 Florence; Greg Hose, 445 Austin; Mark Thoman, DGCMR, 1109 61st Street; John Purtell, 200 Lincoln Avenue; Art and Karen Fletcher, 4700 Stonewall; George Swimmer, 4905 Main Street

The Council meeting is broadcast over the local FM radio station, WDGC.  In addition, a tape recording and videotape of the meeting are being made using Village owned equipment.  The videotape of the meeting will be used for later rebroadcast of the Council meeting over the Village cable television Channel 6.

The Council will follow the rules of conduct for this meeting as provided in Sec. 2.5 of the Downers Grove Municipal Code.  These offer the public the opportunity to comment at several points in the meeting.  First, immediately following approval of the minutes of the past meetings, an opportunity will be given for public comments and questions of a general matter.  If a public hearing is scheduled for this meeting, an opportunity is given for public comments and questions related to the subject of the hearing.  Finally, an opportunity is given for public comments and questions on items appearing on the Consent Agenda, the Active Agenda and the First Reading.

The presiding officer will ask, at the appropriate time, if there are any comments from the public.  If anyone wishes to speak, the individual should raise their hand to be recognized and, after acknowledgment from the presiding officer, approach the microphone and state their name and address.  Remarks should be limited to five minutes, and asked that individuals refrain from making repetitive statements.

Mayor Tully said there are agendas located on either side of the Council Chambers, and he invited the audience to pick up an agenda and follow the progress of the Council meeting.

3. Minutes of Council Meetings

Executive Session Minutes for Approval Only - April 12, 2011  Council Minutes - May 10, 2011 M ayor Tully asked for a Motion to approve the minutes as submitted.

Commissioner Schnell moved to approve the May 3, 2011 Council minutes as presented.  Commissioner Durkin seconded the motion.

VOTE:  YEA:  Commissioners Schnell, Durkin, Rheintgen, Barnett, Neustadt, Waldack; Mayor Tully

The Mayor declared the Motion carried.

4. Public Comments - General Comments on Matters Not Appearing on Tonight's Agenda

5. Public Hearings

6. Consent Agenda

Commissioner Barnett noted that the NAP (Non-agenda Packet), is now available on the Village's website as the Manager's Report.

COR 00-04515 A.  Claim Ordinance:  No. 5897, Payroll, April 22, 2011

Sponsors: Accounting Approve Indexes: N/A

BIL 00-04516 B.  List of Bills Payable:  No. 5900, May 17, 2011

Sponsors: Accounting A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: N/A

MOT 00-04510 C.  Motion:  Award $106,015 to M.E. Simpson Co., Inc., Valparaiso, IN, for a Three-Year Contract for Water System Leak Detection Services

Sponsors: Public Works A motion was made to Award this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Water System

MOT 00-04511 D.  Motion:  Award a Contract to Denler & Sons, Inc., Mokena, IL, for the 2011 Preventive Seal Project in a Not-to-Exceed Amount of $153,000.00

Sponsors: Public Works A motion was made to Award this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Preventive Seal

BID 00-04509 E.  Bid:  Award $248,407.35 to DiNatale Construction, Inc., Addison, IL, for the 2011 New Sidewalk Installation Program

Sponsors: Public Works Approve Indexes: Sidewalk Construction

RES 00-04517 F.  Resolution:  Adopt an Identity Protection Policy

Sponsors: Village Attorney



RESOLUTION 2011-33 A motion was made to Pass this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Identity Protection Policy

MOT 00-04518 G.  Motion:  Authorize $44,850 to M.E. Simpson Co., Inc., Valparaiso, IN, for a Three-Year Contract for Large Water Meter Evaluation and Maintenance Services

Sponsors: Public Works A motion was made to Authorize this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Water Service, Water System

MOT 00-04521 H.  Motion:  Note Receipt of Minutes of Boards and Commissions

Summary of Item: Library Board - April 27, 2011 A motion was made to Note Receipt Of this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Boards and Commissions Minutes

Passed The Consent Agenda

A motion was made by Commissioner Schnell, seconded by Commissioner Durkin, that the consent agenda be passed. The motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Y ea: Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Waldack, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Rheintgen, Commissioner Neustadt and Mayor Tully

7. Active Agenda

MOT 00-04508 A.  Motion:  Award $365,469.28 to Landmark Contractors, Inc., Huntley, IL, for the Maple Avenue/BNSF Railroad Grade Reduction Project

Sponsors: Public Works

Summary of Item: This awards a contract for the Maple Avenue/BNSF Railroad Grade Reduction Project to Landmark

Contractors, Inc., Huntley, Illinois in the amount of $365,469.28. G eorge Swimmer, 4905 Main Street, Downers Grove, opined against the grade reduction project at Maple Avenue.  Mr. Swimmer stated that he is very much involved in railroad safety and the Belmont underpass, so it is unusual for him to be against an improvement at Maple Avenue.  He said that he hoped, sooner rather than later, the Council or a Task Force would plan for additional grade crossings throughout Downers Grove for a number of reasons.  He distributed a handout listing the top ten reasons he believes this is necessary.  They are as follows:

1. Emergency ambulances, police and fire trucks are constantly going across the tracks, both ways.  He guessed there are at least 25 emergency vehicles crossing the tracks each day.  During rush hours the gates are down a good deal of the time.   2. Railroad crossings at grade are extremely dangerous and Downers Grove has a history of many accidents.  3. One of the biggest complaints of downtown shoppers is traffic and parking.  4. Train traffic is growing, with an expected increase from 20% to 30% in the next 20 years according to the Burlington Northern annual report.   5. Money may be available now, but not for long.  The federal government just announced $2 billion in grants for railroad infrastructure improvements.  6. Good Samaritan Hospital is the only Level 1 Trauma Center in DuPage County.  Time shouldn't be wasted in an ambulance sitting at the tracks. Emergency room workers know how important seconds become when trying to save a life.  7. It will take many years from the start of planning to completion of the grade separation.  The longer the Village waits the more costly it will become.  8. Many of the people who served on the Belmont Underpass Task Force are still available. Their knowledge and contacts are a valuable asset.  9. Congestion at crossings causes pollution, wasted gas, and delays for both cars and pedestrians.  10. It is the right thing to do.

Mr. Swimmer also distributed a report from the Downers Grove Reporter of several years ago which advocated the elimination of at-grade crossings by 1) raising the tracks or 2) going over the tracks.  He noted the Illinois Commerce Commission will no longer allow digging below grade.  Therefore, the only option is to raise the tracks or go over the tracks.  He believes it would be less costly to do that than what was done at Belmont.  Tracks would be prefabricated and the land would not have to be purchased, as was done at Belmont.  Before spending the money at Maple Avenue, he suggests that they come up with a comprehensive plan of what is best for Downers Grove.  Having crossings at grade is dangerous and wasteful.  He believes the planning is important, and money is available now in grants to the railroads for infrastructure improvements.

John Purtell, 200 Lincoln Avenue, said he heard comments at last week meeting about potentially closing the Maple Avenue crossing. He uses it daily and if it were to be closed, it would be painful for many people trying to get around town.  They should not close that crossing.

Commissioner Schnell said she is in favor of the proposal as it stands.  Her concern is the increase in cars on Grand going by the school.  She asked that once the project is done, between six months and one year, that staff evaluate the amount of traffic that has gone past the school.  They will have to work closely with the principal and the PTA.

Commissioner Durkin said he asked last week if there were any plans to close the crossing and the staff reported there were no plans.  Mr. Fieldman said this has been discussed, and it was determined that it would be a 10-15 year project.  The project before the Council at this time would not hinder further plans for grade separation.

Commissioner Barnett discussed last week's comments and information received since that meeting.  He is not opposed to safety improvements.  His concern is along the lines of Mr. Swimmer's comments, which is a comprehensive plan for traffic.  He lives close to the Maple crossing.  He said there are ways to signal both Maple and Burlington, and there is Washington Street to access the downtown area.  The Council is thinking about spending money to improve the crossing.  He suggested that if that crossing were contemplated today, no one would build it the way it now exists.  The preferred solution is grade separation.  As Mr. Fieldman said, they will have to live with this for 10-15 years, and Commissioner Barnett thinks that is too long.  There are 9,000 cars a day on that street.  He agrees that it is important to make safety improvements now.  Last week the Comprehensive Planning Committee discussed this and their notes indicate that a small realignment would have a positive effect on safety.  Making the crossing one-way west and Burlington one-way east could help.  They are talking about 9,000 cars a day, which means this is a convenient crossing. The comprehensive traffic concept is to try to prevent cut through traffic in residential areas. This road goes from Hinsdale Hospital to Avery Coonley School.  Other communities have done work to prevent Maple from becoming a by-pass route for drivers from 55th Street or Ogden Avenue.  Maple is physically the same as most residential streets with crosswalks, driveways, etc.  He is really against this, but the biggest issue for him is about the timing.  He cannot wait 10-15 years.  He wanted his comments on the record.  He encourages this not to be seen as a 9,000-car by-pass, but rather as a residential street in a neighborhood.  The Village fell into this because the crossing has been there for a very long time.  In addition, they are reacting to an accident.  It makes no sense to him.  He will be voting Nay.

Commissioner Neustadt thanked the residents for their input on this issue.

Commissioner Waldack said there is no such thing as a safe railroad crossing, a safe intersection or a safe side street.  They can work toward making it safer.  He attended the Transportation and Parking Commission meeting as liaison last week and was very impressed with their expertise and the level of detail they regularly consider.  He commended them for their work.  The crossing has existed for years and has been studied by experienced staff, by the ICC, the provider of major funding, the TAP and the Comprehensive Planning Committee.  Given all of the studies, he doesn't question their ability.  He would question holding off on modifying their findings.  The Village has an opportunity to make this crossing safer at a minimal cost to the residents, and keeping the positive aspects of accessing a collector street with minimal impact to the neighborhood.  He thinks they should respect the recommendations of the experts.  They also need to accept the funding opportunities.  The Village will have to look at this for a long time; $50,000 is well-spent to make it safer.  He agrees they should monitor it when completed, and if money becomes available to improve it further, he will support that as well.

Mayor Tully thanked staff for the additional history.  He was puzzled by the difference of opinion on this issue.  He also thanked Commissioner Barnett for better explaining his concerns and for supplying visual aids.  He clarified that the cost to the Village is $50,000.  Most of the money for this comes from grants.  He understands and appreciates the concerns, but doesn't see a grade separation or grade elimination of the crossing coming about any time soon.  He doesn't think that ignoring this will bring grade elimination or grade separation any closer.  If this were a matter of choice it would be different.  He is not convinced that taking this opportunity now would eliminate something more significant occurring down the road.   The Mayor suggested they continue to pursue a grade separation and if funds become available they should grab it.  He believes they should do what they can do now, even though it will not be perfect. They can continue to work toward larger options.  This improves the situation somewhat and allows for future planning.  He doesn't think this should prevent a neighborhood traffic study.  He will support this.

Commissioner Barnett asked staff if the ICC was asked for input on closure, and the Manager said they did ask about grade separation, but not closure.  Staff also did not ask TAP to evaluate closure.  Commissioner Barnett said he doesn't believe they've heard from most experts on this as yet.  As to money, he understands the money was not in jeopardy for any short-term delay according to Ms. Newlon.  Also there would likely be money available to consider grade closure as well.  Ms. Newlon responded that the Village's grant term is through November.  The ICC is focused on rail traffic, and they are generally not involved in transportation outside the railroad. A motion was made by Commissioner Schnell, seconded by Commissioner Durkin, to Approve this file. Mayor Tully declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Y ea: Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Waldack, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Rheintgen, Commissioner Neustadt and Mayor Tully  Nay: Commissioner Barnett  Indexes: Burlington Northern

ORD 00-04495 B.  Ordinance:  Regulate Traffic on a Portion of Burlington Avenue

Sponsors: Public Works and Transportation and Parking Commission

Summary of Item: This regulates one-way traffic on a portion of Burlington Avenue.



ORDINANCE NO. 5200 A motion was made by Commissioner Durkin, seconded by Commissioner Barnett, to Adopt this file.  Mayor Tully declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Y ea: Commissioner Schnell, Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Waldack, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Rheintgen, Commissioner Neustadt and Mayor Tully  Indexes: One Way Streets Designated

8. First Reading

ORD 00-04519 A.  Ordinance:  Approve a Final Planned Development Amendment to Planned Development #31 for the Construction of a Five-Story Medical/Dental Clinic and Six-Level Parking Garage

Sponsors: Community Development T om Dabareiner, Director of Community Development, said that this concerns Planned Development #31,  the Esplanade at Locust Point, for the construction of a Medical/Dental Clinic as part of Midwestern University.  Approval is being sought on the June 7 agenda.  The petitioner proposes a 5-level building with a 6-level garage.  He said that the petitioner received preliminary planned development approval in December. This revised plan addresses all concerns raised by Council in December.  He displayed the proposed plan on an overhead, and noted that Midwestern University does a very good job in its site design.  At the request of the Village, a comprehensive traffic study was completed.  He showed the access point noting there were no significant problems. Suggestions were made to widen the access drive for the day care center. There is a new construction entrance, which will be a permanent road feature put in up front rather than in Phase II.  The "exit only" at the southeast corner of the property is for service and emergency vehicle usage.

Mr. Dabareiner displayed elevation drawings as well.  He noted that the Plan Commission considered the petition at its May 2, 2011 meeting and discussed the Council's concerns, noting that those concerns have since been addressed by the petitioner.  The Commission was concerned about the sight line distance along Lacey, however, that appears to be adequate.  In addition, the Plan Commission noted the Forest Preserve District's concerns about invasive plant species.  The petitioner said their landscape architect would explore the use of native plant materials.  The Plan Commission found that the proposal met the standards of the Village's Municipal Code and recommended approval of the petition.  Mr. Dabareiner informed the Council that Dr. Goeppinger of the University was present to answer any further questions.

Commissioner Schnell thanked Dr. Goeppinger for listening to the Council's concerns.  She said that these changes do address the safety issues that were raised.  This is the first new dental school in Illinois in a very long time.  She asked how they intend to inform the community when this will be in operation and the type of procedures that would be available.

Dr. Kathleen Goeppinger, President and CEO of Midwestern University for the past 17 years, spoke about the dental school. She said that this will be the first new dental school in the State of Illinois in 50 years.  Dr. Goeppinger said they have recruited their faculty and dean.  They have already received 2000 applicants for 125 spots.  The importance of the clinic is that students spend two years on campus doing classroom and simulation work, followed by two years practicing in the clinic.  They will provide a full range of affordable dental care to the entire region.  In the first six months at their Glendale dental school campus they served 24,000 patients.  Dr. Goeppinger said she monitors the quality very closely, and patients feel the quality is as good as, if not better than, other dental providers.  They anticipate the clinic to be open in two years.

Commissioner Neustadt thanked Dr. Goeppinger for flying in from Glendale.

Commissioner Waldack said when this came to the Council in late December as a preliminary plan, the process was quite scary to him, as it needed quick approval.  He was concerned about variances; however, the new plan is an improvement over the preliminary plan.  Council questions were addressed and the setback has been improved.  He looked forward to having the dental school and students in the community.

Mayor Tully thanked Midwestern University for expanding its relationship with the Village of Downers Grove.  He was in the audience in December when it first came before the Council and was intrigued because of the land use issues.  He thinks this is a wonderful enhancement to the University and the community.  He echoed the Commissioners with regard to the University's responsiveness and flexibility in addressing to the Council's concerns.  He said they have met all of the requirements of the Village's Municipal Code.  He looks forward to supporting this.  Indexes: Planned Development #31 - Esplanade at Locust Point

ORD 00-04520 B.  Ordinance:  Vacate a Certain Portion of an Unimproved Right-of-Way Located Adjacent to 4700 Stonewall Avenue

Sponsors: Community Development M r. Dabareiner said this is for consideration on the June 7 agenda.  The owner at 4700 Stonewall has requested the vacation of the designated area, which consists of a watermain on the south end.  The request is to vacate the south 53-foot width of 83 foot by 220 foot right of way.  The remaining right-of-way would remain under Village ownership.  The request follows an enforcement action initiated by the Community Development Department last fall concerning a shed under construction without a permit.  The right-of-way vacation is an allowable remedy available to the applicant.  The applicant would be subject to paying specific fees as well as the purchase price of $15,527.23.  The request was reviewed, and utility companies were consulted.  Staff recommends retaining a public drainage easement, utility and utility access easement over the entire portion of the right-of-way being vacated to provide for future needs.  A fence or a driveway may be built, but other construction on the vacated property would be prohibited.  The Plan Commission found there were no public interests harmed by the vacation and recommended approval.  Staff concurs with that recommendation.

Commissioner Schnell asked whether other property owners were contacted to purchase the property.  Mr. Fieldman said contacts were made and there were no other parties interested in the property.

Commissioner Durkin asked if the existing property is on the tax roll.  Mr. Fieldman said it is not on the tax roll.  Commissioner Durkin asked if it would then be placed on the tax roll, and was told it would be.  He then suggested that the Village could evaluate what the benefits to the Village would be.  Mr. Fieldman said the EAV would be about 1/3 of the market value.  Commissioner Durkin recommended that the staff review what other pieces of land might be available for vacation and what the value would be to the Village.

Mayor Tully said he thought there was an inventory of right-of-way property in the Village done some time ago.  Mr. Fieldman said there was.  Mayor Tully then said that they could go through the Township Assessor's tax rolls and what was done over the past five years to determine the incremental increase.

Commissioner Schnell asked about how the figures are determined regarding tax rolls, and Mr. Fieldman said the EAV determines what portion of the total tax levy the taxpayer would pay.

Commissioner Waldack noted that the instigator for this was the portion of the illegal shed.  He is glad they won't have to take down the shed.  He said that the some nearby residents were against this because of how it came about.  However, he said that this was looked at objectively and determined to be an appropriate solution.

Mayor Tully said this complies with every element of the Village's policy to vacate unimproved rights-of-way. Indexes: Vacation, Vacation - 4700 Stonewall Avenue

9. Mayor's Report

Materials to be Received

Materials to be Placed on File


Mayor Tully proclaimed the week of May 15-21, 2011 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week in the Village of Downers Grove.

The Mayor proclaimed the week of May 15-21, 2011 as Public Works Week in the Village and encouraged residents to acquaint themselves with the work done by the Public Works Department.

Mayor Tully then proclaimed the week of June 5-12, 2011 as Garden Week in the Village of Downers Grove.     

10. Manager's Report

Deputy Manager Mike Baker reported that the Village's Resolution opposing State reductions of municipal tax fund was submitted to all members of the Illinois General Assembly.  Staff has received some positive responses from Springfield.  Information is available on the Village's website for residents to contact their legislators.

Mayor Tully said this is part of a movement among many municipalities to draw attention to this issue and express their opposition to the State's reduction of municipal tax funds.  Former Mayor Sandack sent letters out regarding this, and Mayor Tully has sent similar letters under his own signature.  This is a critical issue and he hopes everyone will contact his or her legislators.

Mr. Fieldman said that the Long Range Financial Planning (LRFP) sessions begin next Tuesday in the Committee Room. The four meetings will take place on the fourth Tuesday of the months of May, June, July and August.  A website has been established providing an overview and history of the LRFP, as well as meeting schedules.  

11. Attorney's Report

Future Active Agenda

12. Council Member Reports and New Business

Commissioner Durkin reported on the Finance and Administrative Committee meeting of May 11.  He said they reviewed the Village's annexation initiative, which is intended to improve the efficiency of government services delivery, to align the cost of government services equitably among those who benefit from those services, and to enhance the Village's revenue base.  The annexation program will include informal neighborhood meetings to respond to owner's questions.  Approximately 25 residents from the north Fairview area attended the Finance meeting, and the Committee reviewed and commented on the proposed annexation process. The annexation initiative will come up for Council action sometime in August. He said that there is information on the website under the 2011 Strategic Plan, or in the Finance and Administrative section for further information.

Commissioner Schnell added that when the minutes come out on this meeting, there was substantive discussion on policy issues regarding sidewalks, stormwater and other issues.  She asked that the Council review those minutes when they are completed.

Commissioner Schnell then commented an on e-mail from the Rotary Club concerning Grove Fest's deadline to volunteer to help with the Grove Fest.  They have to provide a list to the Village.  Their website is

Commissioner Waldack said he would like to know who sent positive responses from the General Assembly.  We should give credit where it is due.

The Commissioner then commented on the Barth Memorial ceremony, saying that in Chief Porter's comments there was reference to increased assaults on police officers putting them in greater danger.

Commissioner Waldack announced that Coffee with the Council begins this Saturday at the Downers Grove Market at the Main Street train station from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.  It is an opportunity to greet the new Mayor and Council.  He suggested that perhaps the Council stay in the same general area.  Mayor Tully said he would bring sidewalk chalk.

Commissioner Rheintgen said she was on a ride-along with Officer Franklin last week, which gave her a different viewpoint of the police officer's job.  She attended the Barth ceremony.  It was very moving.

Commissioner Neustadt said the Village's website has a new tab entitled "I am looking for." There is a Community Events Calendar available on the site.

The Commissioner noted that the Public Works Open House will be held on Friday from 2:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Staff will be present explaining their work in the Village.

The Friday Night Car shows begin this Friday in the downtown area.

Commissioner Neustadt reported that the Junior Women's Club Golf outing was held last weekend.  It was a rainy, windy event, but they still raised money for the community and local organizations.

Mayor Tully announced that this is Downers Grove Restaurant week.  He encouraged residents to support a local business and check out the restaurants in the Village.

The Mayor mentioned that there will be no Council meeting until early June.  Next week the meetings for the Long Range Financial Plan will begin on Tuesday.

There will be a Memorial Day service sponsored by Alexander Burns Post 80 held at 11:00 a.m. on Memorial Day at 4000 Saratoga Avenue.

On June 5, the Walk-in Ministry of Hope will be celebrating its tenth anniversary at the Hinsdale Community House from 4:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.  There will be wine tasting and food samples from local restaurants.

Mayor Tully announced 37 days until Grove Fest. 

13. Adjournment

Commissioner Schnell moved to adjourn.  Commissioner Durkin seconded the Motion.

VOTE:  YEA:  Commissioners Schnell, Durkin, Rheintgen, Barnett, Neustadt, Waldack; Mayor Tully

Mayor Tully declared the motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 8:19 p.m.