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 Bob Barnett, Commissioner Sean P. Durkin, Commissioner Becky Rheintgen, Commissioner Geoff Neustadt, Commissioner Greg Hosé, Commissioner David S. Olsen and Mayor Martin Tully Non Voting: Village Manager David Fieldman, Village Attorney Enza Petrarca and Village Clerk April Holden T he 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
Facilities Meeting - December 4, 2014 Facilities Meeting - December 6, 2014 Council Meeting - December 9, 2014 M ayor Tully asked for a Motion to approve the minutes as submitted.
Commissioner Neustadt moved to approve the minutes as presented. Commissioner Durkin seconded the motion.
The Mayor declared the Motion carried by voice vote.
4. Public Comments - General Comments on Matters Not Appearing on Tonight's Agenda
Gordon Goodman, 5834 Middaugh, asked that the Council and Manager look into his remarks that he submitted on the website. They did not appear in the Council responses. He hopes the system is reliable.
Dr. Goodman then spoke about the December 2, 2014, Council meeting with respect to the Good Samaritan Hospital rezoning and institutional master plan and the discussion about the buffer zones between the hospital property and Lyman Woods. He said he reported that it has been 20 years since there has been any maintenance of the buffer zones, but after researching this matter he realized it was 25 years ago when Planned Development 19 for Good Samaritan Hospital was passed which included a requirement for the Do Not Disturb and No Build zones. He referenced the willingness of the attorney for Good Samaritan Hospital to negotiate a license to come on the hospital's property. He asked as to the status of this matter and if action can be expected before the year ends.
Mayor Tully said staff is looking to set up a meeting with the principal stakeholders. It will probably be in January.
Dr. Goodman said it is really the responsibility of the hospital and their leadership to discuss the maintenance of this land on the hospital. They have a Green Team and he hopes they will be part of the discussion.
Ms. Salman spoke for the need for high-end apartments instead of high-end condos in Downers Grove. She is a real estate agent and she does not think a price tag of $400,000 is feasible, particularly with taxes and homeowners' association fees. She referenced a client who cannot sell his two-bedroom, two-bath unit. She sees 942 Maple daily. She tells her family and clients how the street was built. This will be a big detriment.
5. Council Member Reports
Commissioner Olsen wished everyone Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas.
Commissioner Neustadt spoke about the Technical Response Team training the Fire Department is conducting at the Longfellow Center. He has observed this training and noted that our Fire Department is ready and can respond to any emergency. He thanked them for using public assets for training exercises.
Commissioner Neustadt then noted that the Village Hall, Public Works Facility and Police Department have collection boxes for the coat drive that will run through January 16, 2015.
Commissioner Neustadt wished everyone Happy Holidays.
Commissioner Durkin said there are eight days until Christmas and he reminded people to shop in Downers Grove. He then wished his son, Gavin, a happy sixth birthday and wished everyone Happy Holidays.
Mayor Tully proclaimed happy sixth birthday to Gavin Durkin.
The Mayor then said that the fourth annual ComEd town hall meeting was held Thursday night and he thanked people for attending. He noted that Commissioners Rheintgen, Hosé and Olsen were also in attendance. The Mayor said ComEd is in charge of the delivery of services; their focus is on reliability, not cost of services. The attendance at these meetings has dwindled, which the Mayor takes as a sign of success.
On behalf of the Village, Mayor Tully welcomed CompuSystems to 2651 Warrenville Road in the Village where they have established their corporate headquarters for their work in the exposition and trade show industry. He said this is a terrific company. The space they have moved into is 40,000 s.f. and they will bring approximately 240 employees to Downers Grove.
6. Public Hearings
7. Consent Agenda
COR 00-05803 A. Claim Ordinance: No. 6085, Payroll, November 28, 2014
Sponsors: Accounting Indexes: N/A
BIL 00-05805 B. List of Bills Payable: No. 6162, December 16, 2014
Sponsors: Accounting A motion was made to Approve this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: N/A
MOT 00-05806 C. Motion: Authorize a Contract in the Amount of $104,386.62 with e-Builder, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Sponsors: Public Works A motion was made to Authorize this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Computers, Public Works - Equipment
RES 00-05807 D. Resolution: Authorize a Contract Extension with Thompson Elevator Inspection Service, Inc.
Sponsors: Community Development
Summary of Item: A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING AN EXTENSION TO AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND THOMPSON ELEVATOR INSPECTION SERVICE, INC.
RESOLUTION 2014-79 A motion was made to Pass this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Elevator Inspections
MOT 00-05808 E. Motion: Authorize $31,239.50 for Purchase of a Network Firewall from Burwood Group, Inc.
Sponsors: Information Services A motion was made to Authorize this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Computers
RES 00-05809 F. Resolution: Authorize a License Agreement with McKay Brothers, LLC
Sponsors: Village Attorney
Summary of Item: A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF A LICENSE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND MCKAY BROTHERS, LLC TO INSTALL, MAINTAIN AND OPERATE ANTENNA EQUIPMENT ON VILLAGE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 801 BURLINGTON AVENUE
RESOLUTION 2014-80 A motion was made to Pass this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Antenna Equipment
MOT 00-05810 G. Motion: Authorize a Two-Year Contract with Kale Uniform, Inc., Wheaton, IL, for a Not-to-Exceed Amount of $215,000 for Police Equipment and Uniforms
Sponsors: Police Department A motion was made to Authorize this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Police Equipment, Police Uniforms
MOT 00-05765 H. Motion: Issue 2015 Class A Scavenger License to Allied Waste Services of North America, LLC
Sponsors: Deputy Village Manager A motion was made to Authorize this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Scavenger-Recycling Program, Scavenger-Garbage Collection
RES 00-05811 I. Resolution: Authorize an Extension to the Agreement with Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co., Inc.
Sponsors: Community Development
Summary of Item: A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING AN EXTENSION TO THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND BURNS & McDONNELL ENGINEERING CO., INC.
RESOLUTION 2014-81 A motion was made to Pass this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Stormwater Detention, Stormwater Sewer Watershed Improvement Plans
RES 00-05812 J. Resolution: Authorize an Extension to the Agreement with Engineering Resource Associates, Inc.
Sponsors: Community Development
Summary of Item: A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING AN EXTENSION TO THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND ENGINEERING RESOURCE ASSOCIATES, INC.
RESOLUTION 2014-82 A motion was made to Pass this file on the Consent Agenda. Indexes: Stormwater Detention, Stormwater Sewer Watershed Improvement Plans
Passed The Consent Agenda
A motion was made by Commissioner Neustadt, seconded by Commissioner Durkin, that the consent agenda be passed. The motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Y ea: Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Rheintgen, Commissioner Neustadt, Commissioner Hosé, Commissioner Olsen and Mayor Tully
8. Active Agenda
ORD 00-05753 A. Ordinance: Authorize a Special Use to Permit a Residential Condominium Development in the Downtown Business Zoning District at 936-942 Maple Avenue
Sponsors: Community Development and Plan Commission
Summary of Item: This authorizes a special use for 936-942 Maple Avenue to permit a residential condominium development.
AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING A SPECIAL USE TO PERMIT A RESIDENTIAL CONDOMINIUM DEVELOPMENT AT 936-942 MAPLE AVENUE
ORDINANCE NO. 5442 1 . Dr. Gordon Goodman, 5834 Middaugh, introduced Joe Abel, former Director of Planning for the County of DuPage for many years. Mr. Abel is now in private practice.
2. Joe Abel said he is a planning, zoning and economic development consultant. He is familiar with Downers Grove, and worked for DuPage County for 17 years. He said that this community puts a lot of care into developing its land use plans. It is difficult to have a viable downtown area, and he has looked at the Village's Comprehensive Plan. He commented that some of the things in the Comprehensive Plan raise questions. Mr. Abel said he disagrees with some of the findings made by the Plan Commission with respect to this special use request, and then he reviewed the criteria for a Special Use. He thinks the Village may make a dramatic mistake by treating the subject property as a mixed use. He said that the services in the proposed structure have nothing to do with commercial use. The project is for residents. Mr. Abel said the developer's attorney went into detail to discuss page 46 of the Comprehensive Plan which states what a mixed use development is, including ground floor as primarily commercial and retail use, and personal service uses, which are not Special Use services, but are part of a multiple family structure. Indoor parking is required.
Mr. Abel then commented on the Plan Commission's report that goes on to discuss the Comprehensive Plan, noting that the whole development is residential, with no mixed use on the ground floor. He noted that the Village's parking deck shows the Village's long range planning and commitment to its downtown area. The proposed development does not serve the general public, but only serves the residents who live there. Mr. Abel noted that the Village is taking a multi-family structure and putting it in a commercial area. He does not see how this can work as a transitional development. Mr. Abel also noted that pedestrian continuity is very important to a development that is a multi-use development.
Mr. Abel then reviewed the standards for approval of a Special Use, saying that the Comprehensive Plan provides for commercial uses on the main floor. None of the recommendations have been met, yet the Plan Commission report says that they have. Mr. Abel said that the development is contrary to the Comprehensive Plan, does not meet Comprehensive Plan goals, and is not "near" the downtown area, but is "in" the downtown area. All planners identify a supportable commercial area and then surround it with multi-family uses. As to the existing buildings on the site, Mr. Abel said that they are vacant because the developer purchased them and vacated them. In regard to the Findings of Fact of the Plan Commission report, staff's findings are contrary to the Comprehensive Plan that is on record and has been developed by the Village Council.
Mr. Abel said that a precedent will be set if the Village votes for this, because every property that exists in the downtown area that wants to convert to 100% multi-family is going to come in and say "you did it on this property . . . allowing it under a special use, a five-story total multiple-family structure within the business district." And slowly but surely, when a piece of property is turned totally into one use, the intensity goes up because you can design it from a footprint up five stories. That maximizes intensity and density. If it is designed as a mixed use, you get an entirely different footprint, which would include commercial, services and parking. There is an advantage to a developer to build a 100% multiple family building to increase the intensity, and that won't happen if it is a mixed-use building. The Comprehensive Plan took that into consideration to protect the scale in the downtown area. Setting this precedent will allow every remaining project in the DB area to become multi-family. He hoped the Village would consider this and send it back to the drawing board to meet what the Comprehensive Plan states.
3. David Sosin, attorney for the developer, said these were two foreclosed properties that were vacant for a long time. Everyone can read the Comprehensive Plan. To have a viable downtown you need people. He said that the area was rezoned 50 years ago. The parking deck didn't spur development. He said that there are 13 areas that may be suited for residential development. In order to spur development in the downtown area you have to have people. Mr. Sosin said that this meets every aspect of zoning and the Comprehensive Plan. He said this development brings a residential component that the Plan contemplates.
4. Bill White of 47th and Seeley Avenue said he came before the Council seven years ago regarding the Fairview Village application. He feels the same about this development. The Village is looking at this parcel outside of the larger context. He said he has a sense of déjà vu in this case. One essential and viable piece of information is what the total number of multi-family units the downtown area can absorb, and is this the best location. This project will preclude other locations in downtown. Lisle is looking to put in 200 units near their train station. This Council does not have all the information it needs to make a decision on this site. The Comprehensive Plan is being ignored.
5. Bill Waldack, 1409 Willard Place, said he opposes the development on Maple Avenue. The Village's historic preservation ordinance is not historic and preserves nothing. As for a Special Use, this Use does not comply with the Comprehensive Plan. He commented that there have been statements made that this will affect traffic and property values. Evidence suggests that the neighborhood and those passing through would be adversely affected. Mr. Waldack then asked how this project meets the economic smell test. It is the future impact that must be considered. He said that this project is not necessary, but the question is whether it is desirable. He thinks that the Village has to say "no." It is not desirable by the residents. Mr. Waldack said that the project is too large and inappropriate. Maple Avenue is a Village gem. This project and the potential for a domino effect will ruin this gem. It is the Village Council's choice to support the residents or the developer.
6. Dr. Goodman asked where in the Comprehensive Plan is the recommendation for transitional zoning for revising the boundaries of the downtown area. Mr. Fieldman responded that there is no specific recommendation of that sort. Dr. Goodman said that the Village is getting a strong recommendation in the form of 733 recommendations from people who have supported a petition to deny this request. Experts drew up the Comprehensive Plan, and the controversy surrounding this development has made people pay more attention to the Comprehensive Plan. It has stirred up a great deal of interest, and people are paying attention. Dr. Goodman said that these are strong recommendations from the Council's constituents. He commented that nominating petitions have been filed during this time, and people may wait until April to speak if they feel they are not being listened to. Dr. Goodman said that he hopes the Council will postpone this decision to 2015.
7. Marge Earl, 4720 Florence Avenue, said she is a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals. She was appointed in 2002 and has made it a point to learn good planning. Ms. Earl said that the Zoning Board of Appeals makes hard decisions on matters that might set a precedent for the entire town, so they look hard for a special reason to grant an exception. Setting a precedent will bring more demands from developers. She asked that the Council be clear on its decision-making, and she feels that Mr. Abel gave them the necessary information.
8. Hilary Denk, 433 Wilson, thanked the Council members for speaking with her and for the information provided by the Village about the loading zone. She said that testimony given earlier by Mr. Abel is basis for denial, as are comments by the public, as is the number of units. Ms. Denk said that she believes case law supports the denial. However, she requested that if the Council chooses not to deny, that they place conditions on the permit including commercial use on the first floor. She also requested loading and unloading on the private property of this parcel, rather than on the parkway. There is a safety issue with this matter, and the safety issue has not been studied. She thinks there should be no loading for moving on the public parkway. It is an unsafe way to come in and out of Maple Avenue. Ms. Denk expressed concern about the survey of historic properties made, but no action taken. In addition, the Special Use has not been addressed and she would appreciate actions and changes on some of the issues that have been raised. She thinks there is a lack of staff time and resources to adequately serve the Village. She views this in terms of how the Village takes care of its public, how it communicates with the public, and she hopes that the resident impact will make a difference.
There being no further comments from the audience, the Mayor called for comments from the Village Council.
Commissioner Barnett made a Motion to add the following conditions to the Special Use: 1) The petitioner shall eliminate the Maple Avenue loading zone and post signs and insure that all deliveries are to be made on the property of the development. There shall be no parking, loading or standing on Maple Avenue. 2) The petitioner shall move the front of the building back as far as possible within zoning code allowances in an effort to maintain the existing physical relationship/proximity between the North side sidewalk and Maple Avenue. 3) Prior to the issuance of a building permit, the petitioner shall reduce the massing of the front elevation by changing building materials, architectural features and /or design of the roof lines in a manner acceptable to the Village Manager. The Motion was seconded by Commissioner Neustadt.
Commissioner Hosé asked for clarification as to the setback for amendment #2. The Manager replied that there is a maximum 10' setback from the new resulting lot line, or 13' from the current lot line.
Commissioner Hosé asked whether elimination of the loading zone would result in delivery trucks backing out onto Maple Avenue. Mr. Sosin said they would have enough room to turn around on site. The development is designed with loading and unloading in a turnaround method.
Commissioner Neustadt asked for an explanation of the Zoning Ordinance versus the Comprehensive Plan and how each is interpreted. Mr. Fieldman replied that the Comprehensive Plan is a guide to making decisions, and the Zoning Ordinance is the law that has to be followed.
Mayor Tully commented on the Motion on the table, saying he is not comfortable deciding on the Motion tonight. People have not had the time to digest it. He asked that they consider tabling this until January 2015 and give people time to react to this.
Commissioner Durkin moved to table this motion until the first meeting in January 2015 to obtain further information. Commissioner Olsen seconded the Motion.
Commissioner Barnett said he would like to hear from the developer on the amendments and conditions he proposed. The subject matter has been discussed a lot.
Mr. Sosin replied that regarding the loading zone, there would not be a problem. Moving the building back is a function of the Zoning Ordinance. It would not change the building. Regarding the building elevation, Mr. Sosin said that their professionals can and are willing to undertake this to soften up the look of the building. They would very much want this brought to a vote, and are comfortable with the conditions and moving forward.
Commissioner Barnett said that the conditions are either very plain as they relate to the loading zone, or are not relevant to the Special Use. The developer is being accommodating. Commissioner Barnett said he is fine with moving forward.
Commissioner Neustadt said he agrees with Commissioner Barnett, and said that they have been looking at this for a long time. He supports moving forward as well. He does not think the three conditions are extreme.
Commissioner Rheintgen asked the developer whether they would change the start date of this project if it were delayed. She said that the Council has received information from a family that might be willing to move the house. Mr. Sosin replied that the process will take a number of months to develop the final architectural plans, engineering and bidding. It would have to take place in the spring if the house were to be moved. It would not be an impediment in his opinion.
Commissioner Hosé asked whether the condition of moving the building to the maximum setback would change the plans. Mr. Sosin said it would not change the plan.
Commissioner Olsen said he supports the Motion to table as this is new information and it behooves everyone to be able to understand this.
Commissioner Durkin asked whether January 6 is feasible or January 13 is better. Mr. Sosin said that January 13 would work better.
Commissioner Barnett commented that new plans would not have to be presented, as that would be part of the building permit process.
Mayor Tully commented that maybe they don't need more time if the conditions do not fundamentally change the plan.
Commissioner Durkin noted that changing the plans has drawn his attention and he could support tabling the issue if the height is affected.
Commissioner Hosé asked if the condition to change includes the actual height of the structure.
Commissioner Barnett commented that they would try to soften up the building, but not materially change the building. He said the Motion was not intended to materially change the building in terms of height, square footage or number of units.
Mayor Tully called for public comments with regard to the Motion to Table to a date certain.
Dr. Goodman commented on the question of the loading zone and requiring deliveries to occur on the property of the development, saying that the Village should be able to study the diagrams with the turning radius in order to understand the significance. The Village, as far as he knows, has not seen turning radius diagrams for the internal structure of the project.
Mr. Fieldman replied that staff has seen the drawings and concurs with the statement of the petitioner that there is ample room for turning radius.
Mr. Sosin said that early in the process he met with the Planning staff on this matter. It was done months ago. The loading zone was an after-thought. He contemplates looking at the cosmetics of the elevation of the building. It complies with the Code and he will revisit the design criteria.
Mayor Tully said that he does not want to see this redesigned on the fly.
Doug Porter, 704 Maple, said that he supports the Motion to Table. He discussed the water runoff and doesn't think that the water abatement system is very sophisticated. Mr. Porter said that the water abatement system is bigger than this project, and the community needs to build an infrastructure to take on this project. He noted that this is 43,000 square feet of impervious property and they don't have a way to deal with it.
Lillian Moats, 1100 Maple, commented that she is also in favor of tabling this issue. She appreciates Commissioner Barnett's Motion but she would like to see the Council members delve into the concerns expressed by Mr. Abel regarding a mixed-use building, as well as the issue of setting a precedent.
Mr. Sosin commented that the plans have been submitted that address the stormwater issue. Those plans have been approved, and the stormwater facilities have been addressed. Mr. Sosin said that there should be a balance between the petitioner and those who come in for the first time tonight. He has acted in good faith on behalf of the petitioner. The minds of those who support this or don't are not going to change. He feels they have provided the required information.
There being no further comments, Mayor Tully requested a roll call on the Motion to Table the underlying Motion.
VOTE: AYE: Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Olsen; Mayor Tully NAY: Commissioner Hosé, Commissioner Rheintgen, Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Neustadt
The Mayor declared the Motion failed by a vote of 4:3.
Mayor Tully called for discussion on the Motion to amend, with conditions, the underlying Motion authorizing a Special Use.
Commissioner Olsen said he does not oppose the conditions. However, he will not support this since the Council has not had time to fully vet the issue, and there has not been an opportunity for further community input as to the changes recommended.
Mayor Tully commented that he has an issue with implementation of changing the building materials and leaving it in the Village Manager's hands. He does not have a suggestion to modify this at this time, but does not want to see changes to "make a camel and end up with a horse." He would want to give this more mindful thought in terms of modifications.
Commissioner Olsen said that he concurs with the Mayor's comments. Proposing and voting upon these conditions tonight does not provide enough time to fully digest the conditions.
Commissioner Barnett responded that there is every reason to believe that the petitioner will try to soften this, and the Village staff can work something out with them. Commissioner Barnett said he feels that it can move forward because it doesn't materially affect the Special Use. There is every reason to believe the petitioner has acted in good faith to this point. The question that is important is if there is an aesthetic change to the building that it does not change the course of the Special Use.
The Mayor requested a Roll Call on the Motion to amend the Special Use to add conditions.
VOTE: AYE: Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Neustadt, Commissioner Rheintgen; Mayor Tully NAY: Commissioner Olsen, Commissioner Durkin
The Mayor declared the Motion passed 5:2.
Commissioner Olsen thanked all the residents who communicated with the Village Council. He said it is truly appreciated and unprecedented, and he noted that the issue is multi-faceted. He said that the central question is if the proposal meets the standards, and replied that based on facts, he feels that it does not meet the standards, and he cannot support this use.
Commissioner Neustadt said the Council has had many comments on this issue, and there have been multiple attempts to try to save or move the house in question. He said that the Comprehensive Plan is a guide and the Zoning Ordinance is the law. The Zoning Ordinance was passed in June of this year and the petitioner has met the requirements established by that Ordinance. With regard to the Special Use criteria, Commissioner Neustadt said it is an allowed Special Use. As to whether it is necessary or desirable, the Commissioner said he feels it meets the standards, as the Council has heard from multiple people who would be interested in purchasing one of these condos, as well as the Downtown Management Corporation and the Economic Development Corporation in terms of the proposed economic impact. As to the third criterion regarding whether the development would be detrimental or injurious to the surrounding public, Commissioner Neustadt said he believes that the standards have been met, and he will support this project. He noted that there is no doubt that Village residents are engaged in the process.
Commissioner Rheintgen said that the Village has received a lot of communication and correspondence regarding this petition, and almost every email has asked the Village Council to save 942 Maple Avenue. She said that she thinks 942 Maple Avenue is a beautiful old home; however, the Council is not deciding whether 942 Maple should be saved. Council is being asked to consider variables that are beyond what they are permitted to make decisions on, including the appearance of the building, whether the Village needs more condos, will they sell, etc. The Commissioner said that unfortunately the Council does not get to choose where developments happen and does not have the luxury of playing Monopoly.
Commissioner Rheintgen continued that the proposed development meets all of the bulk requirements of the DB district, and the petitioner has not requested one variation. She noted that a condo development is an allowed special use in the DB district. The Village Council has a small scope on which to decide, and that includes whether the petitioner met the standards to approve a Special Use. She believes that they did.
She said that the objectors to this project claim that the proposal is not in compliance with the Village's Comprehensive Plan; however, she believes that the proposal is in compliance with the Comprehensive Plan and the Village's Zoning Ordinance. She noted that the Village staff has detailed the many reasons that this is true. She further stated that the objectors to this development are putting more weight on the consistency with the Comprehensive Plan than on compliance with the Zoning Ordinance. She noted that the Comprehensive Plan is a guide or a road map for future development in the community that contains general statements about what is desirable in the community. Some of those statements can be conflicting due to the general and broad nature of the document. The Zoning Ordinance, however, is the law.
Commissioner Rheintgen continued stating that as a part of the recent review, rewrite and eventual adoption of the Village's Zoning Ordinance, Special Uses that were not desired in a particular zoning district would have been removed. Payday loans and massage parlors were removed as categories from the Zoning Ordinance. Since multi-family is specifically listed as an allowable Special Use in the DB, it has already been determined that it is a use compatible with the surrounding area and appropriate for the neighborhood. She noted that suggestions have been made that the subject property should be zoned as Downtown Transition; however, she noted that if it was zoned Downtown Transition, a condo/multi-family development would still be considered an allowable Special Use.
While she agrees that this has been an emotional argument for some, Commissioner Rheintgen believes that emotions cannot enter into the decision as the Council has to be fair and apply the rules fairly for people to have confidence in the Council as their elected officials. She said that the easier choice politically would be simply to deny the petition due to the pressure from the public. The Council has even been told that they should vote "no" if they want to be re-elected. She said she hopes that people in this town would not want people serving in elected positions that voted for things only so they could be re-elected, instead of based on careful deliberation of the facts presented. Voting "no" with all of the standards having been met puts the Village at risk of a lawsuit that would have to be defended with tax dollars. Commissioner Rheintgen said that the hardest choice is often the right choice. In this instance, she believes that the petitioner has met the standards for a Special Use.
Commissioner Hosé commented on the proposal and the decision facing the Council, stating that both this Council and the staff pride themselves on finding the 'and' solution--a way to reach all desired outcomes; however, that 'and' solution is not possible here. He noted that the proposed project does change the face and character of Maple Avenue, and it does not look anything like what is currently there. He noted that the community has told this to staff and the Village Council loud and clear. Nonetheless, the proposal does fit with 50 years of zoning history and the Comprehensive Plan. The real problem this proposal brings to light is the fundamental disconnect between the community's expectations for development along Maple Avenue and the policies long-expressed by the Zoning Code and re-stated in 2011 by the Comprehensive Plan. That this project is proposed for this site despite the community's opposition demonstrates a failure of planning and vision. He said that the Village is now required to live with the consequences.
Commissioner Hosé said that he is going to vote to grant the Special Use, not necessarily because he thinks it is the right fit for the downtown Downers Grove. He believes that voting against this project unnecessarily places the Village in legal jeopardy and could lead to spending taxpayer dollars on legal fees rather than the needs of the community, and he believes that outcome is unacceptable. The Commissioner said that simply, the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance, as written, do not provide the Village with the tools to deny this Special Use petition. The subject property has been zoned commercial for 50 years, including its current zoning as Downtown Business since 2005. Both designations allow multi-family as a Special Use, and since 2005, neither the zoning code nor the Comprehensive Plan has called this property anything but Downtown Business. The Village's planning documents have unmistakably called this property part of Downtown Downers Grove.
Commissioner Hosé continued saying that a multi-family development of this size and scale and this setback does not seem right, and that is why this is a Special Use--to prevent things that don't belong. However, the Illinois Supreme Court has stated that listing a particular use as a special use within a zoning district is "equivalent to a legislative finding that [such a] use is one that is in harmony with the other uses permitted in the district." He said that putting this another way, the Village's Zoning Ordinance would be interpreted by a court as saying that a condo building on this site is in harmony with the surrounding uses. This is then combined with setback requirements and the allowable building height and size, and the traffic impact study. The tools required to vote "no' are not present here.
Commissioner Hosé stated that the Comprehensive Plan provides no help. It calls for multi-family residential use near or in commercial areas including the downtown area, and it calls for buildings to be located at or near the sidewalk line. It defines "the concept of mixed use as referring to a building, set of buildings, area or neighborhood that is comprised of a range of land uses serving more than one purpose." He noted, nonetheless, that some have suggested that the Village condemn this property in order to prevent this development from proceeding, and he said that he respectfully disagrees with that thinking. The Village should not be in the business of operating as a commercial landlord; the Village is attempting to get out of that business right now. He continued that others have suggested that the Village should deny this project because the Village may sell some of the land on which Village Hall currently sits for redevelopment as multi-family residential. The very mention of this idea, according to Commissioner Hosé, is unacceptable. This would wrongfully stifle the free market and would provide a disincentive for future investment in the Village's downtown and the community at large to the detriment of the Village.
In his estimation, Commissioner Hosé said that the central issue raised by these hearings over the last six weeks is, where does the Village go from here. The overwhelming majority of residents who have spoken out on this project have opposed it believing it to be out of character, out of step with the neighborhood, and all seven of the members on the Council have expressed reservations of some type or another. He expressed his belief that the Council must therefore take action, the sooner the better, to modify the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance in order to ensure that developments of this size and scale do not move east or west on Maple past Washington or, at least, Lane Place, or to the south side of Maple between Main Street and Washington. This is the last and best way to implement the community's wish to protect as much of the existing character of Maple Avenue as possible.
Commissioner Barnett said there was a comment made about residential "ringing" the downtown instead of being "in" the downtown. It has been said that a single non-mixed use of this size is considered inappropriate. He said that the term "mixed use" appears throughout the Comprehensive Plan, and couldn't be clearer. He quoted a section from Page 46 of the Comprehensive Plan which states: "The concept of mixed use refers to a building, set of buildings, area or neighborhood that is comprised of a range of land uses serving more than one purpose." Commissioner Barnett said that the term "mixed use" occurs throughout the Comprehensive Plan, in almost all sections. He said that definition could not be clearer, as it is a very short list of words without any ambiguity. The Comprehensive Plan also states: "To continue its success and vibrancy, a diverse mix of uses should be promoted and maintained Downtown...." He further read that "traditionally multi-family residential uses are sited 'near' or 'in' commercial areas...." Commissioner Barnett continued reading from the Comprehensive Plan, saying that the Comprehensive Plan is intentionally a little ambiguous and flexible. He thinks the direction in the Comprehensive Plan is along the idea of the proposal before the Council. He said he is a resident of Maple Avenue, and he wonders if it would be better to be commercial on the first floor; but he is not sure that he agrees with this. He said he feels the proposed plan is a better plan. With regard to water, every development proposed in the Village talks about water issues, and it is a huge issue; however, he thinks these developments can only improve stormwater management in the Village.
Commissioner Durkin said that the easy thing to do in this case is to vote "no." However, he supports this project, as it is allowed in the Comprehensive Plan and the Zoning Ordinance. The key elements of the existing buildings on Maple Avenue are non-conforming, and he said that the Council might need to address that. He thanked everyone who communicated with the Council, and he said that he drives Maple every day and does hear the public's opinions. However, he believes this project meets the Village's requirements.
Mayor Tully also thanked everyone for their input on this project, particularly since the discourse has been so respectful.
The Motion to adopt the Special Use as amended with conditions passed. A motion was made by Commissioner Neustadt, seconded by Commissioner Durkin, to Adopt this file. Mayor declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Y ea: Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Rheintgen, Commissioner Neustadt and Commissioner Hosé Nay: Commissioner Olsen and Mayor Tully Indexes: Special Use - 936-942 Maple Avenue
ORD 00-05759 B. Ordinance: Amend Chapter 20 of the Downers Grove Municipal Code - Subdivision and Development Ordinance
Sponsors: Community Development
Summary of Item: This amends Chapter 20, the Subdivision and Development Ordinance.
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 20, THE SUBDIVISION AND DEVELOPMENT ORDINANCE
ORDINANCE NO. 5443 A motion was made by Commissioner Neustadt, seconded by Commissioner Durkin, to Adopt this file. Mayor declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Y ea: Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Rheintgen, Commissioner Neustadt, Commissioner Hosé, Commissioner Olsen and Mayor Tully Indexes: Subdivision, Municipal Code - Amendments
ORD 00-05762 C. Ordinance: Amend Chapter 7 of the Downers Grove Municipal Code Re: Provisions for Demolition/Construction Site Management
Sponsors: Village Attorney
Summary of Item: This amends provisions for demolition/construction site management.
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING PROVISIONS FOR DEMOLITION/CONSTRUCTION SITE MANAGEMENT
ORDINANCE NO. 5444 A motion was made by Commissioner Neustadt, seconded by Commissioner Durkin, to Adopt this file. Mayor declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Y ea: Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Rheintgen, Commissioner Neustadt, Commissioner Hosé, Commissioner Olsen and Mayor Tully Indexes: Building Code, Municipal Code - Amendments
ORD 00-05802 D. Ordinance: Amend Chapter 14 of the Downers Grove Municipal Code to Establish Parking Regulations during a Snow Emergency
Sponsors: Village Attorney
Summary of Item: This establishes parking regulations concerning a snow emergency.
AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING PARKING REGULATIONS DURING A SNOW EMERGENCY
ORDINANCE NO. 5445 A motion was made by Commissioner Neustadt, seconded by Commissioner Durkin, to Adopt this file. Mayor declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Y ea: Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Rheintgen, Commissioner Neustadt, Commissioner Hosé, Commissioner Olsen and Mayor Tully Indexes: Parking Regulations
ORD 00-05760 E. Ordinance: Amend Chapter 19 of the Downers Grove Municipal Code - Streets and Sidewalks
Sponsors: Village Attorney
Summary of Item: This amends provisions concerning streets and sidewalks. Mayor Tully asked that this item be tabled to a First Reading on January 6, 2015. A motion was made by Commissioner Barnett, seconded by Commissioner Hosé, to Table to a Date Certain this file. Mayor declared the motion carried by the following vote: Votes: Y ea: Commissioner Barnett, Commissioner Durkin, Commissioner Rheintgen, Commissioner Neustadt, Commissioner Hosé, Commissioner Olsen and Mayor Tully Indexes: Streets, Municipal Code - Amendments, Sidewalks
9. First Reading
10. Mayor's Report
Materials to be Placed on File
11. Manager's Report
The Manager asked Allison Deitch, Performance Manager, to report on the ComEd town hall meeting.
Allison Deitch, Performance Manager, said the purpose of the report is to provide the general public with the same information that was shared at the ComEd town hall meeting. More information is available on our website.
This is the fourth year of reliability analysis and town hall meetings. In is in response to extended outages throughout the Village caused by severe summer storms in 2011 and to provide an opportunity for residents to speak directly with ComEd officials.
This year's reliability analysis includes data from 2013 through October 2014 and provides for an opportunity to see how the system performed throughout the entire storm season.
With respect to reliability data, Ms. Deitch reported the following key findings: Overall outages are trending lower; the storm season was mild and the weather-related outages were lower; equipment failures are the most frequent cause of outages, but they are tracking lower in 2014; there are fewer outages of an extended duration.
Ms. Deitch then depicted the 2014 key findings caused by both weather and equipment on a table.
In terms of improvements from 2012-14, Ms. Deitch said there are 22 miles of new underground cable, two miles of new tree-resistant overhead cable, distribution automation devices that avoid interruptions; and wood pole and equipment inspections and replacement.
Next steps include the Village continuing to track outages, ComEd will follow-up on issues raised, and future ComEd planning to include additional distribution automation, seven miles of additional new underground cable, inspection and treatment of 1,900 wood poles, and smart meters starting in 2016 .
Commissioner Barnett asked about trend lines for outage durations.
Ms. Deitch said they have decreased; she has this information and will make it available.
12. Attorney's Report
Future Active Agenda
13. Council Member New Business
Mayor Tully said he heard several Council members speak about the ned to look at the Comprehensive Plan and the Zoning Ordinance, particularly on Maple Avenue between Main and Lyman.
Commissioner Neustadt moved to adjourn. Commissioner Durkin seconded the motion.
VOTE: AYE: Commissioners Neustadt, Durkin, Hosé, Olsen, Rheintgen, Barnett; Mayor Tully
Mayor Tully declared the Motion carried and the Council adjourned at 9:29 p.m.