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February 21, 2017

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

Council Attendance (Present):  Commissioner Earl, Commissioner Waldack, Commissioner White, Commissioner Hosé, Commissioner Barnett; Mayor Tully

Absent:  Commissioner Walus

Non-Voting:  Village Manager David Fieldman, Village Attorney Enza Petrarca, Village Clerk April Holden

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 past meetings, an opportunity will be given for public comments and questions of a general nature. 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 Mayor stated that at the appropriate time the presiding officers will ask if there are any comments from the public. Individuals wishing to speak, should raise their hand to be recognized and, after acknowledgment from the presiding officer, approach the microphone and state their name. Remarks should be limited to five minutes, and individuals are asked to 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

MIN 2017-7267 - A. Minutes:  Council Minutes - February 14, 2017

Motion:  Commissioner White, seconded by Commissioner Waldack, moved to approve the minutes as presented.

 

Mayor Tully declared the motion carried by voice vote.

4. Proclamation

Mayor Tully said that one of the most iconic residents of Downers Grove, Montrew Dunham, passed away a few weeks ago.  He noted that she was part of the fabric of the community and will be missed.  The Mayor mentioned his pride at having a personally signed copy of one of her books, Downers Grove Revisited.  She appeared many times on DGTV-6, and those appearances will be available on the Village's website, as well as shown on DGTV-6.  Many Tully recognized Ms. Dunham's family Jim and Chuck Dunham, and Andy Goetz.  He thanked them for coming to the meeting.

Mayor Tully then read a Proclamation honoring Montrew Dunham for her contributions to the history of the Village, and her membership in many organizations.  He presented the Proclamation to members of her family.

Jim Dunham thanked the Mayor and Council for recognizing the contributions of their Mother to the Village.  She loved Downers Grove very much.

Mayor Tully expressed the community's condolences on her passing and thanked the family for attending the meeting.  He also noted that the Village has a list of possible new street names.  He suggested adding Montrew Goetz Dunham's name to the list.  That name would be there as long as the Village is an entity.

5. Public Comments

This is the opportunity for public comments.

Rose Graft who lives at Oak Tree Towers said that there has been a lot of theft taking place there over the past four years.  They are getting no help from the police.

Mayor Tully said he has conversed with her and has communicated her concerns to the Police Department.  He is sorry she is not satisfied with their response.

Ms. Graft said it is a big group of people.  Her lease was stolen and she is being robbed on a daily basis. She is not happy with the police response.

Mayor Tully told her that he is sorry the police are not meeting her expectations.

6. Consent Agenda

COR 2017-7268 - A. Claims Ordinance:  No. 6197, Payroll, January 20, 2017

 

BIL 2017-7269 - B. Bills Payable:  No. 6314, February 21, 2017

 

RES 2017-7275 - C. Resolution:  Authorize an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Board of Library Trustees in Regard to the Creation of a Special Reserve Fund

Summary:  This authorizes an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Library. 

A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF AN INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND THE BOARD OF LIBRARY TRUSTEES OF THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE IN REGARD TO THE CREATION OF A SPECIAL RESERVE FUND

RESOLUTION 2017-14

 

MIN 2017-7274 - D. Minutes:  Note Receipt of Minutes of Boards and Commissions

Summary:  Architectural Design Review Board - January 18, 2017; Plan Commission - January 9, 2017

 

Motion:  Commissioner White moved to approve the Consent Agenda as presented.  Commissioner Waldack seconded the motion. 

Votes:  Yea: Commissioners White, Waldack, Earl, Hosé; Barnett; Mayor Tully

Nay: None 

Mayor Tully declared the motion carried.

 

7. Active Agenda

ORD 2017-7245 - A. Ordinance:  Approve a Redevelopment and Land Purchase Agreement with ReUrban Partners, LLC

Summary:  This approves a Redevelopment and Land Purchase Agreement with ReUrban Partners, LLC for the property located at 5117 Main Street. 

AN ORDINANCE APPROVING A REDEVELOPMENT AND LAND PURCHASE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND REURBAN PARTNERS, LLC

ORDINANCE NO. 5603

Motion:  Commissioner White moved to adopt "An Ordinance Approving a Redevelopment and Land Purchase Agreement between the Village of Downers Grove and ReUrban Partners, LLC," as presented.  Commissioner Waldack seconded the motion. 

Votes:  Yea: Commissioners White, Waldack, Earl, Hosé, Barnett; Mayor Tully

Nay: None

Mayor Tully declared the motion carried.

8. First Reading

ORD 2017-7244 - A. Ordinance:  Update the Village's Comprehensive Plan

Community Development Director Stan Popovich provided a review on the update of the Village's Comprehensive Plan.  He said his review would include the Introduction, Background, Vision, Land Use Plan and the Residential Area Plan.  This covers pages 1-43. 

Mr. Popovich said that the Introduction does not have many changes.  He noted that the introductory paragraph was updated including an update of the planning process, as well as TCD III in 2011 and the Comprehensive Plan Committee's objectives in 2016.  The remainder of that section is the same.

Pages 8-19 cover the Background.  Mr. Popovich noted an update of the opening paragraph.  Pages 9-10 show no changes.  Pages 11-13 include studies completed from 2011-2016.  Pages 14-19 provide demographic information including an updated profile of the Village.  They used the ESRI Business Analyst for demographic information, which also does the Village's GIS system.  This data includes population changes that show an increase in population of 700 people by the year 2020.  He noted that this does not capture the new developments in the downtown area.  The information also shows that the population increases will be in the 65+-age range, and the 25-44-age range.  This could mean an increase in senior housing in the Village.  Page 18 (Chart 4) discusses the income level of the Village becoming a bit more affluent, over the $75,000 annual income level.   Page 19's change represents the aggregate age and income changes into one chart.

Commissioner White commented that even though inflation is relatively low, there is inflation, and he asked whether these figures are adjusted for inflation.  Mr. Popovich said he did not believe they were.

Mr. Popovich then moved on to Section 2: Vision, covering pages 20-23.  This is an historic retrospective which includes historic preservation, the multi-family units in the downtown area, the tree canopy and stormwater improvements.  On page 22 the Village's downtown business area includes information on the TIF and the SSAs, community events, etc.  Corridor improvements are also discussed for the 63rd Street and 75th Street corridors, as well as Ogden Avenue.  Finally, this page includes the Butterfield Road and Ellsworth Industrial Park office park areas.   Page 23 discusses Fairview Avenue and Fairview train station, as well as enhanced Metra services and commercial corridor improvements.  In addition, this page includes a discussion of intergovernmental relationships through expanded school and park discussion.

Section 3 of the Comprehensive Plan Update includes the Future Land Use Plan (FLUP) and is included in pages 24-31.  Three areas of the FLUP that have changed include the downtown focus area, Ogden and Walnut Avenues, and the 63rd Street Meadowbrook Shopping Center which is being considered for mixed use.  Pages 27-31 include use descriptions without many other changes.  There is discussion about people wanting to live in the downtown area and walk to the train. 

Section 4 covers the Residential Area Plan on pages 32-43, with multi-family residential on page 37, including residing in the downtown area.  Pages 38-39 include neighborhood character and historic preservation.  Page 40 discusses sidewalk installation and parkway trees, and the Village's policy on those topics.  Page 42 includes policy recommendations for residential areas including discussion on senior citizen housing, and residential diversity surrounding the downtown area.  Page 43 includes additional policy recommendations regarding the tree canopy, sustainable development, new stormwater ideas and historic preservation. 

Mayor Tully thanked Mr. Popovich for his presentation and the documents.  He said he appreciates the work of the staff, residents and volunteers who staffed the Boards involved in this project.  He noted that the Council will go through a number of meetings to review the Plan.  He discussed a timetable for the Council as well as Village residents to present issues of substance to the staff such as direction and omissions.  He would like to move the process along.

Commissioner White said he sent a small number of errors to staff for correction.  He asked whether the Land Use Plan includes the Future Land Use Map and Mr. Popovich said it does.  Commissioner White said he would like to see an aspirational statement concerning railroad safety.

Commissioner Hosé referenced Sec. 4-Residential Areas, on pages 39-43 regarding the Stormwater and Subdivision Control Ordinances.  He would like to see stronger language in development and redevelopments in terms of an aspirational statement to be at zero impact as it relates to stormwater and runoff.  They have to do everything they can to prevent worsening the Village's flooding problems.  In regard to the permitting process, he said he thinks the heading doesn't fit and seems out of place.  On page 40 regarding sidewalks, Commissioner Hosé said he would like to see the Village be more forthright about sidewalks where it makes sense to have a sidewalk on one side, and where it makes sense to have a sidewalk on both sides of the street. 

 

Mayor Tully commented that they are not proactively pursuing this, but if they are asked to include sidewalks by petition, the Village would consider it.  Commissioner Hosé said that he wants to think of both the residents of today as well as those in the future.

Commissioner Barnett commented that the aspirational aspect of this document should be amplified regarding a zero net change in stormwater issues, and aspirational statements regarding sidewalk connectivity, traffic impact, and parkway trees.  He thinks they can consider something more dramatic and embrace radical change. 

Mayor Tully said that they need to have a pragmatic view as well.  It's necessary to achieve a balance.

Commissioner Barnett then commented about the permitting process and asked what Commissioner Hosé thinks is "out of place."   Commissioner Hosé replied that they are always striving for excellence, and he had a problem with the placement of that topic.

Commissioner Barnett referenced page 41 and traffic, stating that he'd like to see wording suggesting that they are seeking out physical elements to calm traffic as well.

Commissioner Earl said she was thrilled to see page 43 and the comment about installing new parkway trees where no trees currently exist.  The more trees there are the more stormwater issues are addressed.  She is happy to see that added.

Commissioner White referenced pages 42 or 43, asking to add wording to "aspire to expand the tree canopy to the extent feasible." 

Commissioner Waldack commented that the document reads logically.  They spoke of the projected increase in the senior population.  There are a lot of unknowns as it relates to seniors.  Demographics are useful in terms of looking at the Comprehensive Plan.  This is comprehensive and is an opportunity for the public to weigh in.  He would like to see more public input.

Mayor Tully called for questions or comments from the public.

1. Steve Kuhn, Sevan Multi-Site Solutions, said they lease the building owned by Mr. Mosey.  Mr. Kuhn commented on the change in use proposed for Forest Avenue.  The primary issue he sees is that the current plan shows the whole area as DB - downtown business, which permits properties and development up to 70' with zero setback front and back.  In the new proposal, it is limited to 36' in height with a 20' setback on the front and rear.  The proposed current designation for lots remain as is on Forest and Main.  Mr. Kuhn said that people will be hindered in terms of development with these changes.  He said they propose that the current designation for those lots remain the same.  The intent of their redevelopment was to provide mixed-use residential as well as professional office space.  The proposed setback and height limitations would diminish the use of the property.  Across the street is the AT&T building, which will remain there.  He pointed out that the properties on the east side of Forest are two-story buildings and not single-story buildings.  They are in disrepair and ripe for redevelopment.  He asked that the Village look closely at the rationale for making those changes on Forest.

Mayor Tully thanked him for his input.

2. Rich Kulovany, 6825 Camden, congratulated the Committee on the plan, and the Plan Commission for their work on the project.  He said that residents are well served by these efforts.  Mr. Kulovany said that Friends of the Edwards House will continue their efforts with voluntary landmarking.  Mr. Kuhn's comments resonated at last night's meeting.  What is important is that they look at the surrounding buildings when reviewing the process.  The Village doesn't have pure transition areas.  The Village has decided that it wants more residents downtown to support the businesses downtown.  They may need to be more thoughtful of what is next door and across the street from an area under consideration for change.  He said that it may be helpful to look at this in 3-D.

Mayor Tully said that there will be opportunities for additional comments on March 7 and March 21, with adoption on April 11.

Commissioner Barnett noted that on page 28 there is a definition of the downtown commercial/mixed use.  What's missing on page 28 is office use.  He also asked for suggestions on how to circulate some questions and comments he has written.  Mr. Fieldman said staff can take his comments and circulate them to the Council.

Commissioner White suggested that the people at home know where the find the Comprehensive Plan.  Mayor Tully responded that it is on the Village's website under this week's meetings.  Mr. Fieldman said that they will feature it under trending topics.  Commissioner Earl noted that it is a large file and takes time to download.

 

9. Mayor's Report

New Business

RES 2017-7270 - A. Resolution:  Appoint Members to Boards and Commissions

Summary:  This confirms the following appointments:    COMMUNITY EVENTS COMMISSION - Appoint John Aguzino to a three-year term expiring August 31, 2020.  PLAN COMMISSION - Appoint Richard Kulovany and Abbey Rollins to three-year terms expiring August 31, 2020.  ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS - Appoint Stephen Frost to a three-year term expiring August 31, 2010. 

A RESOLUTION APPOINTING MEMBERS TO VILLAGE BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

RESOLUTION 2017-15

Motion:  Commissioner White moved to adopt "A Resolution Appointing Members to Village Boards and Commissions," as presented. 

Mayor Tully said the Council relies heavily on volunteers and thanked them for their service.  He welcomed the new appointees and congratulated them.

Votes:  Yea: Commissioners White, Waldack, Earl, Hosé, Barnett; Mayor Tully

Nay: None

Mayor Tully declared the motion carried.

10. Council Member Reports

Commissioner Earl said the Library is still looking for input from its patrons.  Focus groups will be held on February 23, 24 and 26, or people can log onto DG Library.org and complete the survey.

She said the Library had a record high item circulation in 2016 of 1,036,494 which surpassed their prior highest circulation by more than 22,000 items.  In celebration of this milestone, the Library is giving away fine erasers on Wednesday, March 1.  These coupons will be good for a one-time erasing of up to $5.00 off late fees. 

Commissioner White said Commissioner Walus shared information with him about Hope's Front Door toiletry drive through March 31, 2017.  Items such as soap, toothbrushes, shampoo, razors, etc. are needed.  He said these items can have a real impact on the lives of those who visit Hope's Front Door.  There are five drop-off locations including Hope's Front Door, 1047 Curtiss Street, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 1125 Franklin Street, and Trinity Lutheran Church locations at 2701 Maple, Lisle; 1101 Kimberly Way, Lisle; and 2244 W. 95th Street, Naperville.

 

The Mayor asked for a motion to recess to the Committee Room to discuss the Long Range Plan.

Commissioner White moved to recess to the Committee Room.  Commissioner Waldack seconded the motion.

 

Mayor Tully declared the motion carried by voice vote and the Council took at recess at 8:26 p.m.

 

11. Manager's Report - Committee Room

INF 2017-7259 - A. Information:  2017 Long Range Plan

Mayor Tully reconvened the Council meeting at 8:37 p.m. in the Committee Room to discuss the Long Range Plan.

Village Manager Dave Fieldman explained that the 2017 Long Range Plan (LRP) establishes goals, identifies issues and is an 18-24 month work plan and action items.  The LRP guides policy decisions, budgets and daily operational decisions.

Mr. Fieldman said that the recommendation is to focus on the revenue side and identify revenues that will keep pace with general fund expenses.  He showed graphs to describe the revenues and expenses over the past several years.  On the expense side there has been an increase of just over 10% over four years.  On the revenue side, the increase has been 5.5% over the four-year period, and is not keeping pace with expenses, although they have not dipped below expenses.  He noted that public safety expenses have been pulled out of the figures for three reasons.  The Village is required to make pension contributions via State law, the pension numbers show up equally on the revenue and expense sides, and the Village's practice has been to treat those costs as a complete pass through.

Revenues have exceeded expenses over the four-year period, and without the public safety pensions the expenses only go up 1.5% per year due to excellent expense control measures.  However, on the revenue side, revenues are only 1.5% higher than the revenues in 2012.  In three of the last four years revenue sources have actually declined.  Mr. Fieldman then looked at the top four major revenues including sales tax, property tax levy, utilities, and income taxes.  All four of these are flat or declining.  Sales tax for 2016 has shown some decline as well.  Staff is looking for agreement from the Council and is suggesting that a priority action item for the 2017 Long Range Plan is to focus on the revenue side and to look for opportunities to create or enhance revenues.

Mayor Tully noted that the Village has been able to manage for six years with a flat tax levy; however, they don't expect that to last indefinitely.  He said that the continued problems from Springfield with respect to permanent property tax freezes and other issues, the Village has to worry about not just declining revenues but other curve balls being thrown at the Village.  They have been able to dodge this for the past six years, but now they have to look at the right fit for revenues.  They also need to think about other revenue sources, as the ones they have relied upon will not be as reliable in 10-15 years as they are now.  He suggested focusing on a major consolidation.  

Mr. Fieldman said in reply to Commissioner White that there has not been a significant savings immediately shown in going to DuComm.  It is more a break-even situation.

Mayor Tully said that was not the major consolidation he had in mind.  He would like to see another consolidation identified that would provide more short-term savings.  Related to that the Mayor said there is a trend in business to identify commoditized services versus high-value services.  Some refer to it as out-sourcing lower-value services, and focusing on providing higher-value services to residents. 

Commissioner Waldack commented that the Village has done a lot of cost cutting.  As a public entity, they are reluctant to increase revenue but they must.  They have to look at adjusting services and look at what other communities are doing to combat what Springfield is doing to the communities.  He thinks they have to come up with revenue generators and should conduct a survey to ask tough questions.

Mayor Tully said there are tools whereby residents can choose services and find the costs.  He would like to use this type of tool, as it would allow a resident to see how services personally affect them.

Commissioner Waldack suggested that they load the Comprehensive Plan demographic data into revenues.  The Village cannot keep things the same, and at some point they will have to look at property taxes, even though it is unpopular. He thinks the average person will have to admit that you cannot keep things the same.

Commissioner White commented that for the purposes of this meeting, the priority action item is very good.  Regarding consolidation, he suggested showing the numbers in a spreadsheet.  Not all consolidations are good ones.  For example, consolidating schools may not be a good idea for Downers Grove.  They have to be careful as to the type of consolidation.  He wants to see the numbers and not just hear the rhetoric.

Mayor Tully agreed that they identify the consolidation that makes sense.

Commissioner Hosé said that they've been talking for a while that they need to look at the options available.  They cannot continue without any increases.  He thinks they also have to engage everybody with respect to services and service levels.

Mayor Tully added that not every outsourcing idea makes sense either.

Commissioner Barnett spoke about the service questions.  He does not agree with the high priority action item.  He is trying to differentiate cutting costs and services such as high value services or services that the Village should not do.  He doesn't want to avoid the service studies.  He asked whether there are ways to detach themselves from some of the volatility outside of their control.  He stated that there is a need to reduce the volatility.

Mayor Tully said there are insurance companies who sell policies to communities to address issues such as recessions, drops in sales taxes, etc.  Mr. Fieldman said staff actually looked at this several years ago.  He said he would find more information on that.

Mayor Tully said if 6,000-10,000 people would participate in a slider scale survey, it would allow the Village to know the costs, and where people would be willing to do with less or more services.  He didn't know how much work there would be in developing something like this. 

Commissioner White said if this worked it would be awesome, but from a practical sense he would not want to see the Village create this.

Mr. Fieldman said that staff can look into a scale survey, and can also look into estimating the costs for services.

Rich Kulovany noted that 72% of the property tax bill goes to the schools.  He asked about combined services as a result of the Super Retreat.

Commissioner White said that of the 34 communities in DuPage County, Downers Grove is the 5th lowest in taxes.

Mayor Tully commented that the Village can realize savings through collaboration as well.  He said that the conversation will continue.

 

12. Adjournment

Commissioner White moved to adjourn.  Commissioner Waldack seconded the motion.    

Mayor Tully declared the motion carried by voice vote and the meeting adjourned at 9:21 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

April Holden Village Clerk