1. Call to Order
Mayor Robert Barnett 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 Barnett led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
2. Roll Call
Council Attendance (Present): Commissioner Hosé, Commissioner Earl, Commissioner Walus, Commissioner Sadowski-Fugitt, Commissioner Kulovany, Mayor Barnett
Absent: Commissioner Gray
Non-Voting: Village Manager David Fieldman, Village Attorney Enza Petrarca, Village Clerk Megan Miles
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 Barnett 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 2020-8477 - A. Minutes: Executive Session Minutes for Approval Only - January 7, 2020 and January 14, 2020
MIN 2020-8479 - B. Minutes: Council Minutes - January 21, 2020
Motion: Commissioner Hosé moved to approve the minutes as presented. Commissioner Earl seconded the motion.
Mayor Barnett declared the motion carried by voice vote.
4. Presentation - Economic Development Corporation Quarterly Report
Michael Cassa, President and CEO of the Downers Grove Economic Development Corporation, 5159 Mochel Drive, presented the EDC's quarterly report. Municipal sales taxes showed a 1.78% increase over October 2019 and a 3.30% decrease over November 2019. Home Rule sales taxes showed a 3.63% increase over October 2019, and a 3.13% increase over November 2019 figures. Hotel taxes increased 6.85% over November 2019.
Regarding industrial occupancy rates, Mr. Cassa said the vacancy rate for our submarket, the I-88 corridor, is 6.39%, which is extremely low as is the availability rate. With respect to the office occupancy rate, Downers Grove is in the East-West corridor submarket. He reviewed the data for Class A and B. Mr. Cassa said he stays in regular contact with leasing companies. There is not a lot of available office occupancy in Downers Grove. With respect of national consumer spending, 18.8% of holiday consumer spending was online. He said the 2019 final data is not yet available; however, it is projected that 15.5% of all spending in 2020 will be online.
Mr. Cassa then addressed marketing and outreach. The goal is the same as always - to build and sustain relationships for our community, which leads to direct calls and to referrals. He said his office does targeted advertising that they are able to track such as ads in the DuPage Convention and Visitor's Bureau annual guide and the State of Illinois economic development guide that highlights our location. Outreach also includes the annual luncheon to be held on May 8 at 11:00 a.m. at the DoubleTree Downers Grove, and Deals are Brewing in Downers Grove, which was held in October at Alter Brewing and was attended by 60 brokers. Further outreach includes Choose DuPage. The EDC provides collateral material that developers/brokers would be interested in such as a visitor's map, community guide, etc.
Mr. Cassa addressed databases, such as CoStar, which is the leading national database of properties and buildings in the United States. It is used for site searches for commercial buildings. The EDC also maintains databases. They target corporate real estate managers, developers, real estate brokers and site consultants.
Mr. Cassa spoke of the EDC's involvement in the Illinois Economic Development Association. He said he is the vice chair of the group. He also spoke of involvement in the Illinois Council of Shopping Center Shows. EDC has a booth at that show each year. The Mainstreet Association of Realtors has 17,000 members and is headquartered in Downers Grove. The EDC has sponsored some of their events. The Real Estate Journals DuPage County Conference will be held this week. With respect to the State of Illinois, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and Intersect Illinois promote Illinois and occasionally generate leads.
Mr. Cassa then discussed the EDC website, which will be enhanced this year. He thanked the Village Council for their support. Commissioner Hosé thanked Mr. Cassa for the information on the vacancy rates for commercial and industrial space. He asked for a comparison as to where Downers Grove stands in the Chicagoland area in the future.
Mayor Barnett said that for those who do not know about the EDC, it is very important. It is critical to our vitality as is the work Mr. Cassa does. He encouraged people to visit their website.
5. Public Comments
This is the opportunity for public comments.
1. Rose Kraft said she has spoken before the Council before about Oak Tree Towers. She is being robbed and made sick from fumes from AT&T. She is not receiving any help; seniors are not treated well.
Mayor Barnett said she has not been ignored and he is sorry her expectations haven't been met. He said there has been ongoing dialogue. It is not accurate that the Village is ignoring seniors.
Ms. Kraft said a senior was hurt on Forest Avenue. A red light is needed at Forest and Warren. She also discussed a problem with stealing electricity.
Mayor Barnett said the Village cannot assist with that issue as it is a building management issue.
2. Terry Duke, 725 41st Street, said his bike is his second vehicle. He often rides his bike to do his errands and there is a lack of secure bicycle parking where he can lock his bike up. He feels that developers and building managers should consider improvements that allow people to have the capability to bring their bike, secure it and make sure people can utilize it. He noted there is a bike rack at Village Hall and he thinks that should be available throughout the Village. It would allow people to have a safe, secure area. He said it is important that this be addressed and considered. He decided to bring this before the Council because bike routes have been established and people are looking at bikes more and more as a second mode of transportation. This would help to make Downers Grove a better place.
Mayor Barnett thanked Mr. Duke for his attendance at tonight's meeting.
6. Consent Agenda
COR 2020-8482 - A. Claims Ordinance: No. 6347, Payroll, January 17, 2020
BIL 2020-8483 - B. Bills Payable: No. 6506, February 4, 2020
BIL 2020-8484 - C. Bills Payable: No. 6508, February 11, 2020
MOT 2020-8487 - D. Motion: Award $41,670.00 to Boughton Materials, Inc., Plainfield, Illinois, for the Supply of Crushed Limestone
Summary: This awards $41,670.00 to Boughton Materials, Inc., Plainfield, IL, for the supply of crushed limestone.
MOT 2020-8490 - E. Motion: Award $81,975.00 to Marcott Enterprises, Inc., Villa Park, Illinois, for Debris Hauling Services
Summary: This awards $81,975.00 to Marcott Enterprises, Inc. Villa Park, for debris hauling services.
RES 2020-8488 - F. Resolution: Authorize an Extension to the Contract with Western Gradall Corporation
Summary: This authorizes the extension to the contract with Western Gradall Corporation for roadside ditch maintenance services.
A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF AN EXTENSION
TO THE CONTRACT BETWEEN
THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE AND
WESTERN GRADALL CORPORATION
MOT 2020-8489 - G. Motion: Award a Contract Not to Exceed $48,082.44 to Engineering Resource Associates, Warrenville, Illinois, for Construction Engineering Services for Highland Avenue Storm Sewer Replacement
Summary: This authorizes execution of a contract for construction engineering services for Highland Avenue (39th to Ogden) storm sewer replacement (SW-070-20A) to Engineering Resource Associates in the amount of $43,711.31 plus 10% contingency in the amount of $4,371.13 for a total not-to-exceed $48,082.44.
RES 2020-8494 - H. Resolution: Authorize an Amendment and Extension to the Agreement with FGM Architects, Inc.
Summary: This authorizes an amendment and extension to the agreement with FGM Architects, Inc. in an amount not to exceed $20,000.00 for the site plan options and related services for the Village Civic Center property.
A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF AN
AMENDMENT AND EXTENSION TO THE AGREEMENT
BETWEEN THE VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE
AND FGM ARCHITECTS, INC.
MIN 2020-8478 - I. Minutes: Note Receipt of Minutes of Boards and Commissions
Summary: Library Board of Trustees - November 13, 2019; Liquor Commission - December 5, 2019; Plan Commission - January 6, 2020.
Motion: Commissioner Hosé moved to approve the Consent Agenda as amended. Commissioner Earl seconded the motion.
Mayor Barnett declared the motion carried by voice vote.
7. Active Agenda
8. First Reading
Dave Fieldman, Village Manager, said there are three items on tonight's first reading and he would be taking them out of order to accommodate a special guest. He began with Item C, the motion to accept the Downers Grove High Schools pedestrian safety study.
MOT 2019-8495 - C. Motion: Accept the Downers Grove High Schools Pedestrian Safety Study
Mr. Fieldman said this project has been ongoing and a partnership between School District 99 and the Village. Mr. Fieldman introduced Dr. Hank Thiele, District 99 Superintendent.
Dr. Thiele, District 99 Superintendent, thanked the Council for all that has been done with regard to this matter. He said next week marks a year ago that Beth Dunlap was struck and killed in front of North High. Since that time they have worked to remember Beth for her life, not her death. This matter is an essential part of that work to make sure no other student is ever hurt. There have been many moments of silence in the last year related to this. He has used those moments to reflect and to check in to make sure he is doing everything he can to make sure all students are safe, especially as it relates to pedestrian safety. This proposal addresses many of the concerns directly around the school and throughout the community. It was a great community engagement process. He said the Village has been very responsive over the last year. Within days following the accident there were frequent meetings on a regular basis to discuss what could be done immediately to support students and their families and to make sure this does not disappear. The Village has stuck with District 99 over the last year in partnering and bringing in consultants, meeting with parents and students as well as residents, and listening to ideas and taking them seriously. He said tonight the Council will see the outcomes from the public engagement process. The School Board is looking seriously at the recommendations that impact District 99 properties. He said they look forward to being continuing partners with the Village. He thanked the Council and staff for all the time and efforts spent to make our community better. One of the things he continues to say is that the unfortunate part of this work is that you will never know what difference you have had. We have to trust the work and trust that what we are doing is right.
Mr. Fieldman thanked Dr. Thiele for his heartfelt introduction. He said they started safety enhancements over the summer in front of and around both schools. Those enhancements included message boards encouraging safe driving and pedestrian behaviors in front of both schools, speed limit reductions, the creation of school zones and the approval of the installation of a traffic signal near South High at 63rd and Springside. These were improvements that were made right away in response to community input and were in place before the school year started. The installation of the traffic signal will be done in the coming months. After extensive public engagement, Mr. Fieldman said the consultant, Sam Schwartz Consulting, identified several recommendations at both high schools to achieve the goal of improving pedestrian and vehicular safety. He summarized the numerous recommendations. They include reducing speed limits and providing permanent speed feedback signs around South High. The next is moving to install a traffic signal with pedestrian crosswalks at the intersection of Main Street and Oxford. There has been considerable community input with regard to this and it has been an ongoing discussion. Staff feels it is right to proceed and approach the County as to what can be done on a street they control. Staff will put significant resources behind this recommendation. Other recommendations that would affect South High include a vehicle access driveway, drop-off lanes, consolidation of driveways, construction of curb extensions and modifications of intersections around the school to make it safer for people to cross streets and for cars to interact with pedestrians at those locations. This has been a thorough job and there are some bold recommendations.
Mr. Fieldman then highlighted recommendations around North High. They include converting Main Street for the stretch in front of North High from four travel lanes down to three, with one travel lane in each direction and a series of protected turn lanes in the middle lane and islands that would be safe for pedestrians to stand in so they cross only one lane at a time. This would also have the effect of getting traffic to flow at speeds similar to the posted speed limits. The pedestrian refuge islands and crosswalks would work in tandem with the recommendation of changing the lane configuration. Other recommendations include turn lanes, curb extensions, street lighting, etc. He highlighted the recommendation of completing complete sidewalk networks around the schools. This recommendations specifically targets Saratoga and Sherman near the practice fields at North High. He said there was a robust list of enhancements.
Regarding next steps, Mr. Fieldman said the first step is asking the Village Council to accept this report and refer it to the Transportation and Parking (TAP) Commission where staff would work with representatives from the school district and TAP to create a multi-year work plan, budgets and priority work orders. There would also be opportunities for neighborhood meetings, etc. The next time the Council and community would see recommendations would probably be later this year, at the earliest, with a focus on the 2021 budget.
Mr. Fieldman thanked the Village staff, Dr.Thiele, and the District 99 team. He said it has been a great partnership so far and he expects that the partnership will continue to focusing on pedestrian safety for many years.
Commissioner Kulovany thanked staff for the thorough process. He noted it was open to the public at both North and South High. Parents and stakeholders most affected got a chance to be in the front lines with respect to the recommendations. He said people ask why these things cannot be done faster. Commissioner Kulovany said sometimes you do things fast, and sometimes you do them right. This has had the right sense of urgency around it.
Commissioner Hosé also thanked District 99 for being such a tremendous partner in this. Village staff has been very complimentary of Dr. Thiele and his staff. The only way to do this right is to truly be partners in this. He said he looks forward to hearing what TAP has to say and the feedback from the community in making sure we keep the areas around our schools safe.
Mayor Barnett thanked Dr. Thiele for attending tonight's meeting. He said Council appreciates the comments about staff and have heard from our staff that the district has been helpful and creative and thoughtful, and wants to be a partner in this. He also thanked the community including students, online comments and attendance at meetings. He said we are better if we do this together.
Mr. Fieldman said Sam Schwartz Consulting did an excellent job, specifically Stacey Meekins and Kelly Conolly.
MOT 2019-8492 - A. Motion: Award $224,928.00 to Volt Electric, Inc., Big Rock, Illinois, for Installation of the Fairview Parking Lot Lighting
Mr. Fieldman re-introduced the Village's new Public Works Director and returning teammate, Andy Sikich.
Andy Sikich, Director, Public Works, said the existing streetlights in the Fairview Business District are in need of replacement. They are deteriorated and replacement parts are no longer available. The scope of the project includes the full replacement of all the decorative streetlights in the Fairview Business District between Maple Avenue and 2nd Street. In September 2019 the Village was awarded a $90,000 grant from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) for the replacement of the streetlights in this area. The scope of the work outlined in the grant has to be completed by June 30, 2020. To comply with the deadline, the Village identified 16 lights in and around the Fairview train station and in the parking lot that can be replaced by June 30. The remaining 26 street lights are identified to be replaced as a capital project in the future. Mr. Sikich showed a photo of a decorative streetlight that would be placed along the rear of the platform of the train station. It is the same light that is in front of Village Hall. He showed an example of the parking lot lights which are LED lights and are very efficient and provide excellent lighting. These lights are used at the Belmont train station and in Lot D. He showed the location of the installation of these lights. This will provide a better level of lighting for the people in the parking lot.
Commissioner Earl thanked staff for this. She has been advocating for lights in the Fairview Business District for a long time. This is a great start and she is looking forward to doing more than this. She knows there is more intensive work needed with respect to the streetlights that are left. The sooner this can be done, the better. She is thrilled to see this going forward. She asked that this be done as soon as possible.
Mayor Barnett welcomed Mr. Sikich and said he was glad he is here.
ORD 2019-8440 - B. Ordinance: Authorize a Special Use for 5207 Main Street to Permit a Medical Office Use
Stan Popovich, Director, Community Development, said this is a request for a special use for a medical office at 5207 Main Street. He showed the location of the property in the downtown, on the east side of the intersection of Main Street and Grove Street. It is configured with a one-story office building on the north side and a parking lot on the south side. He showed the petitioner's site plan. The petitioner is proposing to modify the building to have four entrances. The medical building will be on the southwest corner of the property. The petitioner is proposing significant landscape improvements in the parking lot and adjacent to the building. Parking islands and green space is proposed in the parking lot as well as landscaping along the south side of the building. He described changes being proposed on the west side of the building. Four public benches will also be provided. With regard to pedestrian connections, there will be a new dedicated sidewalk on the south side of the building to connect Main Street to the Village's parking garage. He showed a slide of the existing parking lot. Some additional landscaping is being proposed that will separate and buffer the cars from the sidewalk. He also discussed lighting, fencing and some street trees for that portion of the parking lot. He showed a slide of the southwest corner of the existing building. The proposal is to change the appearance of the building. He showed a slide of the proposed building and described its features. The northwest corner of the building would include different wall materials and landscaping.
With regard to the Downtown Business Design Guidelines, different materials are proposed to be used as well as architectural variation and roof line articulation. The proposal includes a unique architectural feature, windows along the Main Street façade, and additional landscaping and pedestrian amenities. A bike rack will be on the southeast corner of the building.
With regard to the Comprehensive Plan, this is a downtown key focus area. The downtown focus area concepts include a reduction in asphalt, a development that is pedestrian-oriented, promotes a diverse mix of uses, and promotes shared parking arrangements. The proposed development is consistent with the intent of the Comprehensive Plan.
The Plan Commission found that the standards for a special use were met and they recommended approval of the petition.
Commissioner Kulovany said he was impressed with the changes made to this petition. It is exciting and gratifying to see that input from the Plan Commission and the Council are in the plans. He is more excited about this than he was before. He thinks it is a good investment in downtown. He asked about the windows on the front of the building and whether that would be a lobby.
David Hene said he is the representative of the owner of the property. He introduced Christos Geannopoulos with DuPage Medical Group and Kent Rehmer, the architect. Mr. Hene thanked the Council and the Plan Commission for their time and input. He said they are very excited about the project and bringing DuPage Medical Group to the property.
Kent Rehmer, Eckenhoff Saunders Architects, said the floorplan inside the building has been rearranged such that there will be a lobby space and a waiting room immediately beyond the entrance in the front.
Commissioner Kulovany asked if the lights would be kept on after hours and in the evenings.
Mr. Rehmer said often 50% of the waiting room lights are on overnight. Lights in most public areas have to be on for emergencies.
Commissioner Kulovany asked about ground lighting in front of the parking lot.
Mr. Rehmer said there are several streetlights along the sidewalk, but it will be supplemented with additional illumination.
Commissioner Kulovany said this will be more walkable. The concern is the Comprehensive Plan talks about a street wall, but the Village does not own the property. This is a great improvement. People walking southbound will realize there are shops south of Ballydoyle.
Commissioner Sadowski-Fugitt said she is impressed with the work that has been done. She said it is important to remember that if we want an urban feel for our downtown, we need not only goods, but also services. She said it is necessary to have a medical building in our downtown if we want to have more of an urban feel to attract people to our downtown. There will be people that will continue to have lunch and participate in some of our businesses as well. She is impressed with the level of work that has gone into responding to feedback from residents, the Plan Commission and Council. This building is an enormous improvement and will look beautiful. She appreciates the thought that has gone into the lighting and the landscaping. She appreciates the work and time that's been put into this.
Commissioner Walus said she is pleased with the final product. She said she appreciated the petitioner's willingness to work on issues like benches, bushes, etc. She also appreciates that the public will be able to use the parking lot after hours. That is a huge benefit to our residents.
Commissioner Earl said this was not what was envisioned for this space when the Comprehensive Plan was written. It was not what was expected, but it is far better than what is there and far better than what was originally before the Plan Commission. The north wall runs along the pedestrian walkway that goes to the parking deck. She noted that Ballydoyle changed the look of the building as one walks down that walkway and it looks inviting. Because it is so unique and inviting on the Ballydoyle side, she said she would like to see that reflected a little more on the north side of this building for the people walking up and down that alleyway. She thanked the petitioner for working with the Village.
Commissioner Hosé echoed the comments made. This is a tremendous improvement. He thanked DuPage Medical Group for investing in Downers Grove. The comment he's heard from the community has to do with the loss of the pharmacy that is there. He said he wished Michael Cassa heard this in order to keep the idea in his head that it would be a good idea to try to find another place for the pharmacy.
Mr. Hene said with respect to the pharmacy, the pharmacist has chosen to relocate outside of Downers Grove. He has made the decision to relocate. They are happy to keep him in the building as long as they can until he gets his proper licensing in his new location.
Mayor Barnett said he is excited this is going forward. Access to health care is important and access is having it in a convenient location. This is a real benefit to our community and our downtown. He said he agrees with Commissioner Earl about the north wall. He said the petitioner has done a fantastic job of helping our downtown realize the community street doesn't end at the Ballydoyle line and he is thankful for that. But the walkway Commissioner Earl mentioned is traversed all the time especially when there are events.
Mr. Hene spoke to the challenges to the north wall. The finished floor is higher than the sidewalk so there is no opportunity for a door. Most of the wall is exam rooms. There may be some administrative offices where something could be done.
Commissioner Kulovany asked about a Hollywood façade with nothing behind it.
Mayor Barnett said the Council is glad the petitioner is here and appreciates the work they have done with our staff to put together a project we will all be proud of
Jim Watson said Naperville has done murals on a plain brick wall. This might be an option.
9. Manager's Report
10. Attorney's Report
Pursuant to Section 2.5 of the Downers Grove Municipal Code, the following are presented for Village Council consideration:
1. An ordinance authorizing a special use for 5207 Main Street to permit a medical office use.
11. Mayor and Council Member Reports
Commissioner Earl thanked the Noon Lions Club for inviting her to their meeting today.
Commissioner Hosé said this meeting was a tour of what the Village does - an EDC presentation, projects from Community Development and Public Works, and a tremendous partnership with District 99.
Commissioner Kulovany thanked the Village on behalf of the Downers Grove Historical Society for last Wednesday's historic dedication of the Dickie firehouse, the original firehouse. Our firefighters attended and the Chief did a wonderful presentation.
Commissioner Walus said the Village Council is a proud sponsor of District 99 Education Foundation's 7th annual pizza wars fundraiser. It is a delicious event. It will be held Thursday February 27, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the South High cafeteria. Tickets can be purchased at d99ef.org/pizzawars2020 for $10 or $15 at the door.
Mayor Barnett once again welcomed Andy Sikich to the staff.
Mayor Barnett asked for a motion to adjourn into Executive Session.
Motion: Commissioner Hosé moved to adjourn into Executive Session pursuant to Section 2(c)(2) of the Illinois Open Meetings Act to consider collective negotiating matters between the Village and its employees and their representatives; and pursuant to Section 2(c)(5) of the Illinois Open Meetings Act to consider the purchase or lease of real property for the use of the Village or whether a particular parcel should be acquired. Commissioner Earl seconded the motion.
Mayor Barnett declared the motion carried by voice vote and the meeting adjourned into Executive Session at 8:12 p.m.