August 28, 2018
Present: Bob Bielinski, President; Kathy Dodd, George Pearce, Dan Sullivan, Julie Wolf, Senta Plunkett, Joel Kurzman, Village Trustees.Mike Braiman, Asst. Village Manager; Tim Frenzer, Village Manager; Jeffrey Stein, Corporation Counsel; Barbara Hirsch, Deputy Village Clerk.
The Village Board approved all items on the Consent Agenda, which precluded any further discussion. However, two resolutions in the list were of special interest to the League of Women Voters of Wilmette and merit some explanation.
Adoption of Resolution #2018-R-14 endorsing the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus’ Greenest Region
The Caucus links over 30 communities in the Chicago area in pledging to take action to conserve energy, protect air and water quality, reduce waste, and be a steward of natural resources. The project provides practical, achievable and meaningful strategies for reaching these goals. Under the resolution that was approved, the Environmental and Energy Commission (EEC) has been tasked with reviewing the compact’s goals and identifying which of them are appropriate for the Village to pursue.
Adoption of Resolution #2018-R-15 authorizing President Bielinski to join Climate Mayors on behalf of the Village.
Climate Mayors is a nation-wide initiative that was created in response to the June, 2017 decision for the US to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord. Climate Mayors is a bipartisan, peer-to-peer network of mayors that serves to provide leadership in the struggle to reduce the adverse effects of climate change.
To see more complete information, including the LWV-W letter in support of passage of the two resolutions see the attached pdf files that were excerpted from the packet for the 8 28 18 Village Board meeting.
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FILES.
Introduction of “Wilmettonomics” Marketing Campaign to Promote Use of Local Businesses
This is combined effort by the Wilmette/Kenilworth Chamber of Commerce / Village of Wilmette, business owners and community volunteers to promote a “Shop Locally” campaign. Signs have already appeared around the Village to draw attention to the initiative. Promotional messages on social media and in print advertisements will follow.
Land Use Standing Committee Report
Although several items from the Land Use Committee were handled by Consent Agenda, there were three requests for special-use variations that needed Village Board consideration. Under the rules of the Village Board, there must be five votes to override a Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) recommendation.
514 Poplar Drive
At issue was a request to build 4 townhouses on an odd shaped parcel in East Wilmette. Because of size and shape constraints, a number of zoning variances were needed to make the project meet all standards. The case was further complicated because the property had been on the market for many years without a viable offer to develop the parcel. Moreover, the property had become run down and a burden for adjoining residential property owners and the Village. Although the board agreed that technically the ZBA was correct in their negative recommendation based on a strict interpretation of the law, they voted unanimously to overturn the ZBA ruling. Trustees supported their decision based on 1) the strong support for the development from the local neighbors, 2) the many innovative and attractive accommodations that had been made by the developer, 3) that the townhouse would be owned not rented, and 4) the history of neglect and failed sales. There was general agreement that the proposed development would be a win-win for the neighbors and village alike.
Note: Several neighbors spoke in support of acceptance. No one spoke against the project.
1200 Cleveland Place
The owners of the property requested a variation to build three garages on their property in a fashion that would be least disturbing to an abutting land owner. To do so would be non-conforming and thus required a variation. The request for Village Board review had come from the ZBA with a negative recommendation. An alternative option to build one two car and one single garage on the property existed and would comply with Village code. However, this option was less desirable for both the owner and nearest neighbor. The Village Board was not persuaded to override the ZBA recommendation and voted unanimously to decline the appeal.
Only one neighbor attended the meeting. He had originally objected to the variation, but later retracted his objection.
1020 Forest Avenue
This was the most challenging of the three land use cases, drawing a crowd of supporters (estimated at 64) and dissenters (counted at 8 of the 11 homes affected). People with an interest in the case came at 7 pm and many stayed to the end of the meeting at 12:10 am. The case came to the Village Board from the ZBA with a positive recommendation for acceptance of a special use permit, but with a negative minority report based on an identified traffic issue.
At the heart of the matter was a traffic problem stemming from the number of cars and Pace buses that shared neighborhood space on Forest Avenue and its alley. Congestion was documented as a problem for neighbors as well as a potential safety issue because of increased traffic, blockage of the alley and back ups onto Wilmette Ave.
The property that is involved in the dispute is owned by the Community Church of Wilmette, but the source of the congestion stems from the activities of a tenant, namely Our Place. They are a not-for-profit organization that provides programming for developmentally challenged young people in space on the second floor of the church. As the Village staff became involved in identifying the traffic problem and trying to find a solution, they discovered that Our Place had not obtained a special-use permit to operate on the church property. This resulted in the need to resolve two problems, issuance of a special-use permit and resolution of the traffic congestion.
In the end, the trustees voted unanimously in favor of the approval of the special-use permit but they attached several stipulations to address the traffic issues. Our Place must:
-adhere to its traffic plan that aims to control and minimize traffic in an alley next to the church, where families and Pace buses drop off program participants;
-submit to a village review in six months of how successful the plan has been;
-limit the space it now uses at the church to the second floor of the church’s community center plus occasional use of downstairs space.
The actual wording of the ordinance will be prepared in a collaborative fashion between Village staff and the attorney for Our Place. Consideration will be given to the information presented by the traffic engineers, Pace executive, and neighbors who spoke during the proceedings.
Next Board Meeting: September 25.
*Note that the September 11 board meeting has been cancelled due to Rosh Hashanah
Observer: Trudy Gibbs Meeting Length: 5 hours and 10 minutes