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
President Bob Bielinski, Trustees Julie Wolf, Daniel Sullivan, Senta Plunkett, Kathy Dodd, Joel Kurzman, George Pearce. Absent: None.
Staff Present: Village Manager Timothy Frenzer, Asst. Village Manager Michael Braiman, Finance Director Melinda Molloy, Asst. Director of Administrative Services John Prejzner, Director of Engineering & Public Works Brigitte Berger. Other staff members were on hand to answer questions as needed.
Discussion Topic: 2018 Mid-Year Financial Review and 2019 Budget/Capital Improvement Plan Review (Presented by Molloy, Frenzer, Braiman, Prejzner). This meeting is historically the Board’s start of the budget process, though process started in May this year to plan for the projected sales tax revenue loss of $500,000 because of the impending closing of Carson’s at Edens Plaza. Presentation to Trustees included in Agenda and Meeting Packet: https://www.wilmette.com/download/agendas_and_minutes/committee_of_the_whole/packets/2018/08-18-18-COW-Packet-Financial-Review-and-CIP.pdf. Page references below are to the presentation, starting after Agenda in the above-linked document. Some highlights from the presentation and discussion:
Public Comment: None
Next Village Board of Trustees Regular Meeting: August 28, 2018, 7:30 pm
Observer: Mary Lawlor Meeting Length: 2 hours.
Present: Dodd, Kurzman, Bielinski, Wolf, Plunkett
Public Comment: None
Consent Agenda: Adopted unanimously without comment
George M. Pearce was officially appointed by unanimous vote to the Board of Trustees and seated. His term will run until May, 2019 when there will be four openings instead of three. Mr. Pearce was sworn in by Village Manager, Tim Frenzer.
Two ceremonies to honor police officers and a citizen were conducted.
1) Business owner David Zier and officers Leigh, Davis, and Parisi were lauded for their
efforts when they intervened to save a man who had a heart attack on the street.
The victim has made a full recovery thanks to their actions.
2) Wilmette Police Chief presented Detective Connor Cavanagh with the 2017 Officer of
the Year Award. Three cases were cited to document his exemplary service.
Cavanagh was instrumental in solving cases involving heroin dealing and identity
William Bradford was appointed to the Plan Commission. President Bielinski highlighted his 20-year service on various boards/ commissions.
Land Use Standing Committee Report: The board upheld the Zoning Board of Appeals disapproval of a request for a fence height variation and fence openness variation. Vote was unanimous.
Judiciary Standing Committee Report: The Board ratified the Holland & Knight Agreement with all board members voting aye except for Pearce, who recused himself. Mr. Pearce is a partner with the firm, Holland & Knight. They were retained in 2007 when Pearce was not a member of the Board. He has less than a 1% share in the firm and thus, this is a “permitted conflict.” The Village has no other business with Holland & Knight, aside from this one case.
Adjournment: 7:59 p.m.
Observer: Georgia Gebhardt, LWV Wilmette
Meeting observer: Georgia Gebhardt
Meeting time: 7:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Trustees present: Senta Plunkett, Bob Belinski, Kathy Dodd Julie Wolf
Trustees absent: Joel Kurzman, Daniel Sullivan
Citizen Comments: Resident of area west of Skokie Blvd. and south of Lake Avenue appealed to trustees to pay attention to that area of Wilmette. He said that they felt that the new Storm Water project does not meet the needs of their neighborhood and that it is important that all citizens of Wilmette feel like they are benefiting from the project.
The consent agenda was passed unanimously. Four candidates for commission positions were introduced: William Muno for Environmental & Energy Commission, Carmen Corbett, Historic Preservation Commission, Richard Brill, Appearance Review, Rebecca Boyd, Environmental & Energy Commission, and Benjamin Schmitt, Transportation Commission.They will be officially appointed at the next board meeting.
Also at the next meeting, the Board will appoint and seat George M. Pearce as the replacement for Stephen Leonard who has resigned.
After a few announcements, the board adjourned.
Topic: Discussion & Determination of Path Forward Regarding Storm Sewer System
Present: Trustees Kathy Dodd, Joel Kurzman, Julie Wolf, Dan Sullivan, Senta Plunkett and Board President: Bob Bielinski.
The meeting on April 17th followed a two-month Village-wide public education and listening initiative to help residents understand the challenges in managing stormwater during heavy rainfalls. The focus of the initiative was on flood damage in the section of Wilmette that is west of Ridge Road. In newsletters and during open houses, residents were introduced to the advantages, challenges, and costs of three very different approaches to reducing the frequency, severity and duration of overland flooding. A comprehensive review of the options can be found on the Village website (www.WilmetteStormwater.com).
The meeting began with a brief history of the engineering studies that led up to the final recommendations. This was followed by a review of benefits and limitations of each of three, divergent plans for relieving flooding. The task at hand on Tuesday night was for the Village Board to decide which of the plans best met the needs of the community and then to prepare official directives for the steps toward implementation.
Three final plans and estimated costs:
Plan 1: Sewer System Expansion - cost up to $108 million Plan 2: Sewer System Expansion & Stormwater Storage Hybrid - cost up to $91 million
Plan 3: Stormwater Storage - cost up to $60 million
Two questions served to frame most of the discussion for the trustees:
The issue of being fiscally responsible was a main decider... here is why:
Disadvantages/Potential Compensating Options for the Board’s Choice
Additional incentives for choosing Plan 3+ were noted
Call for follow-up
To assess the effectiveness of Plan 3+, trustees built into the request to staff a requirement to perform follow up evaluations.
The final directions for the staff were to do the following:
“Issue a request for proposal for preliminary engineering for all 3 underground storage facilities and design engineering for the Community Playfield/Centennial, upsize two relief sewer pipes to allow future flexibility to add on Sewer Expansion (Option 1), include green infrastructure as a component of the preliminary engineering design, have the Municipal Services Committee review public/private partnerships for green improvements, include in the 10-year capital improvement plan a study to determine the effectiveness of the improvements once complete and identify additional improvements as appropriate.”
Fiscal Responsibility and Faster Relief Drove the Village Board Decision
Trudy Gibbs - Observer
Wilmette Village Hall Council Chambers
Meeting started at 7:33 p.m. and ended at 9:15 p.m. and all trustees were present.
Steven Nectow of Old Glenview Road identified himself as a friend of a property owner in Wilmette [owners Robert and Rosa Levin] who is involved in litigation against the village and asked if the village would consider an out-of-court settlement.
Jeffrey Stein responded that the village had considered a settlement and rejected the idea. He explained that there has been 10 years of litigation. Mr. Stein explained that the village had reached out with a settlement in the past which had been denied by the plaintiffs. The village attempted to work this out, but the village isn’t going to capitulate because codes and ordinances need to be met.
Beth Drucker spoke on behalf of Go Green Wilmette to thank the village for sponsoring the 12th annual Going Green Matters event. She expressed appreciation for help from the police department, park district, the staff of Michigan Shores, and said that more than 1,400 people participated from 18 different communities. She said she received lots of feedback from other communities that appreciated it and thanked the village for its sponsorship and cooperation. President Bielinski said that the event makes Wilmette look very and that it is a great community resource.
A new ordinance to increase the minimum age to 21 to purchase tobacco in Wilmette was passed on the consent agenda. President Bielinski said that Trustee Plunkett championed the ordinance.
Reports of Officers President Bielinski declared the 50th anniversary of the month of April as National Fair Housing Month, proclaiming that Wilmette finds that decent, safe, and affordable housing is a goal of all Illinois residents.
Trustee Plunkett said that Wilmette now joins 14 other area communities in raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21. She added that studies show that 25% of tobacco users are under 18 and that 90% buying tobacco for them are under age 21. Trustee Plunkett explained that the ordinance includes vaping products. She said that there is similar pending legislation in the state, and that she received no pushback, only support, and that this might have been one of easiest things village board has passed.
Standing Committee Reports
Joe Johnson from Stantec presented a report on the stormwater action plan to answer some questions raised at the previous open house. He said that green stormwater infrastructure can reduce volume and peak rate of runoff, but that these systems are of limited effectiveness for intense storms. He said that if there were a 10’x20’ rain garden on every residential property in west wilmette, this would result in a 2.4” reduction in flood levels for a 10-year event.
He then explained that permeable pavement on one block of a residential street could store 38,500 gallons of storage. He continued that for the plan’s “option one”, 60% of the streets could be potentially restored as permeable. He said that a full implementation would provide less than 10% of the storage needed for the 10-year storm event and up to 6” of reduction in flood levels. He said that the savings from the resulting reduction in sewer size requirements would be offset somewhat by the increased cost in permeable pavement. He added that these permeable pavements are typically used in parking lots, not full width streets, and that their long-term durability is unknown.
Mr. Johnson then explained the usefulness of parkway bioswales, which are effectively roadside ditches, they would be decorative, and water would be detained before it goes into storm sewer. He then demonstrated some geographic and other limitations of using these, and added that the cost would be about $35,000 to $55,000 per block.
Mr. Johnson explained that green infrastructure can complement not replace traditional improvements. He said that significant green stormwater infrastructure elements could be included for an additional 5% cost to the project.
Mr. Johnson then introduced some additional stormwater plan options. He said that sewer expansion plus neighborhood storage would cost $70M to $80M as proposed, and that to get to 10-year storm protection would cost between $85M and $100M, which is in the cost range of option 1, achieving similar results but at higher cost. He added that the work could be phased. He showed another option with neighborhood storage plus full sewer expansion at a cost of $120M to $135M which would provide 25 to 50-year storm protection. He said that 100-year protection had a significantly higher cost.
He then showed a 20-year phased plan for neighborhood storage plus sewer expansion, where construction would begin in 2022 and complete in 2037.
Mr. Johnson introduced a 25-year protection plan with full sewer expansion plus storage, and said this also could be phased. He said it’s effectively “option one” and “option three” combined and showed a 30-year phased plan where construction would start in 2020 and complete in 2047.
This was followed by discussion about finances and interest rates, and how each of the options might affect the park district.
There was discussion about moving the proposed Centennial Park reservoir to Community Playfield. Mr. Johnson explained that locating the storage at Centennial Park would require at least 10 feet of wasted digging because of elevation. He said that Community Playfield is lower and offers more flexible size, shape, placement and wouldn’t need to be excavated as deeply, possibly saving $1M.
Mr. Johnson then explained why buying out flood-prone homes is not feasible. He said buying out houses does reduce local damage and create open space, but does not reduce flood levels. It was discussed that the cost of buying houses quickly becomes far more expensive than fixing the problems.
Truste Kurzman then took the floor to express his concern about phasing that a project that brings just 10-year flood protection that isn’t completed until 2027 or 2037 is not showing enough urgency. He said that 10-year flood protection comes from data collected between 1900 and 1983, and that climate change is upon us and what we’re experiencing is much more significant.
Second Public Comment
Denis Roberts of Lacrosse Avenue suggested a community-wide referendum. It was explained to him that citizens would have to drive this and that it could only be advisory in nature.
Karleen McAllester from Wilshire Drive expressed that she believes the community is frustrated that the 2009 study came up with many of the same options and cost estimates, and that much of the same information is still being discussed in 2018, leading people in the community to fear that nothing may happen to solve the problem. She added that much has been completed on the east side of Wilmette, including green infrastructure, and that the same level of work and protection now should be done on the west side. She expressed her support of “option one,” keeping it simple, stay focused on the original goal of 10-year storm protection across the entire village, along with green infrastructure. She said to use the infrastructure we already have, such as the pumping station.
Beth Drucker from Greenwood Avenue said that at today’s Go Green Illinois meeting they had discussed road construction and wondered if Wilmette is going to install permeable roads and parking lots so they could be used to collect and retain water. President Bielinski said that they had discussed this during this meeting and that these options are being considered.
Martha Hellender from Thornwood Avenue said she is an organic gardener and said she’s concerned about environmental issues. She said she has lived in Wilmette for 25 years and only recently learned that ten years ago the village passed an ordinance to create an environment and energy commission (EEC.) President Bielinski interjected and offered her the opportunity to be a commissioner. She said she would like to see the commission activated to do what it was supposed to do, which was to advise the board with more information and to address some of the questions that have been raised.
Joe Lunkes from Park Avenue said he has memories of former east-Wilmette flood problems and expressed empathy for the west side. He said has several brothers who are engineers and he suggested that the village use green solutions plus regulators and street berms, as well as remedial home improvements instead of spending $90 million. He said he doesn’t like how current sewer bills are computed based on water consumption and expressed support for fees based on impermeable surfaces. He then said he thought the most equitable way to compute fees would be by dividing evenly by the number of homeowner units.
Tom Scanlon from 10th and Chestnut and said Gillson Park would be a good test for permeable pavement. He then told the story of MWRD and Glenview buying and tearing down houses in Glenview. He also said that residents don’t know what impervious surface fees are and that the village should communicate this better. He said he feels this fee structure is the fairest method and is being used in St. Louis.
Karleen McAllester asked the village engineer to respond to Mr. Lunkes’s comments about storing water on streets. Ms. Berger explained that 10 years ago the village conducted a pilot study street detention by restricting inlets and creating berms, and the design engineer determined that the storm sewers were already so self restricting and the streets were already flooding, so it would only exacerbate the problem to design the system to flood the streets even further.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 p.m.
Submitted by Jeff Axelrod
League Observer: Trudy Gibbs
Present: Trustees Kathy Dodd, Joel Kurzman, Stephen Leonard, Senta Plunkett, Daniel Sullivan, Julie Wolf and President Bob Bielinski
Preceding the Village Board meeting, (26) 8th grade students from our LWV-W League of Student and Government Leaders program were paired with six Village Board members and five village administrators. The session helped students prepare for their roles in two mock board meetings in mid-March. The League is grateful to our elected officials, administrators and Wilmette Junior High School staff for the generous time spent with the students. The students stayed to observe the first hour of the Village Board meeting.
Topics Not Discussed
The majority of the issues before the board for the February 13th meeting were approved by consent agreement. Although the board and those attending the meeting had the right to remove any of the items for discussion, none were removed. Prior to the meeting, more than 200 pages of information about the items on the consent agenda were available for review in the online Village Board meeting packet.
The single item that was discussed involved a complex zoning issue. The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) had denied the applicant’s request. Their submission of the case to the Village Board was in hopes of obtaining an override of the ZBA ruling. At issue was a request to allow the retention of 1) an air-conditioning unit in the applicant's side yard, 3 feet from the property line and 2) a grill island and pergola in their backyard.
The complexities of the case resulted in over 90 minutes of discussion because: 1) all the items in question were non-conforming to Village code, 2) some of the work had proceeded without permits and penalties were involved, 3) the construction had taken place over a span of six years, and 4) the applicants were new to Wilmette and first-time homeowners at the time when much of the work had been completed.
Further complicating the case, the contractors who did the work should have known permits were needed and about the Wilmette zoning codes. Moreover, the construction was bothersome to a next-door neighbor.
The Village Trustees were divided between those who felt the applicants had not intentionally avoided permits and conformances and those who felt the law is the law and needed to be respected. They wrestled with their sympathy toward the owners mistaken understandings, the rights of the next-door neighbor and the rule of law. On the advice of the village attorney, the case was remanded to the ZBA for a fresh look because the case involved legal issues that could not be dismissed by the board.
Innovative Programs Introduced for Managing Zoning Issues
John Adler, the Village Community Development Director, explained how two recently introduced administrative practices have improved the processing of zoning cases.
The Village Board has asked Director Adler to give a brief overview of zoning cases prior to any discussion and to specifically lay out the issues that the Village Trustees are to address. This opening perspective helps orient the boundaries of the case for the Village Trustees, applicants and those in the audience. The intent is to provide a framework for the applicant’s presentation and a focus for the trustee’s discussions, thus shortening the time spent.
Director Adler also explained the Wilmette Zoning Board of Appeal’s Administrative Review process. Under the Administrative Review regulations, minor zoning disputes can be processed by the Community Development Department staff. For those applicants who qualify, the option has reduced the number of cases that need to be handled by the ZBA. The Administrative Review process also serves to reduce construction delays for residents. For more information about the qualifications for using Administrative Review, see pages 80-84 in the Zoning Ordinance posted on the village website.
Prior to the regular Board meeting, there was a chance to view the potential rainwater containment plans that the Board is considering. Residents had a chance to look at the drawings and give feedback to the Board. That meeting ended at 7:35.
The regular Board meeting began at 7:55. All Board members were present. President Bielinski thanked residents who were tuned into the meeting as well as those in the audience.
Allyson Haut, Co-President of the League of Women Voters of Wilmette announced that Rebecca Boyd, a member of the Wilmette LWV had been selected by the LWV of the United States as an observer to attend the 23 rd U.N. Climate Conference in Bonn, Germany. At that conference it was agreed that for the preservation of the earth, climate change needed to be addressed by local governments to safeguard public health.
Rebecca Boyd, LWV, who had been to the recent U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, thanked Trustee Wolf and Trustee Plunkett for attending the North American Climate Summit in Chicago the prior week. The Paris agreement charged local governments to implement plans to address climate change. She believes there is momentum in Wilmette for helping address climate change here.
The League of Women Voters of Wilmette announced they were pleased that two Wilmette Village Board members attended the North American Climate Summit in Chicago the previous week.
Kate Gjaja LWV, spoke about the League’s commitment to the minimum wage in Wilmette and that the League supports the working group that has been formed to study the issue
Trustee Leonard requested that that the adoption of the ordinance amending the Village code for signage at West Lake Plaza be omitted from the consent agenda. It was removed. The Board then adopted the Consent Agenda.
Trustee Wolf spoke about her experience at the Climate Summit. She talked about new ways of tech monitoring of climate change and its effects. She thought it would be beneficial for the Wilmette Village to sign the Chicago Climate agreement which includes cities both large and small. She spoke about the Greenest Regions compact and thought Wilmette might be interested in joining.
Trustee Plunkett reported that there were mayors from all over the world, as well as Chicago and many suburban representatives attending the conference. She thought perhaps Wilmette’s Environmental & Energy Commission could be asked to study how Wilmette could take part in this effort and that the Board’s administration Committee might study how Wilmette might benefit from joining the Greenest Region Compact.
Mr. Frenzer reminded people about the holiday lights recycling program at the drop-off at Wilmette Public Works at 711 Laramie Ave.
Mr. Stein reported that there were plans for a local adjudication system in for non-criminal, non-jailable offenses to be heard in Wilmette. The local system would have and administrative law judge hearing the cases, have better arbitration hearings for local disputes, be less expensive to taxpayers, and give people an option to avoid Cook County Circuit Court. It would be handled by the Corporation Council’s Office and would start in late March. Anything criminal, like speeding would still need to be resolved at the Cook County Courthouse.
A representative from the West Lake Plaza owners asked for approval of two current signs being removed and replaced with new signs which would make it easier to see what all the businesses are at the Plaza. The new signs would mean the removal of the use of one parking space. The representative reported that their tenants are in favor of this. After discussion, the measure passed with the minimum votes. Voting “no” were Trustees Dodd, Kurzman, and Leonard.
After the presentation by the representative of the owner of 3110 Hill Lane who detailed the additional changes that were planned for the construction of a garage requiring variances. Trustees approved overturning the recent zoning board recommendation, but the final vote approving the project will be heard at the next Board meeting on January 9 th .
The last item on the agenda was a presentation by Artis Senior Living, which proposes a 3-story senior and disabled resident care facility on Ridge Road where the Wil-Ridge Plaza now stands. The planned building, as planned, would be 43’ tall instead of the 30’ current zoning. Artis estimated a doubling of property tax revenue for the property and has offered to donate $50,000 to Wilmette’s Housing Our Own. John Adler, Community Development, stated that any PUD (Planned Unit Development) building by definition must provide benefit to the Village. Trustee Wolf suggested a silver LEED building might help their case and was concerned about the lack of “green” space and landscaping. Trustee Leonard asked that Wilmette residents be considered first for the apartments. The Board postponed voting on the current proposal citing problems with the size and height of the building, insufficient stormwater control, and increased cost to the Village for emergency response. It was suggested that Artis return at the next Board meeting on January 9 th with plans to address the Board’s concerns
The LWV observer, Jan Barshis, left the meeting at that point around 10:00 pm.
Committee of the Whole Meeting
Storm Sewer System Improvements
All Board members in attendance.
Also attending: Village Manager Timothy Frenzer, Asst. Village Manager Mike Braiman, Director of Engineering and Public Works Brigitte Berger
The Board met to consider information about four alternatives under consideration for improving the handling of storm water west of Ridge Road. The meeting opened with over one hour of presentation and discussion of the financial considerations of the four options with Melinda Malloy. Ms. Malloy identified the improvements to the sewer system since 1990, other projected sewer system expenses and water system improvements, public safety pension payments, general operating expenses, and the annual tax levy increase.
Ms. Malloy discussed the use of bonds to fund the storm sewer improvements. Bonds could be repaid through existing sewer fees, a new storm water utility fee (as Winnetka and about a dozen other Illinois communities have implemented), or property taxes (not advisable as it is likely to lead to the bonds being downgraded and more expensive).
Joe Johnson of Stantec presented the four options under consideration for west Wilmette storm water relief. Those options include reduced cost options that the Board asked Stantec to investigate and present.
Relief sewer – most comprehensive solution providing for elimination of flooding for 10-year storm via new larger storm sewer pipes (8 miles of new sewer pipe).
95% structures/97% properties
Reduced relief sewer plus neighborhood storage – combination of less sewer pipe and underground storage in Kenilworth Gardens
81% structures/79% properties
Reduced relief sewer – reduced cost option that would install less sewer pipe in west Wilmette
74% structures/61% properties
Neighborhood storage –underground storage at Thornwood Park, Centennial Park, and the Community Recreation Center
71% structures/67% properties
Other Items of Interest: After approximately 2 ½ hours, the board opened the floor for brief comments from the public about the four options under consideration. Of the ten individuals who spoke, at eight stated they live in the affected areas. One person noted that the flooding in west Wilmette affects 1260 houses. Several individuals stated that the Village had done sufficient due diligence and that expedited action should be taken. Some residents and Trustee Kurzman noted that the storm water flooding streets and backing up into basements mixes with wastewater – leading to lawns, streets, and basements being exposed to fecal matter. Most of the speakers were in favor of Option 1, with a few in favor of Option 2. Several residents spoke in favor of the storm water utility fee.
The Board took a break at 10:00 pm – after public comment – and returned to discuss the options. The observer had to leave at 10:00 pm.
The full packet of materials is available on the Village of Wilmette website: https://www.wilmette.com/download/agendas_and_minutes/committee_of_the_whole/packets/2017/11-27-17-Storm-Water-Agenda-Packet.pdf
Next storm water meeting: December 12, 2017, 6:30 pm at Village Hall
Observer: Lisa Bragança Meeting Length: Over 3 hours – observer stayed for first 3 hours.
League Observer — Trudy Gibbs (via cable TV)
All village trustees were in attendance except for Julie Wolf
During the October 24th Village Board meeting, the major issue under consideration was the Loyola Academy request for special use zoning variations for the “Loyola Forward 2025” expansion. The nearly six-hour Village Board meeting included detailed testimony from consultants and Academy personal. Throughout the evening, there were multiple acknowledgements of the compromises and collaborations that had occurred as the result of constructive meetings with residents and Loyola Academy representatives.
Village trustees actively questioned experts speaking on behalf of the school as well as the senior officials who attended the hearing from Loyola. President Bob Bielinski also called on Village of Wilmette police and fire chiefs and legal and professional staff for their expert opinions on traffic and legal issues. Eight residents from the community stayed well beyond midnight to air their remaining concerns, largely focused on traffic and parking issues.
In the end, Wilmette trustees approved the special use zoning request for the first phase of the expansion in a vote of 5–1*. Included in the approval was an increase in the school’s enrollment cap that came with conditions (see below). The need for further traffic studies and review of future plans were also conditional parts of the approval.
Traffic Issues: A new traffic pattern was introduced that would direct vehicles coming to the high school to drop off or pick up of students to positions in the parking lot rather than along Laramie Avenue. The plan was well regarded as a viable step to reduce congestion. A new traffic study was mandated to occur after the first phase of the construction work is completed. This “look-back” study would evaluate the effectiveness of the new traffic pattern as well as the general impact of combined traffic for Loyola Academy and New Trier High School’s Northfield campus. The prior study was conducted on a day when New Trier was closed. The new study will be paid for by Loyola Academy but overseen by village staff and the traffic consultant.
Enrollment Cap: In 1993, the Village Board placed an enrollment cap of 2,000 students on Loyola Academy because traffic studies had shown that access to Lake Street was adversely affecting area residents. Enrollment has exceeded 2,000 on a number of occasions and became central to the objection to the expansion plans. The agreement conditions which are yet to be formally drafted require Loyola to agree to:
Parking: The trustees encouraged the Loyola administrators to promote car pools, public transportation and local offsite parking in public or arranged business lots to reduce congestion during starting and closing times. Issues with off-site private parking were discussed without resolution.
Stormwater/Green Space: Engineering studies suggest that flooding issues in the neighboring area should be improved with the new designs for the plan and the expansion should not contribute to any increase in residential flooding. One of the compromises worked out prior to the meeting was an agreement that Loyola Academy would forego plans to pave over two green fields on the West side of Laramie for student or faculty parking.
*Trustee Kurzman voted against the agreement stating that he supported keeping the current enrollment cap of 2,000. He was also concerned about the impact of an increased enrollment on the safety of students biking to neighboring elementary schools.