By Bob Balgemann


The requested change of zoning on property at 8782 Victoria Lane has been denied by the village board, even though there was no vote to do that.

Here’s what happened at the July 18 board meeting.

Village staff and the planning and zoning commission initially recommended approval of the requested zoning change from R-2, two-family residential, to R-4, multi-family residential. That revision would accommodate an increase in the number of duplexes from three units to four, or a total of eight townhouses altogether.

Planning and Zoning Manager Carrie Houston explained why the staff recommendation was offered. “We feel eight units on this size of a lot is an ideal transition between the denser multi-family zoning to the south, and the single-family to the north,” she said. “Up until 2014, this land was zoned R-4. This request just takes it back to that original zoning, But now we have design standards that restrict what this development looks like, more so than in the past.

“Of course, this development would affect the neighborhood more than if the lot were left vacant. But from a smart growth perspective, staff is in favor of infill development rather than urban sprawl. And we believe a moderate eight-unit townhouse development here would not be detrimental to the surroundings.”

She concluded by saying the applicant was present for questions, as were several property owners from the immediate vicinity, who wanted to address the matter. .

Before the meeting was opened to questions, planning and economic development committee (PED) Chairman and Trustee, Joe Seipts, laid out some basic ground rules. Remarks were limited to three minutes, speakers were asked not to repeat what already was said, and “if you agree with what has been said, just say you agree and return to your seat,”

Jerry Gibson, president of the Victory Lane Condominium Association and owner of property at 8634 Victory Lane, outlined some concerns of residents:

  • The road in front of the condominiums is private and it already has a fair amount of traffic on it. “There’s no way for us to police who uses that road,” he continued. “With further density there will be more people using that road, which is going to put an unfair burden on our homeowners to maintain and replace that road.”

Should the development be approved, current residents were asking that the village consider taking over ownership and maintenance of that private road, he added.

  • Current residents have not seen a site plan. There is further concern that the development would include three-story buildings, which would block their view of the Rock River and other parts of the subdivision.
  • He wondered if some kind of performance bond could be required “to be sure the development is done, and done properly”

More comments

In response to some of those concerns, Manager Houston said, “We can’t condition zoning changes. They are zoning map amendments, so even if the board was comfortable with the site plan, there’s no way for us to condition that the zoning change only applied to that site plan.”

From within the committee, member and Trustee James Kidd said he was more interested in seeing what the structures would look like.

But committee Chairman Seipts said, “We can’t do it that way. This is just for a zoning change and not for the finished product.”

Member Kidd said he would not have a problem laying over the zoning request to the August meeting. While Seipts said he didn’t have a problem with the delay, there still was no way for the developer to provide the committee with a site plan.

Village Attorney Tom Green agreed with that, saying, “If the site plan was shown to you, it would be subject to change. It could be completely different.”

The final comment came from committee member Jeanne Bailey, who said, “I’m familiar with the property and do not feel comfortable at all with what was being proposed, so I’m just going to vote ‘no.’”

Subsequently, the committee voted 4-2 not to recommend approval of the requested zoning change. Voting “no” were Trustee Kidd, member Bailey, Chairman and Trustee Seipts and member and Trustee Erick Beck. Voting “yes” were community committee member Ike Trickie, who made the motion for approval, and member Amanda Miller, who provided the second.

Without a positive recommendation, the requested rezoning was forwarded to the July 18 village board meeting, where it was placed under the “new business” section of the agenda.

This is a completely different setting than the consent agenda, a collection of relatively non-controversial meeting agenda items , which come here with positive recommendations from the village’s advisory committees and commissions. They’re considered together and voted on with one motion. Discussion is not allowed.

There was discussion at the beginning of the July 18 village board meeting, under public comments, as introduced by Village Clerk Robbin Snodgrass as part of her communications report.  Most were representatives of the applicant for the requested rezoning, 8782 Victory Lane LLC, beginning with Neil Kasicki who submitted a conceptual site plan.

“It’s your job to listen to the concerns and needs of the people, and to do the best for the community as a whole,” he began. “Their concerns revolve around their home values, safety and overall quality. I think we can all agree on that.

“We are proposing a density of one unit for 9,379 square feet of area. The area to the south consists of one unit per 1,800 square feet; our property density is far less. We are proposing to build on less than 32 percent of the land, including all the pavements.

“Tax revenue is less than $385 for the property. The estimated real estate taxes, after build-out, are estimated at $4,000 per unit, just ballparking it. Harlem School District (122) is currently the highest taxing school district in northern Illinois.

“Maybe it’s in Illinois, for all I know. The way you combat that is, guess what?, more people. The bigger the tax base gets spread among the many.” He added that the estimated sales price of each unit in their proposed development was $300,000.

Maggie Kasicki talked about the property being on the Rock River, and how every unit would have a river view. “That will make the sales price of these units go way up,” she said. “These are luxury units; they’re three stories.”

Two representatives of the neighborhood spoke next and mostly repeated what had been said during the July 5 PED meeting.

New business and the first reading of Ordinance 29-22, the Victory Lane rezoning, was next and it didn’t last long. Trustee Kidd authorized the motion to approve the request, which did not receive the required second. After calling for a second several times, with no response, Mayor Steve Johnson declared Ordinance 29-22 had failed for lack of a second.

Kidd resumed his discussion of the 8782 Victory Lane request under the public comments portion, at the end of the meeting. He raised five points:

“I would like to thank everyone for being civic during (the recent) discourse,” he began. “When people disagree with each other – me and Mr. Neil (Kasinski, applicant representative) had a heated argument after the meeting. We sat down; we had a great discussion and I would have voted ‘yes.’” had there been a vote.

“It is not my job or the elected officials’ jobs to figure out how one’s to pay for a project,” he continued. “It’s our job to make sure it’s fair and equal to all.”

“I’m interested in knowing if the mayor did sit down and talk with Mr. Neil about his project and what he had to share? Or not; I’m not sure,” he said.

“If somebody on the (village) board has a conflict of interest with the condominiums, they should share that, and have equal say, and then say, ‘present,’ because there is a conflict of interest,” he said.

“Our former administrator, Tim Savage, had this property and the board voted 6-0 to approve the exact same zoning improvement. That’s interesting to me that we would bend over backwards for a fellow politician, or staff member, but we can’t even have a discussion on somebody else’s project. That’s disappointing as an elected official.”

His final comment, he said, was he had talked with many, many people about pay raises. “If we’re not able to have discussion, we don’t deserve a pay raise, which was discussed at a committee earlier today. So, that’s frustrating.”

“Thank you, your honor,” and he was finished.

There were no immediate responses to what Kidd had to say and Mayor Johnson called for a motion to adjourn, which was made with the needed second, and upon a 4-0 vote with two absent the meeting was over.

Buy Viagra Overnight Delivery USA.