By Bob Balgemann


Mayor Steve Johnson is optimistic that the village and others will enter Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan on Friday. But that’s no guarantee.

In his bimonthly report to the village board on June 15, he said for the village to move from Phase 3 to Phase 4, there must be a continued decline in the rate of infection in new COVID-19 cases. In addition, testing must be widely available and contact tracing must be commonplace.

Phase 4, he said, is the “revitalization phase,” and the following changes are expected to occur:

  • Gatherings of 50 or fewer people will be allowed. Under current guidelines, only 10 or fewer are allowed to gather.
  • Bars and restaurants will be able to open with capacity limits in place, and under Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)-approved guidance. This includes colleges, pre-school through 12th grade schools, and all summer programs.

In Phase 3, bars and restaurants have been allowed to serve food and drink outside, if they are able to secure outdoor seating. In Phase 4, establishments can open for interior seating.

  • Personal care services and health clubs. All barbershops, salons, spas, and health and fitness clubs can open with capacity limits, and IDPH-approved safety guidance.
  • In Phase 4, all employees may return to work with IDPH-approved safety guidance. But employees are encouraged to provide accommodations for COVID-19 vulnerable employees. All manufacturing businesses can open, and retail businesses will be open with capacity limits in place.
  • Cinemas and theaters can open, subject to capacity limits being in effect. In addition, all outdoor recreation is allowed and all health care providers can open.

In closing, Mayor Johnson said while more businesses will be open in Phase 4, wearing masks will continue to be required and, overall, the practice of social distancing will continue.

Garage variance

Also June 15 the board, after discussion, voted 6-1 to approve a variance request for the size and height of a detached garage at 206 Sycamore Lane. Earlier, the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) voted 4-2 to recommend approval; the Planning and Economic Development Committee (PED) voted 3-2 to recommend approval, with members Erick Beck, a village trustee, and Ike Trickie, a community member, dissenting.

Staff recommended denial of the request because (1) no hardship was connected with the issue; (2) a building this large would be detrimental to neighboring properties in the residential neighborhood; and (3) the request only met one of six findings of fact, all of which are required for the variance to be approved.

Property owner and applicant, Alan Harrington, spoke at the outset of the village board meeting, under the portion set aside for public comments.

During the two other meetings held on his request, he said he agreed to get rid of an existing shed. He asked for a delay in construction of a driveway in the rear, from the existing garage to the new one, from one year to two. If it was necessary for him to get another special use permit after the first year, he said he would be happy to do so.

Later in the meeting it was requested that the item be removed from the consent agenda and placed under old business, to allow discussion. The proposed garage is 1,009 square feet in size and 17 1/2-feet tall, both larger than allowed by village standards.

Under questioning about the rear driveway, Harrington said he did not plan to use it all the time. He said the new garage would house an old Mustang and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. He planned to work on them and use the work as a bonding experience with his 7-year-old son.

He said he talked with all of his neighbors and that each of them gave him the “go for it,” especially when he told of his plans for the building. In addition, he said his neighbors were willing to sign a letter, stating they had no objection to the project.

Trustee Beck persisted in his opposition, saying the size of the garage was excessive and that approving the variance was precedent setting.

But Trustee James Kidd said he drove around the village and saw at least seven buildings that met or exceeded the village’s dimensions. “I cannot see anything wrong with this (request) whatsoever,” he said.

There was an amendment to the motion for approval, giving Harrington up to two years to put in the rear driveway between the two garages. The amendment passed, 6-1, as did the motion for approval, as amended, with Trustee Beck voting “no” both times.



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