Dais Digest: What's Abuzz at Village Hall

Dais Digest: What's Abuzz at Village Hall

Phil_KiralyBy Village Manager Phil Kiraly

With the first day of school in Glencoe less than two weeks away, town has been sleepy as families are off fitting all the fun they can into these last few days of summer. Comparably, Village Hall has been busy as the Village Board and staff work through several important community projects. With so much going on, I thought I’d take time in this blog to give you a “readers digest” version of what’s abuzz at Village Hall. As always, I hope you take time to dig into these topics further and to reach out to my office should you have any questions or feedback for the Village Board or staff to consider.

Hoover Estate Subdivision Development Review Process
The Village’s Plan Commission is in the midst of reviewing a proposal regarding the property at 1801 Green Bay Road, commonly known as the Hoover Estate. As you may have heard, a local developer purchased the 12.1-acre property and has started the process to subdivide the property into 29 lots with new homes.

For many people, this process may be confusing. It is relatively long but intended to provide adequate opportunity for the Plan Commission, the Village Board, the developer, staff and the public to engage in dialogue about the proposal. Boiled down, it looks something like this:

  • Step 1: Initial concept meetings with Village staff and a pre-application conference with the Village Board: While not a necessary step, the Village Board held a pre-application conference with the Hoover developers given the magnitude of the proposed project. At this stage, the Village Board gave the developers preliminary feedback on traffic management, stormwater mitigation, historic preservation, environmental sustainability and potential impact on surrounding properties. Learn more: Committee of the Whole Packet | Committee of the Whole Meeting Minutes
  • Step 2: Submit Preliminary Plat of Subdivision for Plan Commission Consideration: While this might sound simple, Plan Commission review can truly be (and has been) an iterative process. In reviewing the preliminary plat proposal, the Plan Commission must take into consideration 12 subdivision standards (view them here), but other factors are also considered (e.g. historic preservation). Should the Plan Commission find issues or have questions, more than one meeting may be held to review the proposal with the developer (as is the case with the current proposal). The Plan Commission hosted their first meeting with the developers on June 26. Given their feedback as well as a wealth of input from area neighbors, the meeting was continued. Stay tuned, as the next meeting packet will be released next week, with the next Plan Commission meeting scheduled for Wednesday, August 28. Learn more: June 26 Plan Commission Packet
  • Step 3: Plan Commission Makes Recommendation to the Village Board Regarding Preliminary Plat of Subdivision: Based on their review of the proposal, the Plan Commission may recommend that the Village Board approve the preliminary plat of subdivision. This is not the final step in the process, however. If the Board chooses to approve the preliminary plat, it is sent back to the Plan Commission for its review of the final plat of subdivision.
  • Step 4: Plan Commission Considers Final Plat of Subdivision: In this step, the Plan Commission considers final engineering of the subdivision, including traffic management, stormwater management and other factors. Once it has completed its comprehensive review, the Plan Commission may forward a recommendation to the Village Board to approve the final plat.
  • Step 5: Village Board Considers Final Plat of Subdivision: At this point, the Village Board will take the recommendation from the Plan Commission, any additional community feedback, and decide whether to approve the final plat. If approved, construction may commence only after this step.

Again, this process is intended to engage the public as a proposal like this is considered. I encourage you to visit the Village’s website and read available materials, as well as participate in the public meetings that will take place in the coming months.

Local Regulation of Recreational Cannabis
As you may have read, the sale and use of recreational cannabis will be legal in Illinois starting January 1. While the State has passed several laws regulating this new market, local governments have significant authority to determine the time and place of the sales and in deciding whether to apply a local sales tax. With this authority, the Village Board must consider whether the sale of recreational cannabis should be allowed in Glencoe. While no formal decision has been made, the topic was discussed at the August 15 Committee of the Whole meeting and based on that discussion, the Village Board is preliminarily interested in allowing sales in the Village’s existing business districts. Before making a formal decision, they have requested that Village staff prepare a list of potential local regulations for discussion next month. Once they give feedback on those considerations, the process of adopting local regulations will begin with the modifying the Village’s zoning code. Tentatively, the Zoning Commission will host a Public Hearing on the topic as early as October. Should you like to give input, please share that with my office by e-mailing us at info@villageofglencoe.org. Learn more: August 15 Committee of the Whole Packet

Community Solar Pilot Program
As championed by the Sustainability Task Force, the Village has been actively pursuing and supporting green energy in Glencoe. This is evidenced by the steps the Village took to earn a SolSmart Bronze designation from the U.S. Department of Energy, illustrating our commitment to making solar development easier for community members. I’m excited to announce that the Village is on track to participate in the first Community Solar program in the State! Community solar is a new concept for Illinois – incentives were made possible as part of the Future Energy Jobs Act in 2016 and the Illinois Power Agency just awarded renewable energy credits in April of this year. Essentially the program allows subscribers to offset all or a portion of their electricity consumption with green energy generated by a shared Community Solar facility. In return for subscribing to Community Solar, the local utility (read ComEd) awards the subscriber an on-bill credit which is then split with the Community Solar facility so they can stay operational. While most of Community Solar facilities are pre-construction, a facility in South Elgin is already operational and is ready to start accepting subscribers. The Village Board’s direction for the Village to subscribe to the South Elgin Community Solar facility means that starting later this fall, we’ll begin off-setting about 10% of the Village’s energy load for municipal accounts (e.g. Village Hall, the Public Works Garage, street lights, etc.) with green energy. Later, through a Community Solar Clearinghouse Solution program sponsored by the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, we hope to subscribe to other Community Solar facilities and off-set up to 22% of our energy load. I look forward to seeing solar and other green energy grow in Glencoe! Learn more: August 15 Village Board Packet

Tudor Court Street and Streetscape Improvements
If you haven’t already heard, some big improvements are coming to Tudor Court. In addition to resurfacing the street itself, the Village Board has approved a project to improve the entire streetscape on the corridor, including reconstructing the brick paver sidewalks, creating a safer drop-off for Writers Theatre patrons, installing pedestrian level lighting, creating meeting places through seating and benches and terminating Glencoe Drive to allow for an expansion of the park east of Writers Theatre. If this sounds like a monumental project – it is! As an outgrowth of the Downtown Plan, the project has been in the planning stages for over two years. As of the August 15 Village Board meeting, we have awarded a construction contract for the project. You can expect construction to start early next spring, with the final touches taking the project through early July 2020. Stay tuned as we communicate anticipated project impacts to local businesses and area residents early next year. Learn more: Tudor Court Project Page

Community Survey
While the Village makes strides to actively involve residents at every level of decision-making, we periodically look to your feedback in community surveys to help make sure that we’re on the right track. At the August 15 Committee of the Whole meeting, the Village Board helped staff fine-tune an updated community-wide survey that will hit your mailbox and be available online in mid-September. I hope that you take time to complete the survey once it’s live so that we can make sure your priorities are reflected in the Village’s priorities. Learn more: August 15 Committee of the Whole Packet | 2015 Community Survey Results

Again, I hope you look into each of these topics further. Don’t hesitate to reach out to my office or the Village Board with your input. And enjoy your last few days of summer!