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Village of Oak Park President and Board of Trustees met June 3

By Angelica Saylo Pilo | Jul 12, 2019


Village of Oak Park President and Board of Trustees met June 3.

Here is the minutes provided by the board:

I. Call to Order

Village President Abu-Taleb called the Meeting to order at 7:01 P.M.

II. Roll Call

Present: 6 - Village President Abu-Taleb, Village Trustee Andrews, Village Trustee Boutet, Village Trustee Moroney, Village Trustee Taglia, and Village Trustee Walker-Peddakotla 

By Phone: 1 - Village Trustee Buchanan 

Absent: 0

III. Consideration of Motion to Adjourn to Executive Session to Discuss Sale of Property

It was moved by Village Trustee Moroney, seconded by Village Trustee Walker-Peddakotla, to enter into Executive Session pursuant to 5 ILCS 120/2(c)(6) - sale of property. A voice vote was taken and the motion was approved.

V. Reconvene to Regular Meeting in Council Chambers and Call to Order

The Regular Meeting reconvened at 7:33 P.M.

VI. Roll Call

Present: 6 - Village President Abu-Taleb, Village Trustee Andrews, Village Trustee Boutet, Village Trustee Moroney, Village Trustee Taglia, and Village Trustee Walker-Peddakotla 

By Phone: 1 - Village Trustee Buchanan 

Absent: 0

VII. Agenda ApprovalVillage Trustee Walker-Peddakotla requested that Item L be moved from the Consent Agenda to the Regular Agenda.

It was moved by Village Trustee Andrews, seconded by Village Trustee Boutet, to approve the Agenda as amended. The motion was approved. A voice vote was taken and the motion was approved.

VIII. Minutes

A. MOT 19-74 Motion to Approve Minutes from May 20, 2019 Regular Meeting of the Village Board.

It was moved by Village Trustee Boutet, seconded by Village Trustee Andrews, to approve the Minutes. A voice vote was taken and the motion was approved.

IX. Non-Agenda Public Comment

Melanie Weiss. Ms. Weiss was opposed to various parking costs and asked for more information regarding changes in regulations. She also suggested education regarding what belongs in recycling bins, as well as advocating for a Visitor Center.

X. Proclamation

B. MOT 19-76 Motion to Approve Proclamation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Plus (LGBTQ+) Pride Month June 2019.

Village Trustee Walker-Peddakotla read the Proclamation aloud.

A member of the OPALGA board was presented a copy of the Proclamation and thanked the Board for their support.

It was moved by Village Trustee Boutet, seconded by Village Trustee Andrews, to approve the Proclamation. A voice vote was taken and the motion was approved.

C. RES 19-199 A Resolution Supporting the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program and the HOME Investment Partnership Program

It was moved by Village Trustee Moroney, seconded by Village Trustee Andrews, that this Resolution be adopted. A voice vote was taken and the motion was approved.

XI. Village Manager Reports

D. MOT 19-44 A Motion to Approve the Unaudited Year-to-Date Quarterly Financial Report as of March 31, 2019

CFO Steve Drazner gave a PowerPoint presentation detailing the YTD Quarterly Financial Report as of March 31, 2019. He summarized revenues and expenditures and noted that he will not see trends until the third quarter. He gave details regarding what percentage of revenue the Village receives for various taxes. Mr. Drazner stated that personnel and benefits comprise the majority of the General Fund expenses, adding that there are currently a great deal of vacancies. He reiterated that it is too early in the year to report trends regarding Enterprise Funds.

Village Trustee Boutet asked Mr. Drazner if there are any areas of concern; he said there are not.

Village Trustee Walker-Peddakotla asked to see actual numbers in future reports rather than graphs. Mr. Drazner stated that he can accommodate that request. Village Trustee Walker-Peddakotla asked for clarification regarding vacant Village positions. Mr. Drazner stated that there are currently 57 vacancies, accounted for in the budget. Village Manager Pavlicek interjected that this number has been reduced and is detailed in the Monthly Measures Report.

Village Trustee Taglia commented that expenditures in 2018 for the Water and Sewer Fund were quite a bit less than projected, despite the water loss. He asked for an explanation. Mr. Drazner stated that this was due to a delay in several capital projects.

Village President Abu-Taleb commented that if if those vacant positions are not necessary, the Village is not required to fill them.

E. ID 19-170 Village Manager’s Monthly Measures Report for April 2019

Village Manager Pavlicek stated that this report is for reference only and indicated the page number in which the personnel vacancy information is noted.

Village Trustee Boutet asked that an administrative summary be included, as well as data from the Clerk's Office as previously requested. In addition, she would like to see what goals are being met.

Village Trustee Buchanan expressed concern that some of the Health Department numbers seemed low. Director of Public Health Mike Charley gave explanations.

Village Trustee Boutet expressed concern regarding vacancies in the Police Department and Parking Division. Village Manager Pavlicek stated that it is due to promotions and resignations.

F. ID 19-161 Review of the Village Board Meeting calendars for June, July and August.

Village Trustee Boutet requested additional meetings to discuss the Diversity Statement and the method in which the budget is complied, among other things. Village Manager Pavlicek explained the schedule.

XII. Village Board Committees

There was nothing to report.

XIII. Citizen Commission Vacancies

G. ID 19-168 Board & Commission Vacancy Report for June 3, 2019

There were no comments.

XIV. Citizen Commission Appointments, Reappointments and Chair Appointments

H. MOT 19-75 Motion to consent to the Village President’s Appointments of:

Aging in Place Commission - Monika Robinson, Appoint as Member Board of Health - Timothy Halt, Appoint as Member Community Relations Commission - Glenn Brewer, Appoint as Chair Historic Preservation Commission - Aleksandra Tadic, Reappoint as Member

Kelly Benkert. Ms. Benkert, a member of the Community Relations Commission (CRC), opposed the "behind the scenes" appointment of Glenn Brewer as chair of the CRC. He showed little interest in the commission when he was their trustee liaison. She asked for an explanation as to why other more qualified individuals were not considered.

Paul Sakol. Mr. Sakol commented that there are two other applicants for CRC chair, and they should be considered.

Bruce Kleinman. Mr. Kleinman referenced the current division around the topic of diversity in the Village. Civility is lacking among leaders in Oak Park; leaders like Glenn Brewer are needed.

Maureen Kleinman. Ms. Kleinman spoke in favor of the appointment of Glenn Brewer as chair of the Community Relations Commission.

Erika Washington and Emily Masalski. Ms. Washington and Ms. Masalski are both members of the Citizen Involvement Commission (CIC). They discussed the work of the CIC and the process in which commissioners are selected for appointment.

Cynthia Martz. Ms Martz read the remainder of Kelly Benkert's statement regarding the diversity of the current Community Relations Commission.

Amy Dean. Ms. Dean described her experience on the Housing Programs Advisory Committee as following the direction of the staff liaison. The volunteers on the Oak Park Boards and Commissions are undervalued.

Cate Readling. Ms. Readling spoke highly of Glenn Brewer. However, she asked the Board not to appoint him as chair of the CRC and follow the request of the CRC and the CIC process.

Suzanne Fairfax. Ms. Fairfax stated that Oak Park will not live up to its promise of diversity if people continue to fear the words oppression, equity and others.

Maya Puentes. Ms. Puentes, a new CRC member, does not feel commission or community input is respected. She asked the Board to be more inclusive, transparent and collaborative with the community.

Cory Wesley. Mr. Wesley commented that the biggest threat to Oak Park is the divisiveness of and discourse shown by those who claim to fight for equity and inclusion. It is toxic and counterproductive to treat everyone who disagrees as a racist. He spoke about the qualifications of Glenn Brewer to chair the CRC.

Village Trustee Boutet spoke very highly of Glenn Brewer and feels he would be an excellent member of any commission. She also agrees with the commenters who noted that divisiveness is bad and keeps the Village from moving forward. She stated that part of racial equity is inclusion and part of that inclusion is going through the CIC process in order to participate in a board or commission. It is discouraging to those who want to volunteer to appoint outside of the process.

Village Trustee Walker-Peddakotla referenced public comments from a Board meeting in 2017 regarding the appointment of Glenn Brewer to the Plan Commission without going through the CIC process. She questioned what outcome the President is attempting to guarantee. She is not in favor of rushing through this appointment and further silencing the CRC. She urged the Board to listen to the majority of the comments tonight.

Village Trustee Taglia spoke about Glenn Brewer's qualifications and leadership skills. He can think of no one more capable of leading the CRC to bring unity and consensus.

Village Trustee Andrews spoke of his experience on the Board of Health and the appointment of a new chair without warning. He commented further on the CIC process

 and the Board's obligation to improve the process of choosing a chair. However, it is the responsibility of the Board to appoint the best possible candidate to chair a commission. He believes the CRC will benefit from having Glenn Brewer as their chair. He supports the appointment.

Village Trustee Buchanan thanked Mr. Wesley for his comments. However, she sees a group of passionate people on the CRC who want to move the Village forward in a direction that she agrees with. She is sure Mr. Brewer is extremely competent but she has no desire to stifle the efforts of the CRC.

Village Trustee Moroney stated that he is mystified by the attacks on Glenn Brewer. Racism is being used to divide Oak Park and is threatening this community. He urged residents to reject the negative narrative. The community should be celebrating the fact that such a qualified African American man is willing to lend his talents and experience to the CRC. He strongly supports Mr. Brewer as chair.

Village Trustee Walker-Peddakotla asked why the impeccable qualifications of others who went through the process are being ignored and suggested Glenn Brewer go through the same process.

Village President Abu-Taleb commented that his decisions, though not always popular, are intended to do what's best for the Village. His statutory authority as President allows him to appoint whoever he sees fit and the process is transparent. He spoke in praise of Glenn Brewer and asked the members of the CRC to give him a chance.

It was moved by Village Trustee Andrews, seconded by Village Trustee Moroney, that this Motion be approved. The motion was approved. The roll call on the vote was as follows:

AYES: 4 - Village President Abu-Taleb, Village Trustee Andrews, Village Trustee Moroney, and Village Trustee Taglia

NAYS: 3 - Village Trustee Boutet, Village Trustee Buchanan, and Village Trustee Walker-Peddakotla

ABSENT: 0

XV. Consent Agenda

Approval of the Consent Agenda

It was moved by Village Trustee Tagliaand seconded by Village Trustee Boutet to approve the items under the Consent Agenda. The motion was approved. The roll call on the vote was as follows:

AYES: 7 - Village President Abu-Taleb, Village Trustee Andrews, Village Trustee Boutet, Village Trustee Buchanan, Village Trustee Moroney, Village Trustee Taglia, and Village Trustee Walker-Peddakotla

NAYS: 0

ABSENT: 0

I. ORD 19-49 An Ordinance Waiving and Suspending the Village of Oak Park’s

Right-of-Way Obstruction Permit Fee and Parking Meter Obstruction Fee for the Construction of the Planned Development Located at 715-717 South Boulevard

This Ordinance was adopted.

J. RES 19-180 A Resolution Appointing the Village of Oak Park’s Authorized Representative for the Village’s Deferred Compensation and Health Savings Programs

This Resolution was adopted.

K. RES 19-181 A Resolution Appointing the Village of Oak Park’s Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund Authorized Agent

This Resolution was adopted.

M. ORD 19-57 An Ordinance Granting Authorization for a Supervised Public Display of Fireworks

This Ordinance was adopted.

XVI. Regular Agenda

N. ID 19-129 Presentation of the Public Health Awards

Board of Health Chair Florence Miller and Director of Public Health Mike Charley presented the Dr. William Fitzsimmons Public Health Award for excellence in public health to the following recipients:

Ginger Colamussi, OPRF High School Dr. Carlos Reynes, Integrated Therapies Wellness Center New Moms (Laura Zumdahl, Ph.D.)

They also presented the Johnson Restaurant Award for excellence in food sanitation to the following recipients:

Chipotle Mexican Grill, 1128 Lake Street Boss Burrito, 11110 W. Westgate Street Sagano Sushi, 731 Lake Street Lou Malnati's Pizzeria, 1038 Lake Street New Pot Restaurant, 727 Lake Street Penny's Noodle Shop, 1130 Chicago Avenue Buzz Cafe, 905 Lombard Avenue Na Siam Thai Restaurant, 6851 North Avenue Munch, 104 N. Marion Street Maya Del Sol, 144 S. Oak Park Avenue Sen Sushi, 814 S. Oak Park Avenue

O. ORD 19-54 Concur with the Historic Preservation Commission and Adopt An

Ordinance Denying a Certificate of Economic Hardship for the Demolition of a Contributing Residential Structure within the Ridgeland-Oak Park Historic District located at 1014 Pleasant Street

Village Manager Pavlicek commented that this Item and Item P are related. Village President Abu-Taleb suggested that they be discussed together.

Applicant Al Rossell defended his appeal. The new condo building he had planned after the denied demolition would be beneficial to the Village and consistent with the character of the neighborhood. He described how he will suffer a substantial economic loss of $250,000 if the Board does not approve his appeal.

Village Trustee Boutet asked Mr. Rossell if he had ever listed these buildings for sale. Mr. Rossell replied that he has not; however, he is realtor and knows what he can get for the properties and that the real value is in the land. The land is zoned for multi-family. He has had professional appraisals done as well.

Historic Preservation Commission member Noel Weidner addressed the request for demolition. The commission concluded unanimously that the properties are contributing to the Historic District and to the Village as a whole. They were also concerned that allowing this to happen would set a precedent. In regards to the Certificate of Economic Hardship, they concluded that the applicant did not meet the burden of proof. The conversations with the applicant revolved around how much profit or loss was at stake with the sale of the property. That is not the intention of a Certificate of Economic Hardship. Mr. Weidner described the definition of a "contributing property". He also stated that if one owner is allowed to tear down a contributing property, then others will follow. The character of the district will slowly be lost.

Village Planner Craig Failor further described the two Historic Districts in the Village, how they were created and how "significant" and "contributing" properties were designated.

Village Trustee Andrews asked the applicant to explain how he qualifies for economic hardship. Mr. Rossell stated that the appraisals reflect a fair market value of approximately $1.1 million as is. However, a developer offered him $1.3 million for the properties with permission to tear them down. He believes that the difference between the appraised value and what was offered by the developer with the buildings demolished represents economic hardship without the Certificate of Appropriateness for demolition.

Village President Abu-Taleb asked what would be allowed in that area if the house was destroyed and Mr. Rossell wanted to rebuild. Mr. Failor stated that the area is zoned for multi-family homes; he would be allowed to build a six to eight unit building. Village President Abu-Taleb asked Mr. Rossell the net loss he would experience without demolition, clarifying that he is doing this for financial benefit. Mr. Rossell replied that he would have a loss of $250,000. He clarified that one property is his current residence and the other is a rental two-flat. Village President Abu-Taleb asked Mr. Weidner if he would be as opposed to this if he had a guarantee that it would not set a precedent. Mr. Weidner said he would, as the potential sale price was speculative and thus a false comparison.

It was moved by Village Trustee Andrews, seconded by Village Trustee Moroney, that this Ordinance be adopted. The motion was approved. The roll call on the vote was as follows:

AYES: 6 - Village Trustee Andrews, Village Trustee Boutet, Village Trustee Buchanan, Village Trustee Moroney, Village Trustee Taglia, and Village Trustee Walker-Peddakotla

NAYS: 1 - Village President Abu-Taleb 

ABSENT: 0

P. ORD 19-55 Concur with the Historic Preservation Commission and Adopt An Ordinance Denying a Certificate of Economic Hardship for the Demolition of a Contributing Residential Structure within the Ridgeland-Oak Park Historic District located at 1018 Pleasant Street

It was moved by Village Trustee Andrews, seconded by Village Trustee Moroney, that this Ordinance be adopted. The motion was approved. The roll call on the vote was as follows:

AYES: 6 - Village Trustee Andrews, Village Trustee Boutet, Village Trustee Buchanan, Village Trustee Moroney, Village Trustee Taglia, and Village Trustee Walker-Peddakotla

NAYS: 1 - Village President Abu-Taleb 

ABSENT: 0

Q. ORD 19-31 An Ordinance Granting a Special Use Permit to Construct a Ten (10) Unit

Three-Story Townhome Development Located at 6033 North Avenue within the NA North Avenue Zoning District

Village Trustee Taglia recused himself from the Meeting.

Judith Alexander, representing the North Avenue District. Ms. Alexander spoke in support of the project, which will help revitalize the district.

Village Trustee Walker-Peddakotla addressed a lack of affordable housing in the North Avenue Plan. She asked if the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance needs to be revisited to include North Avenue. Ms. Alexander said it did not.

The developer's attorney gave an overview. The scope of the project is ten three-story townhomes with two on-site parking spaces each.

The project architect gave a brief description of the design.

Village Trustee Buchanan asked if there are any environmentally sustainable considerations in the plan. The architect stated that there is landscaping, and materials used in the structure are typical of what is being used in Oak Park.

Village Trustees Andrews and Moroney appreciated the size and the value of the project for that area.

It was moved by Village Trustee Andrews, seconded by Village Trustee Moroney, that this Ordinance be adopted. The motion was approved. The roll call on the vote was as follows:

AYES: 6 - Village President Abu-Taleb, Village Trustee Andrews, Village Trustee Boutet, Village Trustee Buchanan, Village Trustee Moroney, and Village Trustee Walker-Peddakotla

NAYS: 0

ABSENT: 0

ABSTAINED: 1 - Village Trustee Taglia 

R. RES 19-192 A Resolution to Adopt the 2019-2021 Village Board Protocols

Village Trustee Taglia rejoined the Meeting.

Village President Abu-Taleb suggested tabling this Item. There was consensus.

This Resolution was tabled.

L. RES 19-187 A Resolution Approving a Contract with Cerniglia Co. for Project 19-17,

Water and Sewer Main Improvements, in an Amount not to Exceed $1,482,683 and Authorizing its Execution

Village Manager Pavlicek stated that this project consists of replacing water mains and storm sewers on Austin Boulevard between Lake Street and Chicago Avenue, as well as a small portion on Scoville north of Roosevelt Road.

Kitty Conklin. Ms. Conklin expressed concern regarding the large number of lead water connections in the Village and the cost to replace them. She urged the Village to continue with their plan for replacement at the expense of individual homeowners and not the taxpayers.

Village Trustee Walker-Peddakotla asked for confirmation that doing this project now will save costs on repaving. Village Engineer Bill McKenna stated that is correct; the Village has been coordinating this project with CDOT for approximately a year. He explained benefits of doing this now and addressed options for homeowners to replace their lead pipes. Mr. McKenna also explained the process of reaching out to homeowners. Village Trustee Waker-Peddakotla commented that the cost for owners in this area to replace their water lines may not be affordable. She suggested that the Village do lead testing after the work is done to ensure levels have not gone up.

Village Trustee Buchanan acknowledged that disturbing lines can increase lead levels and suggested supplying water filters for residents in the affected area during construction and for a while after it is completed.

Mr. McKenna stated that the notification letter to homeowners describes that, and it is part of their normal practice to advise homeowners how to handle the situation. He added that this project affects a small area of service.

Village Manager Pavlicek suggested staff come back in two weeks with proposals regarding water filters.

Village President Abu-Taleb would like to vote on the Resolution tonight; the proposal coming back in two weeks would be an amendment. There was consensus.

It was moved by Village Trustee Moroney, seconded by Village Trustee Andrews, that this Resolution be adopted. The motion was approved. The roll call on the vote was as follows:

AYES: 7 - Village President Abu-Taleb, Village Trustee Andrews, Village Trustee Boutet, Village Trustee Buchanan, Village Trustee Moroney, Village Trustee Taglia, and Village Trustee Walker-Peddakotla

NAYS: 0

ABSENT: 0

XVII. Regular Agenda for Items Pursuant to Village Code Chapter 3 Alcoholic Liquor Dealers or Related (President Pro-Tem Trustee Boutet)

3, 2019 Village President Abu-Taleb recused himself from the Meeting and the following Item was presided over by Village President Pro Tem Boutet.

S. ORD 19-58 An Ordinance Amending Chapter 3 (“Alcoholic Liquor Dealers”), Article 8 (“List of Licenses for Each License Class”), Section 3-8-2 (“Licenses by Name and Address Per License”) of the Oak Park Village Code for the Issuance of a Restaurant Class B-1 Liquor License to Mancini’s on Lake

Liquor Control Review Board Chair Jane Miller stated that the LCRB unanimously approved recommendation for this license.

New owner Vince Pecora spoke about his background and desire for the project to move forward. He described the menu, which will include some unique twists on traditional items. Mancini's will be open for lunch and dinner.

It was moved by Village Trustee Andrews, seconded by Village Trustee Moroney, that this Ordinance be adopted. The motion was approved. The roll call on the vote was as follows:

AYES: 6 - Village Trustee Andrews, Village Trustee Boutet, Village Trustee Buchanan, Village Trustee Moroney, Village Trustee Taglia, and Village Trustee Walker-Peddakotla

NAYS: 0

ABSENT: 0

ABSTAINED: 1 - Village President Abu-Taleb 

XVIII. Call to Board and Clerk

Village President Abu-Taleb rejoined the Meeting.

Village Clerk Scaman stated that she was recently sworn in as Secretary of the North and Northwest Municipal Clerks Association.

Village Trustee Boutet has been hearing how difficult the new vehicle sticker process is and asked that the Village not enforce it until the problems are addressed.

Village Trustee Walker-Peddakotla agreed. She asked that ambulance fee collections be added to the next agenda.

Village Trustee Andrews also agreed. He discussed his meeting with Marc Blesoff regarding age related issues.

XIX. Adjourn

It was moved by Village Trustee Andrews, seconded by Village Trustee Boutet, to adjourn. A voice vote was taken and the motion was approved. Meeting adjourned at 10:27 P.M.

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