Woodstock City Council met May 16.
Woodstock City Council met May 16.
Here is the minutes provided by the Council:
The regular meeting of the Woodstock City Council was called to order at 7:00 pm by Mayor Brian Sager on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 in the Council Chambers at City Hall. Mayor Sager welcomed those present and explained the consent calendar process and invited public participation.
Acting City Clerk Terry Willcockson confirmed that the agenda before the Council was a true and correct copy of the published agenda.
A roll call was taken.
Council Members Present: Daniel Hart, Maureen Larson, Jim Prindiville, Mark Saladin, Gordon Tebo, Michael Turner, and Mayor Brian Sager.
Council Members Absent: none
Staff Present: City Manager Roscoe Stelford, City Attorney Ruth Schlossberg, Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Paul Christensen, Public Works Director Jeff Van Landuyt, Economic Development Director Garrett Anderson, Building and Zoning Director Joe Napolitano, Assistant Public Works Director Tom Migatz, City Planner Nancy Baker, Grants/Communications Manager Terry Willcockson (serving as Acting City Clerk), Water Treatment Superintendent Will Smith, Wastewater Treatment Superintendent Anne George, Streets Superintendent Barry Pierce, Fleet Maintenance Superintendent Rob Lamz and members of the Woodstock Public Works Department.
Others Present: Transportation Commission Chairman Andrew Celentano, Cultural & Social Awareness Commission Chairman Bill Donato, Cultural & Social Awareness Commissioner Joe Starzynski, Old Courthouse & Sheriff’s House Advisory Commissioner Wendy Piersall, Opera House Advisory Commissioner Mike Levitan, Ryan Livingston/HLR, Jeff Young/MCDOT
A. Floor Discussion:
1. Proclamation – National Public Works Week
Upon the request of Mayor Sager and without exception, the City Council approved and accepted the Proclamation Honoring National Public Works Week 2017 and Woodstock Public Works Department.
Mayor Sager asked Public Works Director Jeff Van Landuyt and Assistant Director Tom Migatz to join him at the podium after which he read the Proclamation and presented it to Director Van Landuyt and the members of Public Works. Mayor Sager commended all hard-working Public Works Superintendents and staff on their professionalism in offering safety, security and comfort to the community 24/7, 365 days per year. He reminded the audience that we all take for granted the many professional services provided by Public Works, especially those that require attention in the middle of the night. He then invited all Public Works employees in the audience to stand and receive the audience’s recognition. He thanked them for their service to the community as well as their sacrifice in protecting and serving the city of Woodstock. All were acknowledged with hearty applause.
Mayor Sager further acknowledged the families of the Public Works employees and thanked them for their support on behalf of the City of Woodstock.
2. Proclamation – The Woodstock Independent 30th Anniversary
Upon the request of Mayor Sager and without exception, the City Council approved and accepted the Proclamation Honoring The Woodstock Independent’s 30th Anniversary.
Mayor Sager asked the founders of The Woodstock Independent, Publisher Cheryl Wormley and Graphic Designer Denise Graff Ponstein, to join him for reading of the Proclamation, and Ms. Wormley invited all staff members in attendance to come forward as well. Ms. Wormley thanked the Mayor and City Council for this recognition and expressed her pleasure at seeing the framed Norman Rockwell print of “The Four Freedoms,” which was presented to the City by The Woodstock Independent in honor of their 20th Anniversary, still hanging in Council Chambers behind the dais. She further commended her staff for their contributions, noting they reflected a community of people from high schoolers to octogenarians, and their families, like those of the Public Works employees, deserved recognition for their ongoing support as well. She stated her philosophy that The Woodstock Independent’s writers were not “the Media” or “the Press,” but rather Educators, and as such practiced journalism with a three-prong approach that was based on the principles of truth, balanced reporting, and community. The audience offered their approval and appreciation with applause.
3. Presentation – Raffel Road/Charles Road Roundabout – McDOT/Jeff Young
Jeff Young appeared before City Council to publicly announce McHenry County’s first roundabout is now being prepared for construction at the intersection of Raffel Road and Charles Road, just north of Woodstock North High School. While new to this area, numerous studies have proven that roundabouts move traffic safely through intersections with slower speeds, fewer conflict points and easy decision making. Insurance Institute of Highway Safety studies show roundabouts provide a 90% reduction in fatal crashes, a 76% reduction in injury crashes, a 30-40% reduction in pedestrian crashes and a 10% reduction in bicycle crashes. Construction will require closing of Charles Road between Greenwood Road and Route 47, beginning the Tuesday after Memorial Day. Extensive information about the detour, this project, and about the benefits and driving practices for roundabouts in general, can be found on the McHenry County Department of Transportation’s website.
A member of the audience asked why the roundabout was designed as a single lane not multiple lanes; the response was that the area is experiencing less growth, so the project is designed to appropriately handle the traffic needs at that intersection. Councilman Turner stated for the record that this is a McHenry County project, not a City of Woodstock project, and all questions regarding design, construction, maintenance and costs should therefore be directed to McHenry County Department of Transportation to be answered effectively.
Bill Bajtes, 510 Leah Lane, expressed concern about parking during the Farmers Market. He requested that additional Police Officers be available to address any parking issues during this popular activity.
Mayor Sager congratulated Councilman Mark Saladin on his recent recognition by the McHenry County Bar Association with their 2017 Distinguished Service Award. Councilman Saladin is an Attorney with Zanck, Coen, Wright & Saladin in Crystal Lake and has contributed throughout his career in significant roles with numerous civic and service organizations.
Motion by M. Saladin, second by M. Turner, to approve the Consent Agenda.
The following items were removed from the Consent Agenda at the request of Councilmembers or the Public:
• Item E-1 – Outdoor Dining Request – Rosati’s Pizza – by Councilman D. Hart
• Item E-8 – Ordinance – Re-Zoning - 333 E. Judd Street & 350 E. Church Street – by Councilman D. Hart
• Item E-10 – Sheriff’s House – State Historic Marker—by Councilman M. Turner on behalf of Friends of the Old Courthouse Board Member Julie Miller
There were no questions or comments on the items remaining on the Consent Agenda forthcoming from the City Council or the Public.
Mayor Sager affirmed the Consent Agenda to include items B through E-16, with the exception of E-1, E-8 and E-10 as follows:
B. Minutes of Previous Meetings:
May 2, 2017 Regular Meeting Minutes
C. Warrants: #3760 #3761
D. Minutes and Reports:
Opera House Advisory Commission Minutes March 2017
Department of Public Works Monthly Report April 2017
Opera House Monthly Report April 2017
E. Manager's Report No. 90
2. Ordinance – Change of City Code: Governance Section, Title 1, Chapter 5
Approval of an Ordinance amending Woodstock City Code, Title 1, Chapter 5 regarding Mayor and Councilmembers.
3. Ordinance – Change of City Code: Cultural and Social Awareness Commission , Title 2, Chapter 5
Approval of an Ordinance amending Woodstock City Code, Title 2, Chapter 5 regarding number of commission members for the Cultural and Social Awareness Commission.
4. Appointments – Deputy Mayor and Assistant Deputy Mayor
Mayor’s Appointments of Deputy Mayor and Assistant Deputy Mayor.
5. Appointments – New and Reappointments of Commission Members
Mayor's Appointments to the Cultural and Social Awareness Commission, Old Courthouse & Sheriff’s House Advisory Commission, Parks and Recreation Commission and Woodstock Opera House Advisory Commission, as well as Reappointments for Commission Members with Terms Expiring in 2017.
6. Grant Recommendations - Hotel/Motel Tax
Authorization of disbursement of $89,250 in Hotel/Motel Tax Funds to various applicants as indicated.
7. Ordinance - EWT Sign Variance, 1270 McConnell Road
Approval of an Ordinance authorizing variations of Section 13.7 and 13.8 of the City of Woodstock’s Unified Development Ordinance to allow the petitioner to display four permanent banners mounted perpendicular to the front wall of the building in lieu of a wall sign on the front wall and to allow the display of a total of 16 items of information on the property at 1270 McConnell Road.
9. Ordinance - Re-Zoning - Hutchins Street
An Ordinance Approving a Zoning Map Amendment from B3 Service & Retail District to B2C Central Business District for property located at 117, 123, 128 and 129 Hutchins Street.
11. Award of Bid - Annual Resurfacing Program & Engineering Agreement
a) Approval of a contract for the 2017 Street Resurfacing Program to the lowest responsible bidder, Plote Construction, Inc., Hoffman Estates, IL for the total bid price of $938,741.90.
b) Approval of the proposal submitted by Hampton, Lenzini & Renwick, Inc. to provide both design and construction engineering inspection services for the 2017 Street Resurfacing Program for an amount not-to- exceed $74,412.
12. Award of Bid - Tennis Court Resurfacing at Emricson Park
Award of bid for the resurfacing, and restriping of five (5) tennis courts at Emricson Park be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, Advanced Athletic Surfaces, LLC, Woodstock, GA for a total bid price not-to-exceed $24,980.
13. Rejection of Bid - Dream Field Fencing
Approval to reject the bid from Midwest Netting Solutions, LLC Glenview, IL based upon the fact that it is substantially more than the City’s approved budget for this project.
14. Ordinance - Temporary Traffic Regulations – Fair Diddley
Approval of an Ordinance establishing certain temporary traffic and parking restrictions for Fair Diddley on Sunday, May 21, 2017.
15. Waiver of Competitive Bids – New Pump Purchase
a) Approval of the waiver of competitive bids; and
b) Approval of the purchase of one (1) new Fairbanks Morse Pump for installation in the City’s South Side Wastewater Treatment Plant from the local authorized manufacturer’s representative, Drydon Equipment, Inc., Elgin, IL, for an amount not-to-exceed $11,292.
16. Agreement – Bull Valley Boundary Agreement - Continuance
Postponement of the City Council’s consideration of an Ordinance Approving an Intergovernmental Agreement Between the City of Woodstock and the Village of Bull Valley Amending and Extending Their Existing Boundary Agreements to a time specific of the July 18, 2017, regular City Council meeting.
Mayor Sager stated there were a number of items on this Agenda that he wished to comment upon. The first was his appreciation for Councilman Turner and Councilman Saladin to accept appointments as Deputy Mayor and Assistant Deputy Mayor respectively, as they were both very experienced and capable to fill the role of Mayor in his absence. He also wished to offer his gratitude for all community volunteers being approved tonight to serve in roles on City Commissions. Finally, he wished to thank all those in attendance tonight who came in support of Hotel/Motel Tax grant awards, as it is their hard work and creative efforts that bring more visitors here to enjoy these events and spend the night, therefore increasing the funds that can be distributed to our deserving organizations.
Councilman Turner commented on E-14, Dream Field Fencing, requesting that if the bids were too high for a proposal reflecting netting for 10 poles, Staff should try to get creative and propose a design for covering 5-6 poles to see what kind of bid response might be made.
Mayor Sager reaffirmed that E-16, Bull Valley Boundary Agreement, was being postponed until the July 18th City Council meeting to work through further details.
The Mayor then asked for further public comments on the Consent Agenda. There being none, a roll call vote was taken to approve items B through E-16, excepting E-1, E-8, E-10. Ayes: D. Hart, M. Larson, J. Prindiville, M. Saladin, G. Tebo, M. Turner, and Mayor Sager. Nays: none. Abstentions: none. Absentees: none. Motion carried unanimously.
Item E-1 – Outdoor Dining Request – Rosati’s Pizza
Councilman D. Hart recused himself and left the Council Chambers at 7:47 pm.
Motion by M. Turner, second by M. Saladin, to approve the request to allow Rosati’s Pizza, 1652 Eastwood Drive, Woodstock to serve alcohol incidental to food service under their A-2 Liquor License in the proposed, contained outdoor restaurant service area. Ayes: M. Larson, J. Prindiville, M. Saladin, G. Tebo, M. Turner, and Mayor Sager. Nays: none. Abstentions: none. Absentees: D. Hart. Motion carried 6-0.
Councilman Hart returned to Council Chambers at 7:50 PM. Councilwoman Larson thanked Rosati’s for their investment in this project.
Item E-8 – Ordinance – Re-Zoning – 333 E. Judd Street & 350 E. Church Street
Councilman D. Hart recused himself and left the Council Chambers at 7:51 pm.
Mr. Rodney Poore, owner of 333 E. Judd Street, passed out a handout to Council members showing visuals of his proposal to develop an events center from his building previously used for light manufacturing, pending change in zoning and meeting all subsequent required approvals. He felt there would be substantial benefit and interest from the community for this type of facility, to accommodate birthdays, graduations, Mother’s Day and other holiday and family celebrations. He stated people want to stay local for such occasions, and this type of facility would bring other people to town while serving local businesses such as hotels, restaurants and stores. He shared that manufacturing has diminished over the years and the building is no longer needed for this use, and he has not been successful trying to sell the building with the current M-1 zoning. He feels this would help the E. Judd Street area become a more attractive entry-way into downtown Woodstock and would create a chain reaction to improve other vacant and under-used buildings in that vicinity.
In terms of parking, the current building offers 28 spaces and he owns a lot next door that could fit another 10-15 spaces. He feels that 20-25 spaces are available on the street, and together, space would be available for 150 people attending events. He offered he could potentially use valet parking with use of the Aurora University lot nearby, and could consider purchase of the adjacent vacant lot that would hold an additional 50 spaces.
Mr. Poore then showed a slide show of the proposed remodeling and redesign of the 10,000 sf building. The high ceilings would allow for bouncy houses and he would add glass doors to both sides of the building, paver bricks outside, and incorporate an antique car and jukebox décor.
Building & Zoning Director Joe Napolitano offered a summary of different uses allowed in the requested B-3 zoning, compared to the existing M-1 zoning for this building. Through discussion that followed, it was determined that more types of uses presumed undesirable by neighbors could potentially be allowed in the existing zoning, and while B-3 allowed a wider range of commercial uses, each proposed use would require adherence to ordinances and development guidelines in place. Mr. Napolitano stated this request was not an approval for the proposed use itself, but merely a request for rezoning of the parcel. Mayor Sager reaffirmed with Mr. Poore that he understood this process, and that he agreed and acknowledged this rezoning was not approval to proceed with actual changes to the building, which would all need to go through regular Building & Zoning approval procedures. Councilman Saladin restated many of the uses allowed in B-3 versus M-1 as well as many types of uses allowed in either/both zoning designations. Councilman Turner reiterated again that if the rezoning was approved tonight, there would still be many approvals required before work could begin on the site.
Comments from the public were then requested. Thomas Berg, 406 E. Jackson, stated his concerns may be premature as they largely concerned parking for the proposed use. He felt this area was not conducive to handling additional traffic as it has no curbs, cars could block driveways and there could be safety issues with emergency vehicles related to the nearby Fire Station.
A resident of the neighborhood stated that the dual uses allowed in this rezoning were some of the most traffic-intensive. He felt the area was already saturated with parking needs and trying to accommodate up to 100 more cars was unrealistic. Mayor Sager responded that the proposed additional cars would be largely parked in available off-street locations and few would be looking for street parking.
Mr. Larry Martin, 346 Hutchins Court, expressed concerns regarding parking, traffic and alcohol use. He said the entire lot at Emerson Lofts is already filled and he anticipates issues with illegal parking. He also felt that unless existing traffic patterns were changed, it was unrealistic to view Judd Street as an entry to the Square. He then inquired if Mr. Poore owned the Jones deer processing building as well; Mr. Poore responded that he did and is considering taking that down along with the adjacent building, which would add to the parking area. Mr. Martin stated he thought the zoning change was appropriate, but questioned the need in the community for additional banquet space.
Ms. Estelle Mills, 210 Hutchins Street, expressed traffic concerns for the proposed use, due to emergency vehicle access, school bus stops in the area, driver’s education practice in the area, and the number of children playing in this neighborhood. She also cited disabled individuals who lived nearby and the concern for increased noise and lights. She said there were many accidents in the area already and the parking issue was larger than just this one building. Councilman Turner reminded the audience the discussion tonight concerned only this particular building and its rezoning. Ms. Mills felt the B-3 zoning opened up too many new possibilities and the neighborhood would be better served with more residential or a park.
A resident of the neighborhood stated that the intersection of Church and Seminary is already dangerous as the deer processing building results in bad sight lines and prevents the ability to see cars, which often only slow to a rolling stop, causing many accidents. Mayor Sager requested that Staff look at this intersection to ensure safety guidelines are met.
Mr. Randy Redman, 123 Hutchins Street, stated that the area used to see more traffic in terms of semi trucks, and the former businesses there were often eyesores, so he felt rezoning to B-3 was a good choice. Mayor Sager commented that while there were concerns with proposed parking needs, he did not feel the proposed use would be impossible to accommodate. He stated the Secretary of State Driver’s License testing sites were not under the City’s purview, but he trusted they would consider safety factors. He queried what the reaction would be if this situation was reversed, and the zoning request was made to go from B-3 to M-1. He felt there were many similar uses allowed in either zoning, along with special permits and additional reviews and protections involved.
Councilman Tebo opined that the parking would be addressed with additional site plan reviews and the building was not attractive for sale with its current zoning. Councilwoman Larson suggested the only thing that wouldn’t result in complaints would be an empty building, which is not desirable either, and she would prefer to err on the side of being business-friendly, hoping these issues can be addressed later. Councilman Turner pointed out that there is an increasing area of B-3 zoning in this part of town and it is not the City’s job to address the market for businesses, but he would like to see the site of the deer processing building included in the parking plan. Councilman Saladin said he had personal experience dealing with these kinds of zoning changes and felt that Emerson Lofts could control their parking lot and the parking needs would likely not be during the times the school busses were around. He noted we are not here to legislate free enterprise, that the economy will determine that success, and the request seems reasonable if parking needs can be addressed. Councilman Prindiville thanked those who spoke and Mr. Poore for his investment. He understood this is a change and the residents are concerned regarding whether this is healthy and good for the area. He mentioned the City’s Economic Development Director Garrett Anderson is currently working on a Downtown Development Plan and encouraged everyone to be part of that planning process. He felt the zoning was a positive change and all the property in the area should be reviewed.
Mayor Sager suggested a feathering area is appropriate to transition from residential to commercial use. A resident of the neighborhood inquired if the City could consider refining the current zoning designations so uses as broad as junkyard and restaurant are not in the same category. Building & Zoning Director Napolitano responded that the last time the UDO (Unified Development Ordinance) was revised was 2010 and it is time for that to be reviewed. City Attorney Schlossberg stated that broad zoning changes affect property rights and therefore require public notice and hearings and careful consideration.
There being no further discussion, motion by M. Saladin, second by M. Turner, to approve An Ordinance Approving a Zoning Map Amendment from M1 Limited Manufacturing District to B3 Service & Retail District for 333 E. Judd Street and 350 E. Church Street. A roll call vote was taken. Ayes: J. Prindiville, M. Saladin, G. Tebo, M. Turner, M. Larson, and Mayor Sager. Nays: none. Abstentions: none. Absentees: D. Hart. Motion carried 6-0.
Councilman Hart returned to Council Chambers at 8:53 pm.
E-10 -- Sheriff’s House – State Historic Marker
Councilman Turner deferred to Ms. Julie Miller, 695 Silver Creek Road, representing the Friends of the Old Courthouse Board of Directors. Ms. Miller shared that her Board was pleased to see the interest in the buildings demonstrated by the historic marker request. However, she pointed out that the text in question highlights the actions of someone who was incarcerated for 6 months, but says little about the building itself. She expressed concern that the text celebrates the concepts of Socialism and labor unions, and the marker could be seen as a monument to these ideals. She stated her Board felt this approach could potentially limit fundraising for the building’s restoration efforts.
Ms. Kathleen Spaltro, 143 Lawrence Avenue, and a Woodstock Celebrates Inc. Board Member, responded to Ms. Miller by saying the Illinois Labor History Society had asked to produce this plaque and she felt Ms. Miller’s concerns were misguided. She opined that Mr. Debs stands for more than labor and Socialism, as his case is associated with the Supreme Court and he is a significant figure in developing case law relating to freedom of speech. She admitted he could be seen as a polarizing figure to some and that will attract certain people; however, this is felt to be the most important marker proposed in the past 20 years and greater education about Eugene Debs is needed.
Mr. Steve Aavang, 320 Fremont Street, stated that Debs doesn’t represent a party or philosophy, but is important as a historical figure and this marker is adding to the importance of the building, not taking away from it.
Ms. Miller responded that she strongly disagreed, stating that it was the architect of the buildings that was the significant figure, given his prominence in his field and the pre-Civil War construction of the Old Courthouse.
Mr. Allen Stebbins, 508 Dean Street, stated he had been associated with the City’s Historic Preservation Commission for many years. He opined that Woodstock offers a number of attractions conducive to heritage tourism. He felt that since Debs was involved with Chicago’s Pullman District, which is now designated as a National Monument, this connection would draw people and create economic development. Ms. Spaltro concurred, stating there is no need to choose between two interest areas, as another plaque could be proposed to memorialize the buildings; however, the Illinois State Historical Society believes the Debs marker represents State and National importance. Ms. Miller pointed out that no one is “giving” us this marker, in fact, the request is to approve $2,700 in City funds for its production. Ms. Spaltro responded that while that was true, the actual revised cost is less than originally proposed, so the amount being approved is actually $1,500.
Mayor Sager commented that it is difficult when groups are splintered in support of these important buildings. He felt that one thing we could all agree on was the strength found in diversity of thought. He stated that history is dynamic and inclusivity in this instance is a positive. He felt another plaque could recognize the architect and the buildings’ significance, while this marker speaks to the dynamic nature of the court system and freedom of speech.
Councilman Tebo shared that he loves history, travels a lot, and is very supportive of learning as much as he can from these types of plaques. Councilwoman Larson reflected that art is subjective and isn’t easily done by committee. She would have perhaps done this plaque differently, in terms of size and wording, but she appreciates that the community came together to pursue this project. Councilman Saladin responded that the Mayor’s comments helped, but he was still concerned about any fundraising effect for Friends of the Old Courthouse. He felt it was significant that Woodstock had reason to be discussing a historical figure. Councilman Prindiville thanked Ms. Spaltro for her tireless efforts with this project, and shared that he had spoken to members of the Old Courthouse & Sheriff’s House Advisory Commission who did not feel this was a political statement, that it tied to the buildings and was a good thing.
Mr. John Daab, 143 Lawrence Avenue, opined that the plaque’s importance is a means of getting to know this person, Eugene Debs, as even his strongest opponents felt he was a good man.
Motion by M. Saladin, second by J. Prindiville:
a) To approve the historic marker with specified text; and
b) To expend up to $1,500 for the purchase and installation of the 250-word polycarbonate marker from the Old Courthouse Project Account (#41-00-7-729) within the Tax Increment Financing Fund.
Ayes: M. Larson, J. Prindiville, M. Saladin, G. Tebo, M. Turner, D. Hart and Mayor Sager. Nays: none. Abstentions: none. Motion carried unanimously.
Mayor Sager expressed support to recognize the architectural aspects of the buildings with another plaque and will work with those interested in this endeavor.
17. Benton Street – Pedestrian Friendly and Outdoor Dining Street Conversion
Councilman Turner introduced this discussion and stated he travels frequently with his career and in his observations and discussions with friends, businesses and residents, he feels there is tremendous opportunity for additional outdoor dining in Woodstock. He feels the positives for this can be seen with the Public House’s move to include the outdoor patio and certainly was obvious when La Petite Creperie was here as well. He would like to consider the Benton Street area for this dining opportunity, which would benefit at least three restaurants, including Main Street PourHouse, Mia Passione, and D.C. Cobb’s. The initial conversation with Staff and the Mayor would cordon off the west side of Benton Street from E. Judd north to Church Street. This would remove parking spaces along one side, but still allow traffic flow to remain. Concrete decorative barriers with flowers, and rope lighting between buildings, would add ambiance and attract folks driving by on Route 120 and riding on the train nearby. He would love to see this concept in place for this summer, encouraging Staff to see if it could be implemented by July 1st.
Mayor Sager responded that no decision was being made tonight, but it was a good time for discussion.
Councilman Prindiville opined that this is not a good idea using the public right of way. He felt the restaurants could use sidewalks for this purpose and not require money from the TIF Fund. He suggested looking at development of the alleyway between Main Street and Benton Street as a better location for this dining area, although the alley is private at this time and would need substantial improvement. He instead encouraged locating visionary builders to finish out the Woodstock Station area as something that would benefit the entire downtown.
Councilman Turner likened the concept to the very successful Farmers Market that adds so much to the downtown, while temporarily taking up parking places. Councilman Prindiville expressed concern that the proposal for Benton Street was a permanent closure but Councilman Turner clarified, saying this proposal would only be seasonal.
Councilman Saladin said he likes the concept and it would actually be a good “gateway” to the Woodstock Station area, which could help attract developers to that site. He expressed concern about the other businesses in that area and would like to have their input on any final plans.
Councilman Tebo felt that it was one of those things that couldn’t really be evaluated until it was tried out, but he liked the idea and imagined it would attract people.
Councilman Hart stated that this project would attract the age group that we want to see increase downtown. The sidewalks there are too narrow to meet ADA requirements, so the larger area is needed and the building owners think it would attract more restaurants to this block.
Councilwoman Larson would like to hear from the businesses impacted, but likes the idea of taking one of the streets in need of improvement and lifting it up. She loves eating outdoors and feels this is what we want to facilitate when talking about Millennials, new urbanism, walkable environment—these concepts all go along with outdoor dining.
Mayor Sager offered that there are many details yet to be worked out before this moves forward. Any City investment in barriers and lighting could be re-used, while business owners would provide tables and chairs, and there would need to be extra coordination with trash pickup. Councilman Prindiville expressed concern that it would be difficult to try something and then pull it back, but Councilman Turner stated that this already has a built-in endpoint, as things would be removed by October and could be amended or eliminated going forward.
Ms. Jen Feeley, 116 1⁄2 N. Benton, lives in the immediate area and loves outdoor dining. She said this is one of the reasons she enjoys living in a more urban environment. She feels that nothing has to be permanent and it could really be beneficial.
Mr. Brad Cesario, 236 Main Street, shared that his parents own a building where they are hoping to open a sandwich shop and would love to be included in this project as he thinks it’s a great idea.
Mayor Sager encouraged all businesses in the area to work together inclusively.
Mr. Joe Starzynski, 348 Hayward Street, reflected on a recent trip to downtown Chicago and the good feelings that come from seeing all sorts of outdoor dining, even in small creatively landscaped areas and feels this would be a great addition to Woodstock.
Mr. Allen Stebbins, 508 Dean Street, appreciates the enthusiasm for the project but cautions against the City spending $50,000 to try something. He travels Benton Street in the early morning hours going to the train station and the parking spaces are always in use. He is concerned about traffic flow, delivery trucks and garbage, and encouraged the City to study the traffic before making final decisions. He is also concerned that it appears to benefit a limited number of businesses and others should be consulted.
Mayor Sager agreed that trash is already an issue in this area and must be dealt with. Councilman Hart stated that his business is working with the City to consolidate trash pickup and the businesses are willing to consolidate deliveries as well. Some of the bars who currently don’t serve food are interested in adding that to their menus to be included in the project. Councilman Saladin pointed out the businesses would need the City’s permission to serve alcohol in the public right of way.
Mr. Randy Tipps, 124 Newell Street, liked the idea, but wants to see input from the other businesses, especially with the park nearby.
Ms. Lisa Hanson, who lives and works in Woodstock, stated she is a fan of outdoor dining, but has made her feelings known about many of the resulting issues. Councilman Turner stressed that this proposal includes only restaurants serving food, until 9:00 PM, or 10:00 PM on weekends, not the bars open until 1:00 AM. Ms. Hanson responded that the proposal made it feel like the City is picking “winners or losers.” Councilman Turner said this is not the kind of thing that can be done on most streets and the restaurants involved will need to stand on their own. Ms. Hanson asked if a fee would be involved and Mayor Sager responded that this has not even been discussed as yet, there would be permits needed, but fees are not yet decided. Ms. Hanson felt that it was unfair that Rosati’s is paying for their own outdoor dining equipment, but the City would be paying for some of these things. She expressed concern for the potential for those being over-served resulting in liability and injuries.
Mr. Jim Helprin, 228 Main Street/Mia Passione, said he feels lucky to be part of a business located on a perfect small town Main Street like we have here in Woodstock; unfortunately, Benton Street is not like Main Street. He feels this could be a start to improve it to that level and Mia Passione is willing to invest a lot to help make this happen, since everyone wants to be outdoors during the summer months.
Ms. Jen Feeley added that here in the Midwest, we have a temporary time when nature gives us something to look forward to and this would get people excited. In her position at Read Between the Lynes, people come in for information at the Visitors’ Center and often ask about restaurants and things to do and it would be great to refer them to this new dining area.
Councilman Tebo stated this was a great opening discussion and we should continue with plans until there was a solid reason not to do it. Councilwoman Larson feels that this would benefit more than just the businesses on that street. She said we have taken criticism for spending TIF money on the Old Courthouse and this would be an investment in another area that would increase the TIF value overall. Councilman Turner would like these plans to move forward, not precluding work towards Woodstock Station development, but adding to that potential. He feels this would be an enhancement for residents and visitors after going through a prolonged and difficult economic period. Councilman Prindiville opined that following the 2008 crash, Woodstock seemed to focus on bars and entertainment simply because that was the only thing that worked in the negative economy. He believes this is not a good idea, and this plan doesn’t add to the historic streetscape of the downtown.
Mayor Sager questioned if there was support for Staff to move forward with additional research, including surveying businesses and residents; convening a group of directly-affected businesses and obtaining a proposal from them; estimates on specific items needed (how much/how many); traffic flow, parking, deliveries, garbage planning; permission from building owners to string lighting and the costs involved. Councilman Saladin expressed his support, but would like to know more about the City’s liability issues. Councilman Turner reinforced that the businesses must take the lead and not rely on Staff to do that, but Economic Development Director Anderson could perhaps provide oversight to the process.
Council members were asked to state their positions: Councilman Prindiville was not in favor, but all other Council members voiced their support for the project. Mayor Sager stated that time is of the essence in order to take advantage of this season and urged the business owners present to submit their proposal as soon as possible.
Ms. Cesario questioned why other businesses were offered TIF money for façade improvements and she did not receive this help with her building. It was suggested there was a deadline to apply for these funds and she should work with City Planner Nancy Baker for future application.
18. Schedule Special City Council Workshop – Visioning Session
Mayor Sager stated that, as is done annually and especially since there are two new City Council members, it is appropriate to schedule a Visioning Session for future planning efforts. After checking schedules of all involved, the date of Tuesday, July 18th was proposed, with a tentative time of 2:00 – 5:00 PM, prior to the City Council meeting that evening, subject to confirmation.
Councilwoman Larson exited at 10:27 pm.
Motion by M. Turner, second by M. Saladin, to adjourn to Executive Session for the purpose of discussing:
Personnel (Open Meeting Act:5ILCS 120/2)(c)(1)
The appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance or dismissal of specific employees of the public body, including hearing testimony on a complaint lodged against an employee to determine its validity.
City Manager’s Performance Evaluation
A roll call vote was taken. Ayes: J. Prindiville, G. Tebo, D. Hart, M. Turner, M. Saladin, Mayor Sager. Nays: none. Abstentions: none. Absentees: M. Larson. Motion passed 6-0.
The Woodstock City Council adjourned to Executive Session at 10:31 pm. Recess for 5 minutes. Councilwoman Larson returned at 10:32 pm.
Return to Open Session:
Council returned to Open Session at 12:01 am.
Council Members Present:
Daniel Hart, Maureen Larson, Jim Prindiville, Mark Saladin, Gordon Tebo, Michael Turner, and Mayor Brian Sager.
Council Members Absent: None.
Staff Present: City Manager Stelford, City Attorney Schlossberg.
Mayor Sager stated that the Council would like to affirm and confirm their faith in City Manager Stelford.
Future Agenda Items:
Motion by M. Larson, second by J. Prindiville, to adjourn this regular meeting of the Woodstock City Council to the June 6, 2017 City Council meeting at 7:00 pm in the Council Chambers at Woodstock City Hall. A roll call vote was taken. Ayes: D. Hart, M. Larson, J. Prindiville, M. Saladin, G. Tebo, M. Turner, and Mayor Sager. Nays: none. Abstentions: none. Absentees: none. Motion carried unanimously. Meeting adjourned at 12:06 am.
Organizations in this Story
415 Washington St
Woodstock, IL 60098-3310