Downers Grove Council to Discuss Chicken Coops, Valley View Pond, Water Rate Hike
The village council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Village Hall, 801 Burlington Ave.
The Downers Grove Village Council will consider two ordinances Tuesday that would increase the water rate and fees for commuter parking spaces.
The village of Downers Grove currently buys its water from the DuPage Water Commission, which buys Lake Michigan water from Chicago. The commission voted last year to raise its water rates every year in 2015 after Chicago officials instituted a rate hike that amounts to a 90-percent wholesale increase over the same timeframe, according to the Daily Herald.
The commission also added on another 19 cents per 1,000 gallons, according to the report.
Downers Grove staff recently adjusted the village's water rate model to account for the increases, as well as the recommendations of the 2010 Water Rate Study. The village's rate increases—projected at 18 percent for 2013—will only impact the unit fee portion of the bill; the fixed fee portion foes not change from the original plan, according to village documents.
The rates are now projected to increase by 14 percent in 2014 and 2015, according to village officials.
The following table shows the proposed water rates that will go into effect for bills received after March 1, 2013:
|Bi-Monthly Fixed Charged by Water Meter Size||2012||2013 Proposed|
|Bi-Monthly Unit Fee||2012||2013 Proposed|
As part of its 2012-13 budget implementation actions, the council is also expected to vote Tuesday to increase parking fees charged for commuter spaces.
Should the council approve the ordinance, the fees would be removed from the municipal code and listed in the administrative fee schedule, according to village documents. The recommended fee schedule is shown below:
|Train Station||Current Quarterly Fee||Proposed Quarterly Fee|
|Belmont Train Station||
|Main Street Train Station and Parking Deck (Lot S)||
|Fairview Train Station||
Also on the Agenda
Backyard Chicken Coops
Under the "new business" portion of the meeting agenda, Downers Grove Village Manager David Fieldman has included a memo titled "Discussion of Village Fowl Regulations." The discussion, he wrote, was included at the request of Commissioner Becky Rheintgen.
Downers Grove is one of several Chicago suburbs that allow residents to keep chickens, roosters and other fowl in their backyards. Other communities include Naperville, Plainfield, Brookfield, Westchester, Batavia, Evanston, Schaumburg and Western Springs.
Per village code, all fowl must be entirely confined in a pen, coop, building or other enclosure at all times. Enclosures must be set back at least 50 feet from any property line, and shall be kept "clean, sanitary and free from all refuse."
According to Fieldman's memo, Rheintgen has asked that council discuss increasing the number of chickens permitted, decreasing the setback requirements, banning roosters and requiring a license or permit for keeping chickens.
No further information was available regarding Rheintgen's request. However, Fieldman noted in the agenda documents that the village has handled five fowl-related code enforcement cases in 2012, all of which were prompted by resident complaints. Two active enforcement cases are pending.
The item is up for discussion only during Tuesday's village council meeting
Naturalization of Valley View Pond
After months of discussion and meetings with nearby homeowners, Downers Grove officials are maintaining their position that naturalization is the best option for the Valley View pond.
The council will vote Tuesday on a $548,740 contract with ENCAP, Inc. to "naturalize" the 2.5-acre, man-made pond, turning it into sustainable marshland with a flowing waterway.
The pond, located in the Valley View Estates subdivision west of Main Street and north of 75th Street, was man-made by the developer in the 1970s while building the subdivision as a way to meet detention requirements and as a feature that could be marketed to potential homeowners.
Over the years, the area has suffered from poor water conditions, odors, algae blooms and more as a result from sediment buildup, waterfowl presence and a lack of substantial vegetation, according to village officials.
In response to residents' complaints, the village installed and operated aerators to provide temporary relief, and set aside $450,000 for what was anticipated to be a dredging project.
However, the accumulated sediment tested in July 2011 and again in January 2012 indicated that the material does not meet the Environmental Protection Agency's standards for re-use on other sites, and would have to be brought to a landfill at at an estimated cost of $900,000. Because of the high cost, village officials began researching alternate options, and ultimately drew up a plan to naturalize the body of water.
The Downers Grove Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Village Hall, 801 Burlington Ave. For more information, visit www.downers.us.
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