Light Council Meeting Heavy With Public Comment
Residents have concerns regarding District 99's redevelopment plan for Downers Grove North High School.
Tuesday night's council meeting was marked by the presence of a group of Downers Grove residents who voiced their disapproval of Downers Grove North High School’s redevelopment plan.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, several residents spoke regarding the high school’s development plans.
Resident Tom Eagan listed four objections, starting with the claim that the local neighbors weren’t involved in the high school’s planning process, he said. Also, Eagan said the residents believe the traffic study presented to the Village Council when they agreed to vacate Prince Street was flawed and that student safety will be compromised with the school district’s proposed new bus plan.
Eagan, speaking on behalf of the other residents, said they respectfully request the appropriate commissions or council to not issue any more permits until they have time to make more appeals.
Mayor Martin Tully said there were a number of different pieces to the issue, the main being that the high school development is being directed by District 99, not the village.
Regarding Prince Street: “The issue that came before us was to vacate Prince Street, and we have a policy that governs that,” he said.
Tully said the council could only work where they had jurisdiction.
“We don’t necessarily have the same type of jurisdiction here that we might in other projects,” he said, adding he didn’t want to go into all the nuances of where the village did or didn’t have jurisdiction.
"We may not be able to say how the project should go, because it’s on school property, but traffic flow on surrounding streets is something the village is very involved in," he said.
Saratoga Avenue Resident Bill Kussman said the residents were trying to make an appeal to the council not to issue work permits for the project.
If all rules and laws are upheld, the council can’t stop something just because someone else doesn’t like it, Tully said.
Kussman said a flyer he received two weeks ago was the first notification he’d received about the project. Residents went to the meeting, he said, but the district was unwilling to work with them.
Along with other residents, Kussman is specifically asking that the district flip-flop their intended location of a soccer field and a parking lot—for traffic and aesthetic reasons.
“If they mess this thing up it’s going to be an eyesore,” he said.
Tully said the village does have a vested interest in the project, if for no other reason than traffic and safety, but he kept reiterating with the various residents that it was an issue of jurisdiction.
Otherwise, the council had a light agenda—with no items on the active agenda and a small number of first reads that garnered few comments from anyone on the council or in the audience.
There has been a request for a special use permit to allow a house on Main Street to be used as an office for a photographer.
Also, Community Development Director Tom Dabareiner presented a first read regarding the adoption of the 2012 Downers Grove Zoning Map. The most noticeable difference may be the inclusion of the property that the village annexed last year.