Village of Port Byron Planning and Zoning Committee met November 8
Village of Port Byron Planning and Zoning Committee met November 8.
Here is the minutes as provided by the committee:
The Planning and Zoning Commission met on Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 at 7:00 PM at the Village Hall.
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM by Chairman Gerry Meade
Roll Call/Establishment of Quorum:
Present: Bob Wilson, Wes Wells, Sarah Ford, Scott Angelici, Patty Lindley, Wayne Oney, Bob Lagerblade, and Chairman Gerry Meade. Also present: Doug Streeter, Lou Dilauro, Tom Stocking, Jared Fluhr of MSA, Nancy Streeter, and local business owners.
Roll call established a quorum, and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
Mayor’s Update: No update, due to absence.
Building Inspector’s Report:
Doug reported that activity is really slowing down, with two permits issued for a new roof and a shed. When asked about any development on the property near the old Academy, Doug said he hasn’t had any further conversations with the developer since the summer, though the IRDC committee may still be having discussions.
Chairman Meade noted that there will be a Zoning Board of Appeals vote at the December meeting. He also discussed the IRDC meeting held Monday night regarding the downtown redevelopment plan. Mr. Meade stated that his biggest take-away from the meeting is that the business owners and residents have “strong feelings” against bicyclists, since they “don’t pay taxes, don’t use the designated bike path, and don’t spend money in Port Byron.” The existing trails should be used, and the plan should not include designated bike lanes. Many business owners said they would be put “out of business” if parking was reduced. Mr. Meade noted that any new parking options would be considered along new parking lot plans, and there is room for revision.
Mr. Meade read comments from Mayor Bruce Peterson, who is out of town, but relayed that the village would “incorporate concerns, revise plans, and hope to have more involvement from business owners.” The Mayor and Planning and Zoning Committee acknowledge that the planning phase is ongoing, and the goal is to provide parking for both north and south Main Street businesses. This development plan is tied to a grant due on December 1st, and work would not even start until 2020, if approved. Mr. Meade added that the IRDC meeting was only an hour, so he invited business owners to come to this meeting to continue discussions.
Business owners from Jimmie Lee’s and LilyPads, and building owners Chad Pregracke and John Farrell, shared their concerns with the committee, noting they were concerned with proposed parking changes. Though members of the committee assured them any loss of spaces would be made up elsewhere, the gallery was generally not in support of the current plan.
The committee noted that safety and compliance standards were one of the biggest factors in designing a new streetscape, and all could agree on that.
The costs of the project were also discussed, with concerns on the required match of funds, should the ITEP grant be approved.
The business owners noted that while they support the push to make Port Byron a destination town, it takes more than a meal to keep people around.
More retail or other unique businesses would have to get established to create the desired traffic. So the cost and changes may not pay off as the village intends. Patty said the increased sidewalk space would allow more outdoor dining, which would be an attractive option for visitors. The flex space would allow more activity outdoors in the downtown district.
Also discussed was the possibility of relocating the Village Hall and Fire Department to the Old Academy property, which is owned by the village, and converting the current building to a parking lot; installing bump-outs, creating limited time parking spaces, making up lost parking spaces near the boat ramp, the dangers of bigger vehicles diagonally parking, and the hurdles of a parallel parking zone downtown were all part of the lengthy discussion. Bob L. also suggested that the business owners create a Chamber of Commerce or email system to get more engaged with the Village.
It was also established that the role of the Planning and Zoning Committee is to make the plans, and the role of the IRDC Committee is to find the ways to build it.
1. A motion was made by Bob W., and seconded by Patty, that the Minutes of the October 2017 meeting be approved as presented. All in favor and motion carried.
2. Jared asked the committee what kind of modifications they would suggest, so MSA can attempt to craft a new plan in time to be voted on at the next meeting. He noted IL IDOT officials had some concerns about the utilization of the space and right-of-ways under the current plan, so modifying the plan could make that process easier. The concerns of the business owners and residents were taken into consideration during this discussion. After there was consensus on preferred changes to the downtown development plan, a motion was made by Bob L., and seconded by Patty, to recommend to the board that a new streetscape plan be approved for the ITEP grant application: to take out the bike trail, to propose diagonal parking on the west side of Main Street (flip flop the current parking arrangement), approve the flex parking option, define project scope and limits block by block, and communicate plans with business owners.
A roll call vote was as follows:
Oney- Yes, Lindley- Yes, Lagerblade- Yes, Wilson- Yes, Angelici-Yes, Ford- Yes, and Wells- No. Motion passed.
3. Economic Development Committee: Wes had no update at this time.
4. Green Committee Update: Sarah had no update at this time.
5. Patty presented an ordinance, under direction from the Mayor, regarding display and merchandise outside of businesses. The committee questioned whether the Planning and Zoning should address the ordinance; a motion was made by Bob W., and seconded by Wes, to pass the ordinance back to the Mayor or another committee, since it doesn’t seem to fall under “planning and zoning” concerns. All in favor and motion carried.
New Business: To continue discussions with the businesses and downtown redevelopment, Wes scheduled time for business owners to speak at the Tuesday, November 14th Economic Development Committee meeting. He said he would personally invite all local business owners to attend.
Further Gallery Comments: Mr. Pregracke thanked the committee for their service to the community, and added that the revised plans seemed to be a better fit for Port Byron.
With no further business to come before the Committee at this time, Bob made a motion, seconded by Patty, that the meeting be adjourned. All in favor and the meeting adjourned at 9:08 p.m.