In a rare crossing of alliances, Mayor Anthony Calderone voted with commissioners Patrick Doolin and Theresa Steinbach to deny Taxman Corp.’s request to change two spots in front of the almost complete Madison Commons project into 15-minute, flashing-lights-only spots.
The lone vote in favor of the parking spots came from Commissioner Mark Hosty who found himself in the minority. Commissioner Timothy Gillian was not present at the meeting.
After the vote, Commissioner Doolin joked with the mayor, welcoming him to “his side” and telling him this was the sixth time he had voted with “that side of the table.”
The parking request came from Taxman President Tim Hague, through Village Administrator Michael Sturino.
“The request comes from the village administrator,” Calderone began. “All matters should be refereed through Traffic and Safety, I am not in favor of 15-minute parking at this location.”
Calderone told council members he was inclined to wait for the Traffic and Safety Committee’s recommendations for a finalized policy on 15-minute parking requests, rather than deal with each situation.
“It probably is not most efficient to have requests come to us. We should give them time to develop a policy. Otherwise, requests like these are purely subjective,” Calderone said, recommending the matter be tabled.
The request was reviewed by the Traffic and Safety Committee who recommended the council approve the motion to avoid potential traffic issues on Madison Street.
“The recommendation was made based on the concern of the current traffic flow issues on Madison Street and the pro-active view to alleviate potential traffic problems, taking into consideration an increase in drop-off/pick-up, light-delivery and other short-term parking needs created by new businesses and residential activity,” states a memo from the committee.
According to the committee, use of the two spots as 15-minute parking would have afforded the village 16 more opportunities to park if a new car took each sport every 15 minutes.
The council, however, didn’t buy this argument.
“This development has 36 retail spots,” Doolin said. “I say let’s see how things go, give them the opportunity to educate business owners and residents. This is a very premature request at this point.”
In the end, rather than table the issue, Doolin moved to deny the parking, backed by Calderone and Steinbach.
The last time 15-minute flashing-lights-only parking was discussed at village council was in response to a request by Jimmy Johns for 15-minute parking outside the Krader-Wolf building. On that occasion, the council voted to approve the parking in a highly contested 3-2 vote, where Calderone sided with Gillian and Hosty, leaving Doolin and Steinbach in the minority.
“I think it is something we have to address, as it keeps recurring,” Hosty said, after the meeting. “We need to keep looking at individual needs. We have the creation of almost 45 new parking spaces, and we need to take a look at the effects of drop-off and pickups. I am in favor of open discussions. I voted to keep it alive.”
Council members also unanimously approved an ordinance amending motor vehicles and traffic section of the municipal code, changing the first alley north of Madison Street, between Elgin Avenue and Marengo Avenue into a west-bound-only, through-traffic street.
The ordinance was created in response to the Madison Commons Planned Development Agreement, authorized in 2003, which required the alley be changed for one-way-only traffic.
Also at the meeting, the council approved a consulting agreement with R.H. Anderson and Associates, to take over planning services.
The village has been without a department head for community development and planning since Nancy Hill resigned.
In a memo to the council, Sturino highlighted the need for the new services, stating “the need for professional plan review is necessary to ensure compliance with the village’s zoning, subdivision and building codes, and to promote more orderly and quality development.”
As per the agreement, JoEllen Charlon, AICP, will be taking over as plan review consultant for the village.