The Village Council voted Monday night to follow the recommendations of the Zoning Board of Appeals and Plan Commission and approve a site plan to build a 4-story structure with a restaurant on the first floor and six condos above at 7410 Madison St.
The original plan for the building, to be constructed at the former site of the China Night restaurant, called for eight condo units, but the number was reduced to comply with the demands of the ZBA.
Though the reduced number of condos lessened the need for parking spaces, a variation was still needed to reduce parking to 15 spaces where 34 are required. The Plan Commission insisted that two spaces be available for each resident, so technically three spaces are available for the restaurant although it is possible that some residents will not use both spaces.
Though the building was reduced to 50 feet instead of 57 and four stories instead of five, it is still taller than most buildings on the block. The revised plan included architectural treatments designed to help the building fit in as smoothly as possible with its surroundings. The top level, for example, will be stepped back 11 feet and will use a lighter colored brick than the rest of the building in order to de-emphasize the height of the building.
Michael Pace, who owns the property, said the theme of the first floor restaurant is still undecided.
In other business:
• The commissioners discussed a recommendation from Village Administrator Michael Sturino to award a contract for the village’s refuse, recycling and landscape waste collection to BFI Waste Systems of North America, Inc.
After receiving bids from six contractors on Aug. 15, the recommendation was made to stick with the current service provider due to its low price and past service.
The new contract would reduce the weekly collection of solid waste from six cubic yards to three, which would still allow each household to fill up to six of the village’s 96-gallon garbage cans.
In order to encourage recycling, the contract would also provide residents the option of a 64-gallon recycling container.
The new contract would drop the yearly cost of service to a single family resident 2.9 percent, from $8.49 to $8.24, while the cost for a condominium would drop 0.8 percent from $6.28 to $6.24.
The contract is for five years, and rates would increase annually based on CPI rates. Garbage service would continue to be provided on Thursdays.
None of the commissioners expressed objection to the new contract, and the council will likely vote on it at their next meeting.
• The council voted 4-1 to table a motion to follow the ZBA’s recommendation to deny a variation to developer Barney O’Reilly to reduce the required sideyard setback from 3.75 feet to 2.75 feet on the western side of a property at 7436 Warren.
O’Reilly had received a building permit from the village in July and was in the process of building the $639,000 home when resident Steve Backman noticed that the home’s second story overhang encroached on setback requirements. Commissioner Tim Gillian brought a motion to hold off on voting on the matter until the council knew the cost of bringing the building back into compliance.
Though O’Reilly said last week it might cost up to $50,000, Gillian said the price would likely be much less.
“I’m not tipping my hand in either direction. … I just want more numbers,” said Gillian.
Commissioner Terry Steinbach cast the dissenting vote, stating that she did not see a reason to give O’Reilly’s case any additional consideration.
“The developer knew the rules,” she said.
• The council voted to propose a Special Service Area, a taxing mechanism intended to fund special services in a defined area without raising taxes for the entire village, to allow for right-of-way improvements for the portion of 19th Street east of Desplaines Avenue.
A public hearing will be held at village hall, Nov. 14 at 6:30 p.m., to discuss the proposal to issue property tax bonds of up to $2.4 million at an interest rate of up to 9 percent over 20 years. A direct tax to pay for the bonds would be levied upon all taxable properties in the special service area.
A map of the service area and the addresses of the properties affected are available at the village clerk’s office.
The proposal for the special service area could be voided if a petition signed by over 50 percent of residents and property owners in the area is filed with the village clerk within 60 days of the public hearing.
• Mayor Anthony Calderone unveiled Forest Park’s new flag, which will display the village’s official logo, a park bench and lamp post with an urban street in the background along with the slogan “Big city access, small town charm.”
The village’s old flag displayed a map of Illinois with a star in the general area of Forest Park.
Though a group of NIU students charged with making over Forest Park’s image recently considered changing the logo, Calderone said the village had worked with a group of professionals several years ago to design the logo and “would not be too quick” to part with the image.
• At the end of the meeting, the commissioners went into closed session to discuss unspecified personnel issues. They emerged after about 45 minutes and voted to hire an outside investigator named Robert Johnson to investigate, at a rate of $100 per hour, the personnel issues they had discussed. Commissioner Patrick Doolin abstained from the vote.