Glenview board approves Downtown Development Code amendments

  • After trustees' first vote on an ordinance to amend Glenview's downtown development code ended with President Mike Jenny having to break the tie, the village board again this week discussed options for dealing with the maximum height for mixed use buildings.

      After trustees' first vote on an ordinance to amend Glenview's downtown development code ended with President Mike Jenny having to break the tie, the village board again this week discussed options for dealing with the maximum height for mixed use buildings. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted1/20/2022 8:30 AM

The Glenview Village Board's second consideration of an ordinance approving amendments to its Downtown Development Code was much like its first.

Discussion Tuesday at the board's second return-to-remote meeting of 2022 again centered on two options dealing with maximum heights for mixed-use buildings.

 

These would be particularly in areas identified as "spark sites" identified by the Glenview Connect process, from which the code amendments also resulted.

Emphasis was placed on five sites along Glenview Road, notably the "1800 Block" Chase Bank location along the West Fork of the North Branch of the Chicago River.

The first option sets a 4-story maximum for new development. In the second option, once a proposal exceeds three floors it triggers a planned development requiring a public hearing.

A planned development provides more flexibility in zoning that redefines land uses within a particular area.

Extracted from Glenview municipal code by Community Engagement Manager David Just, "The purpose of a planned development district is to facilitate a more creative and efficient use of land than would otherwise be possible under traditional zoning regulations."

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Trustee Gina DeBoni asked if a planned development proposal could exceed four stories.

Director of Community Development Jeff Brady said that could be the case, under the scrutiny of the village's New Development Commission and the board itself.

Throughout Glenview Connect's multiple opportunities for public input, participants stressed their dislike of buildings rising higher than three stories that may create a canyon effect in the downtown.

While developers may like more bang for their buck with larger developments, the "economic gap" between their investment and the cost of the development would also mean village investment.

"If the market can't bear redevelopment, it can't bear redevelopment. And I see no public benefit in subsidizing the private interests of development," said Gerald Barry, a frequent contributor at Glenview board meetings, once the meeting was opened to public comment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Option 1 as presented in the ordinance allows for public input through the standard commission and board procedures. Option 2 requires notification of a proposed development's neighbors by mail and a public hearing before the New Development or Development Adjustments commissions.

As Brady said, an "informal" process for Option 1, a "formal" process for Option 2.

When the New Developments Commission debated this ordinance, on Nov. 8 it preferred Option 2. A month later it recommended the code amendments to the board with a 7-1 vote that favored Option 1.

A tossup occurred in the village board's first hearing of the ordinance on Jan. 4. Trustees were split 3-3 until board President Mike Jenny sided with Option 1.

On Tuesday, Option 1 proponent Chuck Gitles said that tact provides developers with "a clear statement" on what is acceptable, while Option 2 offers what might be acceptable.

"It's just not a good way to do business to have ambiguity in terms of what our code says," he said.

"As an investor you want certainty," Trustee Jim Bland followed.

DeBoni and Trustee Mary Cooper, who with Trustee Tim Doron cast their votes for Option 2 on Jan. 4, again brought up the public's feelings on height when debating the options.

"We heard from the community time and again their vision for downtown. We heard this through the Glenview Connect process. They want a downtown that's charming, that has character," said DeBoni, who also noted both options could provide for a planned development.

"Option 1, which is four stories by right on both sides of Glenview Road and all other locations contemplated, doesn't achieve the goal of charm, character and warmth," she said.

Doron, concerned about massing on Glenview Road especially near the 4-story Midtown Square at Glenview Road and Church Street -- and noted the prospect of the 5-story Drake project just west of Pine Street -- extended an olive branch of sorts.

Initially a map of potential downtown redevelopment sites allowed 4-story buildings on the block bordered by Glenview Road and Pine and Church streets, as well as the catty-cornered Chase Bank site.

Doron proposed a 3-story maximum on the first location and at the bank site along Glenview Road, and extending south midway down Church Street.

With a further amendment of the ordinance to change the "height map," as Doron called it, trustees approved the New Development Commission's recommendation with Option 1 by a 6-0 vote.

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