COD, Glen Ellyn dispute heading back to court
Just when you thought it was all over, the soap opera dispute between the College of DuPage and village of Glen Ellyn is entering a new chapter.
The college is going back to court Monday to argue the village isn't abiding by the spirit -- if not the letter -- of a mediation agreement that transferred jurisdictional control of the 273-acre campus from Glen Ellyn to DuPage County.
The deal, approved by the village, college and county earlier this year, was intended to resolve a protracted legal battle over the degree to which Glen Ellyn could enforce local regulations -- including those involving building and zoning -- at the college.
In the court motion filed Wednesday, COD's attorneys called village officials "overzealous" opponents of the college's campus expansion plans, pointing to their testimony at recent county zoning meetings and an objection letter they sent to the county's economic development and planning department.
"Such tactics are active steps being taken by the village to directly interfere in the county's proceedings and to foment public opposition to the college's requests to the county," the college's attorneys wrote.
Village Attorney Stewart Diamond said the village is within its rights to comment on the college's plans. In fact, he said the village received a letter from the county that sought comments on COD's proposal.
Roughly 260 residents attended a meeting of the county's zoning board of appeals last week during which Staci Hulseberg, the village's director of planning and development, expressed concerns about increased traffic, possible flooding, excessive signs and a lack of parking in the college's planned development application.
County officials announced this week that the college agreed to scale back some of the more controversial aspects of its plan by removing three buildings that would have abutted residential areas. A fourth building also was withdrawn, originally proposed for the north side of Fawell Boulevard, west of Park Boulevard, where neighbors said it would have been hazardous because of the curving road.
The county's zoning board will continue its review of COD's plans during a hearing scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday in the auditorium of the county administration building, 421 N. County Farm Road, Wheaton.
Just hours before, DuPage County Circuit Court Judge Hollis Webster is expected to consider the college's motion that seeks "to enforce the mediation agreement."
Diamond called it an attempt to "silence" the village.
"The village completely understands the county has the final decision on these regulatory matters, but we don't find anything in any agreement that the village shall remain silent in the next five years with regard to requests for applications by the college," Diamond said. "I'm surprised they're so thin-skinned.
"We intend to continue to offer our views. In this particular case, our views seemed to be shared by hundreds of citizens who appeared at that meeting."
In a written statement, Village President Mark Pfefferman said, "The message the college is sending, however unintentional, is that it does not value the educated and reasoned input of its constituents, students, employees and neighbors."