Comission Moves Master Plan Forward
The amendment will go before the Village Board in January for potential adoption into its Comprehensive Plan.
The commission voted unanimously Tuesday night for the Master Plan, a long-term retail development and mass transit guide, to be considered during the board's meeting on Jan. 11. Their decision follows a series of public workshops and forums, as well as community surveying from the Lakota Group, a suburban planning organization held since March.
Despite the commission's consent, the plan received some negative feedback from library officials and local business owners during the public comment portion of the evening's meeting.
"The library board is still unable to support the master plan," said Cinda Axley, president of the Wilmette Library's Board of Trustees, "For many years, the lack of parking has been an issue and a topic that receives a lot of comments from patrons."
The library currently has 51 spaces in its parking lot and rents 38 others from the village to serve the 1,000 patrons it receives a day, as well as staff, according to Axley.
Axley and other library officials met with the planning members, including the village's Director of Community Development John Adler, earlier in December to discuss parking concerns.
Adler said that despite the issues, that the revised plan is better than the one presented in mid-November.
Revisions that address the library's concerns while "balancing community needs" include the proposed creation of "70 diagonal parking spaces, 52 of which would be dedicated to library patrons," according to the Master Plan. The plan also suggests the construction of a three-story, 425-space parking structure east of the post office on Central Avenue, which officials said could also supplement library needs.
Meanwhile, during this week's meeting, Axley highlighted other concerns regarding the green space that would be created nearby the library if the Master Plan's recommendations are implemented.
"I'm fearful that it will attract more cares to an already inadequate amount of parking spaces," she said.
Additional concerns towards the plan were present from a couple of retailers, including Michael Banks, owner of West End Antiques.
"No one's pushing me out of my property til the moon flies and turns green," said Banks, whose business is located at 618 Green Bay Rd.
The area surrounding 611 Green Bay Road has been "considered the key development opportunity," the plan states. As a result the plan proposes development of many new structures in this area, including mixed-use buildings.
"I will fight this from the get-go—from here to the Supreme Court." Banks added.
But officials, as well as other residents in attendance, assured that the plan contains potential not actual development ideas.
"When and if property comes available, we don't want to wake up willy-nilly the next morning and say what can we do?" said Robert Spriggs, a member of commission.
In the mean time, the village board approved to extend its moratorium on construction within the village center to February, as finalization of the master plan continues.
"I hope that we proceed to make it happen in a proper way, so it all looks a hell of a lot better than it does today," Spriggs said.