Elgin council to revisit tabled items
By Mike Danahey email@example.com June 24, 2012 6:38PM
Updated: July 26, 2012 6:09AM
ELGIN — A joke going around Elgin City Hall since the June 13 city council meetings is that so much got left on the table that by the end of that night, the council chamber looked like a buffet.
From a street resurfacing project to the height of a sign at a mall along Randall Road, the council is set to continue a half-dozen discussions that either began or had been planned to happen two weeks ago.
Here’s a review of those items:
Villa bike lanes
City crews are in the midst of an east-side resurfacing project along Villa Street from Lake Street east to Willard Avenue. Work also includes improving drainage, repairing curbs, patching concrete and providing through lanes and left-turn lanes.
What’s being proposed is adding bike lanes on both sides of Villa, which would provide cyclists with a route from downtown to Elgin High School and which is part of the Bikeway Master Plan, which was approved in 2008.
Elgin Management Analyst Dan Ault told the council that the street’s lanes are only about 10 feet wide right now, and the work would increase them to 11 feet, even with the bike lanes, which would be 4 feet wide.
The street has 1,200 to 1,300 cars a day, and City Manager Sean Stegall said a complete revamp of this stretch to have 12 feet lanes and to hold more traffic would cost about $10 million.
What has council members concerned is that the road has a good bit of truck traffic, which might make it precarious for bikers, especially younger ones. There also are limited liability issues for the city if lanes are put in place, should a bike accident occur — particularly if it can be shown that problems with the street itself contributed to the incident.
Given those issues, a revised plan will be discussed Wednesday at the committee of the whole meeting. And the city’s bike ambassador, Tom Armstrong, said he hopes to talk to council members about their concerns in advance of the meeting and to attend the session.
A discussion of the city’s comprehensive annual financial report, and amendments to reflect actual financial activity undertaken in the city’s 2011 budget, were set for June 13.
However, Council Robert Gilliam was absent from the meeting and attending to family health matters. Gilliam requested the financial discussions be tabled until this week so he could be present for the discussion.
The comprehensive annual financial report is available on the city’s website, www.cityofelgin.org, under the Doing Business in Elgin section and under the Finance tab.
Under state legislation passed in 2009 finally having mechanisms in place to enact it, bars, restaurants, truck stops, fraternal and veterans groups will be able in August to offer video gambling — provided they get licensed by the state and the municipality where they are located has decided to be part of the program.
City staff has said Elgin has decades-old laws on its books that prohibit such gaming. However, according to the suggestion of some council members, staff is looking into the possibility of only allowing service clubs to have the gambling machines.
While the state has given indications that this might be allowed, Stegall said staff is concerned that just allowing service clubs might leave Elgin vulnerable to lawsuits from other types of establishments where the state will allow the gaming.
The matter was tabled in light of those concerns.
EZPAWN Illinois Inc. intends to lease the vacant commercial building located at 1460 Main Lane, within the Town and Country Shopping Center under the name Easy Cash Solutions.
But at the June 13 regular meeting, the petitioners asked for a continuance until this Wednesday.
Stegall said this was due in large part to the pawn shop’s attorney, John Hurlbut, not yet talking to Councilmen John Steffen and Rich Dunne about the matter.
A handful or Southwest Area Neighbors (SWAN) members came to the June 13 meeting to voice concerns about allowing the pawn shop in their part of Elgin. Community Development Director Marc Mylott was checking to see if the pawn shop had reached out to SWAN about its operation and would arrange so if it had not.
Grove mall sign
Finally, the council will revisit a discussion of a sign that The Grove mall, along Randall Road north of Interstate 90, would like to make bigger.
A Shell gas station being built at the mall would like to add its information to the top of an existing sign, bringing its height from 23 feet to 32 feet.
Dunne mentioned that Elgin VFW Post 1307, where he is a member, had wanted to put up a flagpole of 35 feet but couldn’t, yet the mall would get a sign almost as high. So Dunne suggested the Shell get a monument-style sign instead.
The bigger sign also would have a lighted portion that would change its message every 10 seconds, as allowed by Illinois Department of Transportation standards. But Councilwoman Anna Moeller would like the mall to consider having a 1-minute change rate on the LED sign.
Further options will be discussed Wednesday.