Walgreens Has to Be Denied

Low-Intensity Office Low-Intensity office uses typically include professional services such as medical, dental, legal and accounting. These uses are sensitive to their context in terms of scale, height, setback and building materials. This requires consideration of parking, loading, signage, lighting and business operations.

Neighborhood Commercial Neighborhood commercial areas function to provide residents with convenient, day-to-day goods and services within a short walk or drive from their homes. Neighborhood commercial areas should be comprised of a mix of retail, service and office uses that cater to a local population. These areas may be anchored by a grocery store accompanied by a variety of other smaller retailers such as gas stations, dry cleaners, convenience stores, banks, and restaurants. Providing these daily goods and services close to home is an amenity to nearby residents and serves to reduce automobile trips. It is recommended that small nodes of neighborhood commercial development should exist throughout the Village at the intersection of primary roadways (arterials and collectors) to serve nearby residential areas.

Above are two definitions from the Village of Downers Comprehensive Plan that was adopted by the Village earlier this year.

The issue is that someone has petitioned the Village to build a Walgreens at the corner of 63rd and Woodward Ave.  This area has been zoned Low Intensity Office.  By the Villages own definition a Walgreens is not Low Intensity.  A Walgreens does however fit in the Neighborhood Commercial zoning.

I believe that the Village planners recognized that the corner of 63rd and Woodward is dangreous and can’t handle as much traffic as a Walgreens would bring to the intersection.  The Village planners got it right.

Now it is up to the Village Council to make the final decision.  Will they follow thier own plan or will they ignore it. 

I have seen what ignoring ordinances and residents leads to and the outcome is never good.

I served on a board where ordinances where often ignored and the end result was disastrous. 

I hope the same is not in store for the Village and the residents of unincorporated Downers Grove.

A Good Place to Track Down Your Local Elected Official

Last night I had the opportunity to attend the Downers Grove Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Meet the Candidate Night.  I was amazed at the amount of local elected officials that were in attendance.

Senator Kirk Dillard, Senator Christine Rodogno, Senator Ron Sandack, State Representatives Mike Connelly, Patti Bellock, State Treasurer Dan Rutherford,  Bob Grogan DuPage Auditor, Brian Krajewski DuPage County Board Member District 3 and of course Mayor Tully and I saw at least one Village Commissioner.

The event was nice enough, although I left early, my youngest child was home sick, and after a few minutes of small talk, I had enough.
On the way home I was thinking, wow, there were a lot of elected officials at the Chamber Event.   Then I started thinking about how hard it is for the tax paying resident to meet with our elected officials.

For example I have been working with my neighbors on an issue that will change the character of my neighborhood.  I sent letters to the DuPage County Board Members in District 2 & 3 and DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin regarding this issue and not to my surprise not one member of the DuPage County Board nor the Chairman has responded, nor do I expect them to.

Even when we were trying to get a safe water supply it was very difficult to get our local elected officials attention.  They did come around but it took many phone calls, letters and petitions.

As for me I would much rather sit in my neighbors homes and help them with an issue.  I would much rather spend time with the folks at DuPage United who are proactive in making DuPage County a better place for all and are committed to making sure our elected officials are held accountable.

I most likely won’t be attending any future chamber events as this is not my style but for anyone who is trying to get a hold of their elected officials try attending the next Chamber of Commerce event I can guarantee that many of your local elected officials will be there.

When Common Sense Prevails

Why is it so hard for our elected officials to apply common sense when governing.  I experienced this when spearheading the effort to bring safe water at an affordable price to over 800 homes in unincorporated Downers Grove, serving as a DuPage Water Commissioner and now again with another issue facing my neighborhood.

Walgreens has petitioned the Village of Downers Grove to put a Walgreens at the corner of 63rd Street and Woodward Avenue.  The Village of Downers Grove Planning and Zoning Commission used  common sense, as they usually do, and denied the petitioners.
The Mayor and Council Members are actually considering approving the plan.  The residents are not against progress.  The residents are using common sense.  Currently there is a Walgreens 1 block to the west.  What will happen to this Walgreens when the new Walgreens is built.  Most likely it will remain vacant.  There was a similar situation in Woodridge where a new Walgreens was built and  a block away the old Walgreens remains vacant.
The village is considering making all of these special considerations for a Walgreens which the necessity has not been proven.  There are currently 28 pharmacies in a 5 mile radius and 18 within a 3 mile radius.
If the village truly believes that we need another Walgreens there is a strip mall directly across the street from the proposed site.  The strip mall is in poor condition and putting a Walgreens on the side where the strip mall is could possibly lead to more growth and beautification of that corner.  And most importantly it would allow for better and safer traffic flow and easy access for Walgreens customers.

The intersection is one of the most dangerous intersections in the Village.  There are valid concerns for the safety of our children who walk to the nearby elementary school and many high school students drive or walk that intersection each day. 
The corner of 63rd and Woodward has been zoned low intensity commercial.  Walgreens is not a low intensity commercial property it is a high volume retail property.  It clearly does not fit the zoning requirement.
There is plenty of vacant commercial property in the Village of Downers Grove.  Before the village seeks out more commercial  property they should work to fill the existing vacant commercial properties.
I would hope that Mayor Tully and the Council Members will use common sense and deny the petitioners but work with them to find a location that is more suitable. 

DuPage Mayors and Mayors Legislative Action Program and Priorities

They want to implement the following: Limit the Prevailing Wage Act – Prohibit Municipal Employees from Serving on the Governing Board – Ensure Municipal Majority on Pension Boards – Reform Pensions for Current Public Safety Employees – Prohibit Municipal Employees from Serving on the Governing Board. Allow Local Government Quick‐Take Authority Municipalities should be allowed to use quick‐take authority to acquire land for specific purposes without being required to obtain a permit.  Remove the Referendum Requirement for Real Estate Transfer Tax. Allow municipalities to enact or increase a real estate transfer tax without a referendum. Repeal the Illinois Workers on Public Works Act. The Act currently requires the use of Illinois firms for public works projects.
Lots of regulations, increased taxes and less transparency.  Please click on link provided to read more about this.  


How are Those No Bid Contracts Working Out for the Tax Payer?

Even though DuPage County has an ordinance that requires the county to solicit bids for contracts to eliminate favoritism and secure the best possible deal for the tax payer DuPage entered into a no bid contract with Motorola with costs quadrupling to 28 million dollars.


Six years and nearly $17 million later, DuPage County’s public safety departments still don’t have radio equipment that will allow them to communicate with one another during emergencies. It’s one of several Homeland Security communication projects in the suburbs that have been plagued by delays and…

The Revolving Door at DuPage County that Stands to Benefit Board Members Needs To Stop

Mr. Sheahan goes to Navistar

By Susan Frick Carlman scarlman@stmedianetwork.com February 1, 2012 4:08PM
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Brien Sheahan, former DuPage County Board member, is a new Government Affairs Director for Navistar in Lisle.
Updated: February 1, 2012 5:51PM
The latest DuPage County Board member to step down has a new connection to the workings of local taxing bodies.
Elmhurst attorney Brien Sheahan, who on Tuesday officially wrapped up a decade representing District 2 on the board, is now a director of government affairs for Navistar International Corp., based in Lisle.
Patrick Charbonneau, a vice president for government relations at Navistar, issued an in-house announcement of Sheahan’s hiring Wednesday afternoon.
“Brien’s extensive background and leadership will help us support the needs of Navistar’s expanding businesses in Washington and our key states,” Charbonneau wrote. “Brien brings a strong governmental background to our organization. From 2007 until joining Navistar, he served as general counsel for the Illinois Republican Party, providing guidance and legal support to state and federal candidates. He also served as deputy executive director for the Illinois Housing Development Authority, where he managed state and federal governmental affairs. He also served as legal counsel to the Illinois Commerce Commission and as an assistant to Gov. Jim Edgar.”
Julie Kelly, an aide to DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin, said she had received confirmation that Sheahan began his new position this week.
Sheahan announced Jan. 18 that he would be leaving the board, citing a desire to spend more time with his wife and their 14-month-old son. He attended his final regular session of the board Jan. 24. Several attempts to reach him by phone to discuss the new appointment Wednesday were unsuccessful.
Effective with last year’s mandated redrawing of the electoral map, District 2 now includes the northeast corner of Naperville. The district is unique in having no incumbents on the ballot in November’s general election. Pat O’Shea, a board member for the past dozen years, is running for a seat on the 18th Judicial Circuit Court bench. Jeff Redick, who has been on the board since 2006, was appointed to the Illinois Tollway board last fall and will not seek a new term either.
At least one of those who hope to fill the three available seats next fall has questions about the integrity of Sheahan’s job shift.
“This County Board member is taking this job with Navistar, leaving his government post to oversee government affairs there,” said Democrat Liz Chaplin of Downers Grove, a former DuPage Water Commission member who is in her second campaign for the County Board, running unopposed in next month’s primary. “How deceitful to tell people he’s leaving to be with his 1-year-old son.”

Another Appointment for a County Board Member Leaving Before Term Ends

Brien Sheahan is not leaving his post as a DuPage County Board member due to family or being too busy.  Brien Sheahan has been hired by Navistar as Personnel Director of Government Affairs.