Ward Meeting Minutes

The 3rd Ward meeting takes place on the second Wednesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. at Prairie Lakes Community Center. Please sign up for my eNewsletter to get the latest information about the meeting. Thank you to volunteer Ruth Bethscheider who takes minutes. The following notes are an informal account of these meetings.


Fall Minutes


Summer Minutes


May 8, 2013

You can download the minutes from this meeting that featured guest Fire Chief Alan Wax. We covered topics: Des Plaines flood, West Park arrest, Emerald Ash Borer and future off-site meeting locations. Meeting minutes from May 8, 2013.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

In attendance: residents; Alderman Matt Bogusz

What the City Council would like to do with the Sim’s Bowling property...


Midwest Bank owns the property.

The City of Des Plaines made the only offer.

The majority of the City Council voted to buy the property for around $800,000 for a property that was worth $2 million two years ago.

TIF1 is the only district that is solvent—others are in the red.

In the past budget battle, the subject of the city’s bond debt was discussed, and determined to be too high.

Tax bills are going up in Des Plaines.

The city just eliminated 38 employees from the payroll.

The State of Illinois is cutting back on money allocated to the city by $1.3 million.

The property comes with a $40,000 back-tax bill.

It would cost $100,000 to tear down the property, backfill and pave the lot.

The bowling alley has been gutted and scavenged, and would cost at least $600,000 to make it usable again.

City staff were tasked with finding a way to pay for the property

The adjacent TIF property was not showing a profit, and funds had to be transferred from TIF1 to TIF2. Fund are no longer available in TIF1.

The city will issue a bond debt to be voted upon at the March 15 City Council meeting.


Where the City Council stands

For: Haugeberg, Higgason, Robinson

Opposed: Argus, Bogusz, Wilson

Undecided: Brookman, Walsten

Mayor is in favor of purchase.


Resident Input

Q: How much will be bond be?

A: $900,000 not including the cost to demolish the building and convert the land to a parking lot.

What is the reason the city wants to buy the property?

The Council feels the development of the Kinder property did not maximize its  potential, and doesn’t want it to happen again.

Pearson to River is now not as desirable because the corner lot is occupied.

The entire strip is viable, but many properties exist between Midwest Bank and the Heritage.


Q: Are we going to start a new TIF?
A: No.

Q: Who in the Economic Development Commission is pushing this sale?
A: Mike Conlon, Director of Community Development, identified the property sale as something the city should look into.

The property can’t be sold to developers with a dilapidated building.

A level lot would be more desirable to future developers.


What is the best-case-scenario for this purchase?

The economy will improve.

The strip where Sim’s sits will be purchased at a profit to the city

The land will be converted to mixed-use.

The properties will be profitable.


Q: Is the prospect of the casino what Aldermen who are in favor of the Sim’s purchase are hoping will generate interest from developers?
A: No.

Q: When will TIF1 expire?
A: 2021


Miscellaneous comments from residents

If it’s the land the city wants, then they should buy the land and not the building.

We should let the bank continue to own the property and maintain it.

We’re all going to have to pay for it eventually.

We shouldn’t use TIF to make a hole in the ground but rather to improve the neighborhood as TIFs are designed to do.

Stores that are eventually built on the Ellinwood strip won’t fill up anyway as shown by the Metropolitan Square development.


What residents can do

Residents should think about how this purchase will help us or hurt us if we do it.

Residents with opinions about the purchase should attend the March 15 meeting.

Residents who live in the Wards where aldermen are undecided, should make their opinions known to them.

Residents can e-mail comments to Matt Bogusz.


Summer 2010 Bike Race in the Villas

Alderman Wilson and the Mayor are in favor of this new event.

The Villas are a good location if the residents buy-in to the idea. There are logistical problems, and if the residents don’t want it, the event won’t happen.

The free event is being organized by a non-profit cycling organization.

Residents on the inside loop will be free to come and go during set windows of time during the race.

Potential benefits

Street improvement will need to take place to make the course safe for cyclers.

Charitable donations will be made from the proceeds of the event. 



Wednesday, February 10, 2010

In attendance: residents; Mike Conlon, Des Plaines Zoning Director; Alderman Matt Bogusz

Des Plaines 101: Form-Based Zoning Code


Zoning regulations came in during the Industrial Revolution. 1916 was the first attempt to separate industrial from residential and commercial buildings.

Current code created 12 years ago

New code will focus on how a building is built (form)  rather than how it is used (function)

Process of creating new code

Every street in Des Plaines was evaluated for aesthetics

Des Plaines’ building needs evaluated for next 10 years

Energy needs evaluated in order to build a sustainable community

Focus on preserving unique character of Des Plaines

Focus on what’s important to Des Plaines



There could be some commercial areas that would support residential communities

OK to mix housing and commercial buildings as long as they are compatible


Craftsman Commercial

Can we allow some commerce within residential homes?


Software developers & architects-contemporary

Live/Work Units: office downstairs, live upstairs


New Housing Categories

Cottage House A – small, postwar, modest (English, Tudor)

Cottage House B and C – medium, postwar (Bungalow, Split, Raised Ranch)

Manor House A – larger (American Four-Square, Victorian)

Manor House B – larger (Georgian)

Manor House C – larger (1970s Ranches and Splits)

Estate House – largest (“McMansions” or homes that replace smaller tear-downs)

Add to the tax base, nicely built

Don’t honor the character of neighborhood

Least liked among neighbors


New Zoning Code

After categories were determined, standards were re-written into a new code to be made available to developers and home builders

More user-friendly

Graphics used to show home standards

Higher level of detail for each type of house

Lot size


Parking: alley, driveway, etc.


Will specify character of neighborhood

Will create areas where large-scale construction is limited

Will allow for more green spaces connecting with trails

Will address other areas

Downtown buildings – Main Street A

Commercial buildings

Street types and surfaces



Current Problems in Des Plaines Zoning

Residential areas abut industrial areas with no buffers

Incompatible land use

R1 Zoning states any type of building can be built as long as it is under 35 feet high


Summary and Timeline

New code is still in development

Alderman decided regulating “Pop the Lid” home additions (roof torn off to add 2nd level) in favor of back-of-home build outs was too restricting

Dialogue begins in 6-8 weeks

This code will affect everyone’s neighborhood

Between some and all of the new zoning proposals will make it into the future code


Zoning Question & Answer Session

Q. Will developers still be able to build after buying half lots next to older homes on full lots with intent to tear down?

Mr. Conlon: Yes.


Q. Why isn’t the Zoning department doing something about foreclosure problems and the noise of industry next to residences?

Ald. Bogusz: The current state of the economy is something all departments are dealing with. The Zoning Department is making use of the down time (less permits are being requested now) to update the zoning code so we’re prepared for the time when the economy makes an upswing.

Mr. Conlon: The reason housing prices in Des Plaines are lower than surrounding areas without industry is because of the proximity to railroads, highways and the airport. Most of these industries were here first, and Des Plaines homes built up around them.


Q. When will the Oakton Corridor undergo a facelift?

Mr. Conlon: It depends on the economy now. When new development and tenants take over, the beautification can happen.


Q. Do we want the city to control what people can build?

Resident input: OK as long as zoning code is easy to read and implement. OK since zoning has always regulated what people can build and as housing stock ages, preserving the integrity and character of neighborhoods becomes more important.


General Question and Answer Session

Q. Who is responsible for leaves that fall from Prairie Lakes trees?

Overhanging branches are property owners responsibility. Ald. Bogusz will check with Park District to see how much they can do to minimize impact on residents.


Q. Why did Des Plaines inspectors leave cars running several years ago?

Things have changed since then and the city is more conscious of energy conservation now.