Community Development / Economic Development / Fiscally Speaking / Government

Maywood Seeking To Re-Zone Some Areas; ‘Missing’ $1 Million Budget Item Wasn’t Missing, Says Village Official

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An aerial image of the business industrial park zoning district on Saint Charles Road, which Maywood staff is recommending be rezoned to accommodate certain special uses and remove others. | Screenshot of Village of Maywood memo

Tuesday, March 22, 2016 || By Michael Romain 

Some Maywood residents and businesses should anticipate minor rezoning changes to their properties if a proposed series of staff recommendations are approved by the Board of Trustees.

Maywood staff members are seeking to update the village’s current zoning ordinance, which was adopted in 2008 and last updated in 2014. The changes will be made “in certain neighborhoods in order to reflect the best uses of the land and create future growth,” according to a memo drafted by Karl Palmquist, the village’s zoning officer and planner.

Staff members say the changes are also consistent with recommendations made in the village’s comprehensive plan, which was approved in December 2014.

According to the staff recommendations, one area, the business industrial park zoning district (BIP) on Saint Charles Road, would be rezoned to accommodate additional smaller manufacturing uses like warehouses, contractor storage yards and auto rental establishments. Other uses, such as day care centers, drive-thru facilities and restaurants, would be removed from the list of special uses in that BIP district.

Another area, a two-block expanse from 7th to 9th Avenues between Legion and Wilcox Streets, would be changed from a multi-residential district (R-5) to a general manufacturing district (M-1).

In addition, a two-block area bounded between 2nd and 4th Avenues and Wilcox and the Illinois Prairie Path would be rezoned from a multi-residential to a general manufacturing district, which was its historical classification before the village rezoned it in 2008 in anticipation of more residential development in the area.

“These areas have always been manufacturing in nature from the era when the railroad line passed through that section of the village,” Palmquist’s memo states.

“These blocks were rezoned to residential in 2008 in [anticipation of the area receiving] residential development. The plans for residential development never came to be realized, and the inquiries received by staff for proposed uses in these blocks are generally for manufacturing type uses.”

At a March 9 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting, Assistant Village Manager David Myers insisted that the proposed changes would “not authorize any type of residential homes that have been cut up to be multifamily homes. We’re not authorizing that.”

Myers also noted that at least one person with a property in the Wilcox areas has approached village officials about rezoning the space from residential back to general manufacturing.

A portion of 6th Avenue south from Saint Charles Road to Oak Street, which is “residential in nature but was rezoned [into a BIP district] in 2008,” would be returned to residential.

“This block has had more demand for residential purchases and the properties still have residential structures on them,” said Myers.

“On the 100 block of 6th Avenue, there is a single family home that’s currently zoned BIP. You’re going to put a commercial business in this residential home,” he said, describing some of the difficulties in the current zoning ordinances that staff is trying to resolve.

“This is about going back [and] cleaning up the zoning ordinance as it relates to the comprehensive plan,” said Myers, before noting that there are other areas within the village where zoning classifications don’t align with the comprehensive plan and that may not be zoned to reflect best use of the land and future growth creation.

Myers noted, however, that staff won’t move to change those problem areas in the near future unless there was actual interest from proposed developers.

“There’s no need to put residents in an uproar, saying we’re changing their zoning if we don’t have a developer,” he said. “When a developer comes forth, that’s when we can revisit [the comprehensive plan] and make changes [to the zoning ordinance].”

At the March 9 LLOC, the board voted unanimously to move the recommendations to the village’s Plan Commission/Zoning Board of Appeals. Trustee Antoinette Dorris was absent at the time of the board’s vote.  The plan commission will deliberate on the matter and offer its own recommendation during a March 22 meeting.

“We’re going to take this to the plan commission and talk about these items in detail, block by block, and I also strongly want to have an open house and invite residents in, so they can see exactly what’s taking place,” Myers said. “After that, we’ll have a public hearing before it comes back to the board at an LLOC meeting.”

Finance Head: No ‘Missing’ $1 Million Budget Item

At a Feb. 24 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting, some members of the Maywood Board of Trustees expressed shock at realizing that a series of FY 2016 budget amendments appeared to show a doubling in the amount of money budgeted for the mayor and trustees office and, perhaps most shocking of all, a $1 million discrepancy between the FY 2015 and FY 2016 budgets.

“The reason for this amendment is because the revenues hadn’t come in as predicted and we had to decrease those by a little over a million dollars,” Lanya Satchell, the village’s finance director, explained at the time. “A budget has to be balanced. If we reduce our revenue, we also then have to reduce our expenses by the same amount.”

When asked at the LLOC meeting to explain the $1 million discrepancy, Satchell said she couldn’t recall how the financial oversight happened.

She said the total — $1,003,229.82 that was supposed to be budgeted in central services to pay for village employees’ health insurance — was not in any line items.

At a March 9 regular board meeting, Satchell said that she couldn’t recall how the money may have been missed in the budget process, “because it really didn’t get missed.”

“What happened was there were things going on at the end of the fiscal year related to health insurance and I thought this line was over, so I spoke with our accountant, who indicated that the line item was underfunded,” she said.

She said after backtracking and talking with each department head about their respective budget line items, she realized that “each of the lines were adequately funded for the insurance [for each department], but the actual payments were being paid out of one line, so that [was partly why the health insurance line item looked off-balance].”

At the Feb. 24 meeting, trustees were also surprised that the president’s and board of trustees’ line item, which had originally been budgeted for $15,000 last fiscal year, was increased to $38,800 for FY 2016.

At the time, Satchell said the roughly 89 percent increase in funds spent over those that were budgeted were largely due to contractual and professional services in the mayor’s office, by which she meant the contracted temporary workers hired intermittently to fill in for the mayor’s executive secretary when she was either sick or overwhelmed with work.

At the March 9 meeting, Satchell clarified that overage was due largely to the fact that there was no money budgeted to cover the contract work. The $15,000, she said, “was specifically to cover the recording of the board meetings, so anything outside of that would cause the line to go over.” VFP

C O M M U N I T Y  E V E N T

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