VILLAGE OF NORTH AURORA
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING MINUTES
Monday, December 20, 2021
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Village Board meeting was conducted live remotely
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Gaffino called the meeting to order.
In attendance: Mayor Mark Gaffino, Trustee Mark Carroll, Trustee Laura Curtis, Trustee Mark Guethle, Trustee Mike Lowery, Trustee Todd Niedzwiedz, Trustee Carolyn Salazar
Staff in attendance: Village Administrator Steve Bosco, Finance Director Bill Hannah, Community & Economic Development Director Mike Toth, Village Attorney Kevin Drendel, Public Works Director John Laskowski, Police Chief Dave Fisher.
AUDIENCE COMMENTS – See below
TRUSTEE COMMENTS – None
1. Recreational Vehicles
Director Toth reminded the Board that on November 15, 2021 a resident addressed the Village Board with concerns regarding the restrictions associated with the Village’s recreational vehicle provisions. The Village Board requested staff to bring back information on the Village code provisions for discussion which occurred at the December 6, 2021 Committee of the Whole meeting. The Board discussed the topic from both the perspective of the homeowner, with up-keeping the aesthetic of the neighborhoods, and the recreational vehicle owner, whether or not the Village is overregulating.
The discussion resulted in the suggestion of changing the hours residents are allowed to keep one recreational vehicle (which includes campers, motor homes, boats (and other watercraft), pop-up campers and utility trailers) in their front yard or corner side yard. The suggested changes were from “Friday noon to Monday” to “Thursday 6pm through Monday noon”, “April 15 to April 30 and October 1 to October 15” to “April 15 through April 30 and October 1 through October 15”.
The addition of “No recreational vehicle shall be parked or stored on public right-of-way” was added as well.
While some Trustees expressed that they were in agreement with the changes, Trustee Salazar expressed concerns about the proposed length of time that a resident can store an RV outside of their home. She stated that the new proposed time frame would allow RVs to be stored for half the week outside a resident’s home and this may be unsightly to neighbors.
Trustee Cutis, while stating that she was in agreement with the changes, reiterated that North Aurora is a traditional suburban neighborhood and a person with multiple recreational vehicles who would like to store them at their home may not want to choose to live in North Aurora.
Trustee Carroll mentioned that many of the neighborhoods in North Aurora are also regulated by homeowners associations and they may have stricter regulations when it comes to RV storage at a residence.
The consensus of the Village Board was to move forward with the new verbiage. Director Toth stated that this will be taken before the Plan Commission for feedback.
2. Riverfront Park Plaza
Administrator Bosco reminded the Board that in 2017 the Riverfront Park Landscaping Master Plan was completed by in-house planning consultants Teska and Associates, Inc. The plan includes many amenities such as hillside seating, a pavilion and a plaza. The concept for the Plaza near the entry way of the park behind Village Hall was finalized and brought before the Village Board in March of 2019. The concept received favorable approval but was ultimately put on hold as staff learned that the state was reevaluating dam removal projects along the Fox River. The removal of the Fox River Dam could have an impact on the millrace adjacent to the proposed plaza location as it is fed by the Fox River.
It has been two years since the concept was shown to the Village Board and the IDNR’s review of potential Fox River Dam removal is ongoing, staff wanted to reintroduce the current concept to the Village Board. Should the Board choose to continue moving forward, staff is prepared to bring agreements with Teska and Associates and WBK Engineering to the Village Board for approval that would finalize the concept and prepare all of the construction documents to bid the project.
There is currently funding in this year’s capital budget in the amount of $400,000 for this project. There is also a potential $225,000 in grant money from the state of Illinois for infrastructure projects.
Administrator Bosco introduced Jody Mariano, Principal Landscape Architect with Teska and Associates to present the current concept for the Riverfront Park project.
Ms. Mariano detailed the overall Riverfront Park concept but focused in on the plaza project as this was the first phase of the overall concept proposed to be completed.
The Board asked about the timeline and pricing of the project. The next steps of the project was to go back to Teska and WBK Engineering to finalize the concept and prepare all of the construction documents to bid the project. At that time a more detailed pricing itemization would be available. If the Board were to move forward with the project, construction could begin the winter of 2022/23.
Trustee Carroll expressed concerns about moving forward with the project not knowing what the results of the IDNR’s assessment of the dam removal would be as well as the way the economy is trending.
It was explained that the existence or non-existence of the dam and mill race does not have any bearing on the proposed plaza.
The IDNR has been reviewing the removal of the dam for eighteen months with the next scheduled update to the Village being January 18, 2022.
Mayor Gaffino stated that he believes that the plaza project is an important start to the redevelopment of the riverfront area. He also stated that the project doesn’t hinge on whether or not there is a mill race.
Ms. Mariano explained that the current condition of the bridge over the mill race is unsafe, so whether the mill race stays or goes, the safety issue needs to be addressed. If the mill race does become dry, alternative solutions to make use of that space will be explored but it will have no bearing on the proposed plaza space.
Conversation was had about alternative solutions to filling that space that may be left in the event the mill race becomes dry.
After discussion, the consensus of the Village Board was that they would like to see the project move forward however it would be more prudent to wait two months until the next projected IDNR update on the dam removal.
ADJOURNMENT TO EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion to adjourn made by Trustee Guethle and seconded by Trustee Salazar. All in favor. Motion approved.
EXECUTIVE SESSION – Personnel
RETURN FROM EXECUTIVE SESSION
Motion to adjourn made by Trustee Guethle and seconded by Trustee Curtis. All in favor. Motion approved.