December 3, 2012
Meeting of Buffalo Grove Board of Trustees
Report by Leon Gopon
I went to the Buffalo Grove Board meeting last night. After the meeting, I had a brief conversation with Trustees Trilling and Berman regarding the status of fact-gathering on critical issues related to the downtown project.
At the meeting, there was no mention of the Downtown project. Closest thing to it was the Board’s vote to approve the forthcoming year’s budget (which has money in it to do the preliminary data gathering and determine potential Village impact for the project).
In the conversation I had with the Trustees (mostly with Trustee Berman) here’s what happened:
1. Awaiting project details from Malk: The Trustees still do not have many details about the project from the developer. That’s because there is a circular path that has to be traveled to be able to draw any conclusions. The developer has to get some commitments from possible tenants for the downtown project. But he needs to have a marketing agreement from the village of Buffalo Grove to be able to solicit tenants. BG is holding back on that approval until it gets more details from the developer as to exactly what the project will consist of. But the developer can’t give that answer until he solicits tenants. So it seems like things are in a “what came first, the chicken or the egg” circle right now. Plus, the developer has gone to Vietnam on vacation. Nothing is really happening at this time.
2. Trustees cautious. The Trustees are being careful of keeping everything very transparent for the residents. This is why they presented the original proposal at a public Board meeting and not a closed-door executive session (which is what staff originally proposed). Almost all Trustees are being very cautious about taking a stand on the project because of the many things that have to be considered before any decision can be made.
3. Referendum may be acceptable. Having a referendum is still an open issue with the Board and it is very possible that because of the magnitude of the project that a referendum could be acceptable to the Board. Past history may have an impact on this decision. However, Trustee Berman did repeat that we have to “live for the future not the past”. Trustee Berman commented that having a petition for a referendum may be precipitous at this time, because when the referendum point is discussed by the Board, they could quite possibly vote to have a referendum without a petition being circulated. If we have a referendum too early and it is rejected, we lose any leverage we have for one later. Instead we may want to continue to lobby the Board to vote for a referendum when they decide to get a yea/nay vote on the project (which may be a while from now).
4. Concerns about destroying municipal buildings. Trustee Berman expressed some concern over the destruction of the municipal buildings which would be displaced by the downtown project. The other Trustees also have this concern. So there would have to be accommodation regarding this point by taking a second-look at the downtown plan being proposed.
5. Shared concerns with Save Buffalo Grove. All the concerns I mentioned to Trustee Berman that our Save Buffalo Grove group has about the project are the same he and the rest of the Trustees have. Again, he said The Trustees will not approve a project that doesn’t have all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed and the Village is indemnified to ensure we aren’t left in the lurch. If the Trustees have any concerns that aren’t properly addressed, they will not approve the project.
I saw the Trustees go through this type of consideration at the Board meeting last night when they were about to vote on an ash tree removal contract that the staff had awarded by bid when a competing low bid company brought up concerns about how the bid was let to another company. The result…all the bids were thrown out and the two low bidders were to meet with the Village and discuss the facts of the bid and re-propose their prices so the bid could be re-awarded.
6. Downtown Plan complicated, needs more data, moving slowly. In summary, downtown BG is a complicated issue that is some time away from being voted on. At this point we are a long way from a “slam dunk” that the downtown project will be approved. A lot more details and data have to be obtained and it looks like things are moving just a little faster than at glacial speed