Lincolnwood Village Board of Trustees meeting March 18
by CYRYL JAKUBOWSKI
The Lincolnwood Village Board of Trustees at its meeting March 18 took no action on a request by Airoom, 6825 N. Lincoln Ave., to eliminate parking restrictions on Keystone Avenue after hearing comments from residents who oppose the proposal.
About 30 residents attended the meeting, and Mayor Gerald Turry reminded them that the issue being considered is whether to remove the parking restriction and that allowing parking on Keystone would be a separate issue. Turry said that he understands why people are concerned but that he also wanted to give the owner of Airoom a chance to be heard.
"The purpose of this is to give people the right to be heard and not to prevail," Turry said. "Just as you will get the right to be heard, the board may decide that they wish to remove the restriction when you don’t want it removed."
Airoom owner Michael Klein asked the village to create parking for his employees on Keystone adjacent to his property. The section of Keystone which curves southwest to meet Lincoln Avenue runs along the Airoom property. The street is residential north of that point.
The Traffic Commission discovered that a 1995 ordinance approved a zoning variation which allowed Airoom to build an addition and also prohibited parking on the street or on the village right of way. Airoom had asked that parking be allowed on the village parkway.
The village Zoning Board of Appeals voted 3-1 to recommend removal of the restriction because the village would be able to use a process for creating parkway parking that was not established when the conditions were imposed. At that time the village did not have rules regulating landscaping requirements and the use of parkways for parking.
Village community development director Timothy Clarke said that in 1995 the village’s joint Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals recommended that the variation be approved with the condition that landscaping be installed and that parking on Keystone be prohibited.
Residents expressed concern about the plan for about 25 minutes. One resident said that he opposes allowing parking on the street because it would set a precedent that would allow other businesses to apply for parking on residential streets.
Other residents said that the board should not provide favors to a business but should work on behalf of its citizens. A resident said the village board has revisited the same proposal numerous times.
"Tax laws, voting laws, smoking laws and gun laws all change, and you’re not locked in by boards of the past and legislators of the past," Turry said. "We have to contend with those changes and try to make a sensible vote on this particular issue."
Trustee Nicholas Leftakes said that because Airoom has grown and is a successful business it should provide parking off site. "He has the opportunity where the residents really don’t, and I don’t think we should make the change," Leftakes said.
"I’m not interested in taking anything from the village or anything from the residents," Klein said. "The only thing we are interested in is working with the village to reorganize the Keystone street from Lincoln Avenue to our alley and not to go back into the residence area to find an efficient way to park."
Trustee Renee Sprogis-Marohn said that the residents often clash with business owners about parking in residential areas and encouraged people to be a part of a solution and compromise.
"We don’t want to create an adversarial situation, and quite frankly your neighborhood will not improve with parking regardless what is going on, because Airoom is not leaving and parking is not going to get better by doing nothing," Sprogis-Marohn said.
When Turry asked for a motion to vote on the matter, none of the trustees made a motion.
Also at the meeting, the board amended the village code to allow the use of polyvinyl chloride fences. The village code previously did not allow the use of "plastic or synthetic materials" in fences.
The code was amended after a request for a variation last year that would permit the construction of a polyvinyl chloride fence in the rear yard of a home. The trustees tabled the request twice because they wanted to inspect the quality of the material and the full board was not present.
However, since then the petitioner has asked that consideration of the request be delayed to this year to allow the Plan Commission to consider an amendment to the village code that would obviate the need for a variation. The Plan Commission voted 6-0 to recommend permitting PVC materials with restrictions on quality and color of the plastic.
The trustees also approved an ordinance amending the village code requiring pawn shops to document the purchase and sale of specific in order to protect crime victims and to prevent the sale of stolen property. Pawn shop owners will be required to file an electronic report identifying each item that is purchased or sold by their business.
The board also amended the village code to allow reserved street parking for disabled people after a resident said that parking in front of her home is sometimes taken by another vehicle with handicapped license plates. The cost of a space is $40 per location, and they must be renewed each year.