Lincolnwood Village Board of Trustees meeting Sept. 20
by SEAN KEENEHAN
The Lincolnwood Village Board of Trustees at its meeting Sept. 20 directed the village attorney to prepare an ordinance that will allow solid fences of up to 8 feet tall on homes adjacent to the Commonwealth Edison and former Union Pacific property bicycle and pedestrian paths.
The Plan Commission had recommended allowing fences up to 10 feet tall for the homes. The village code does not allow solid fences along the rear lot lines of residential properties, and the maximum fence height permitted in the village is 6 feet.
Trustee Jesal Patel said that a 10-foot fence would be "prison sized" and cited the varying characteristics of the residential properties, and he moved to reduce the maximum fence height to 8 feet. The ordinance would not prevent a property owner from requesting a variance to build a taller fence.
"Currently a variance can be asked for on any of these items," Patel said. "This is to allow a minimum across the board, and then if someone needs more than that they can certainly come and ask."
The village board tabled a recommendation by the Plan Commission to adopt a new comprehensive plan for the village. The plan serves as a guide for future decision making in the village on issues that include land use and development, and it is updated every 15 to 20 years. The current plan was adopted in 2001 and amended in 2006 to include the Lincoln Avenue plan.
A nine-member citizen committee was formed to work on the new plan with consultant Houseal Lavigne Associates in March of 2015. The Plan Commission is required under state law to hold hearings on a new plan, and three hearings were held at which issues including aesthetics, grant funding, alley vacation, parking and multi-family housing were discussed.
The commission voted 7-0 at the third hearing on May 25 in favor of the new plan, which includes seven recommendations relating to multi-family redevelopment, residential development, commercial development, pedestrian mobility, public transportation and parks.
Trustee Ronald Cope disagreed with terms of the residential development portion of the new plan and said that the plan should be more specific about encouraging multi-family developments and mixed-use developments along commercial corridors and which commercial areas of the village the plan refers to. Cope said that the village is predominantly a single-family community and, referring to building multi-family properties along Lincoln Avenue, said that "it is not a good idea" to allow multi-family residences in commercial areas.
Cope and Patel disagreed with the plan encouraging multi-family developments and mixed-use developments along commercial corridors in the village, which the plan says can include traditional apartments or condominiums, senior housing or multi-family residences as a component of mixed-use development.
Cope also questioned whether senior developments should be an appropriate goal of the plan, saying that there are more than 600 senior units in the village which place a strain on resources due to ambulance calls.
The proposed comprehensive plan can be viewed online at http://www.hlplanning.com/portals/lincolnwood/documents/.
The trustees also approved a special use and variations that will allow Airoom Architects and Builders, 6825 N. Lincoln Ave., to eliminate head-in parking on the site along Lincoln Avenue and add off-street parking but tabled an ordinance to vacate a portion of Keystone Avenue adjacent to the business. Village attorney Steve Elrod said that a vote of five of six trustees is required under state law to approve the vacation, and because only four trustees were present, the ordinance was tabled to the Oct. 5 board meeting.