Michael Madock was clearly relieved over approval of his River Forest development after months of scrutiny by village agencies and a series of adjustments to the original plan.
"I'm very happy," he said Tuesday. "I think it's great for the town, and great for the redevelopment of Madison Street." The project passed with one dissenting vote, from Trustee Dale Rider. Others on the board had high praise for Madock. Trustee Patrick O'Brien called it "a great improvement for Madison Street."
Village President Frank Paris commended Madock for what he termed "a classy-looking project" and expressed hope that the development would serve as an example for other developers interested in improving Madison Street in River Forest.
And, in fact, Madock, who disclosed Monday night that veteran River Forest development firm Granite Realty is a 50 percent partner in the townhome project, said that he was looking at other development possibilities on Madison.
Madock said they plan to break ground for the development in late February or early March. Construction should be complete by late 2005.
Related to the Madock project approval, trustees agreed to have further discussions on tightening up the village's legal power to sanction those who violate the letter and spirit of the the 2002 Density Ordinace. Village Attorney Jon Gilbert said that he believed the ordinance as written covered most situations which might arise from transfer of ownership, but agreed to study the issue further and report back to the board.
In other board business:
? Board members heard a presentation from Carolyn Saxton of the Oak Park and River Forest Community Foundation. The foundation is in the midst of a fundraising campaign in relation to a $250,000 challenge grant from the Grand Victoria Foundation. The community group, which has already received $10,000 from the Village of Oak Park and $5,000 from Oak Park Township, is asking for a similar amount from River Forest.
? The board authorized the purchase of four new 2005 Ford Crown Victoria squad cars at $20,649 a piece from Al Piemonte Ford.
? Village Administrator Charles Biondo informed the board that he has received a draft of an intergovernmental agreement with the Cook County Forest Preserve District covering planned work on the Lake Street Corridor East Entryway Project. That agreement should be finalized in early January after staff review. A proposed bid package will be before the board by early February.
Costs related to the March 2002 decision by former River Forest Police Chief Michael Holub to create two deputy chief positions and a later decision to eliminate one of two lieutenant positions continue to pile up.
On Sept. 30, the village received a bill from the San Francisco law firm Littler & Mendolson for $13,263.85 for legal work related to a post brief hearing with the Illinois Labor Relations Board. The ILRB is considering a charge by Fraternal Order of Police Local 46 that the village engaged in an unfair labor practice when it reduced the number of police lieutenants from two to one in September 2003.
A decision by that board is expected "sometime in December or early January," according to a memo from Village Administrator Charles Biondo.
In news related to that action, Assistant Village Administrator Steve Gutierrez said Monday that the village, through its insurer, the Illinois Risk Management Association, had spent a total of $65,282 on a lawsuit filed by two River Forest police lieutenants and a sergeant in response to the village not promoting them to newly created positions of deputy chief in May 2002. The suit was filed in March 2003.