You may have seen, been told, or have received communications from “Saving Clarendon Hills.” For clarification, “Citizens for Clarendon Hills” (C4CH) is a completely separate group and is not affiliated with “Saving Clarendon Hills”, ”Friends of Clarendon Hills” or any other Clarendon Hills-based, grassroots entities. We are pleased other groups appear to be supportive of our small town charm.
Our small and charming village has a rich history of volunteerism and community involvement. We respect all views. These new groups are exercising their rights and views independently.
Citizens for Clarendon Hills (C4CH) formed as a grassroots effort in 2011 to challenge a Village Board initiative seeking “home rule” powers, an issue that would have removed direct citizen input on certain property tax increases and would have greatly expanded the Village’s scope of taxing and regulatory powers. This was successfully defeated by referendum 86%-14%.
Since that time, C4CH has steadfastly pursued public awareness and actions to keep taxes low, to control the unnecessary growth of local governments, and to improve transparency. C4CH has sent out newsletters, and has hosted Open Houses about property tax issues, DuPage County efforts to control taxes, and others.
Some members of our C4CH Steering Committee now ably serve in elected capacities: Bruce Carlsen on the Park District Board, Ed Corcoran on the Hinsdale High School Dist. 86 Board, and Eric Stach on the Village Board. C4CH Steering Committee members also speak and function as individual residents and office-holders independently of C4CH.
If you have questions or need more information about C4CH, check out our website, or contact us directly.
It has been a busy few weeks around the Village. This email contains an update on several community plans and important meeting notifications for this week. Please consider attending these meetings.
to assist in the development of the park improvements to improve and redevelop Hosek Park.
Wednesday, April 30th
Downtown Master Plan Joint Committee Meeting
Prospect School – 100 N. Prospect Ave.
Each of the three volunteer run Downtown Master Plan Committees will present their findings and recommendations to the Village board, the Zoning Board, the Plan Commission and the public for discussion.
Other Recent Items
CLICK on each item for details
As we continue to provide information and promote awareness of local issues, while ensuring transparency and accountability of our local governmental entities, we look forward to hearing from you. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us. Our email is: CitizensforCH@comcast.net
Imagine walking out of Starbuck’s and looking north to see this sight. The DTMP draft (see below) will allow 5-story buildings along the west and east side of Prospect.
Over the past year, the Village of Clarendon Hills has been working on the “Downtown Master Plan” and the vision of the Village. There have been several community meetings along with many sub-committee meetings.
The vision is now taking shape for Clarendon Hills. It’s important for residents to see the plan and the “New Clarendon Hills.” There are two upcoming meetings residents may want to attend to have a voice in “the vision.”
DTMP Economic Development Subcommittee
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
7:00pm Village Hall
The comments collected during that evening will be used to refine and complete the proposed revised master plan for the Village.
Illustration Development Workshop
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
7:00pm Village Hall
Legat Architects will be conducting a workshop to develop illustrations of our downtown public spaces based on the current downtown master planning discussions.
Draft DTMP Plan
The numbers denote the number of stories allowed under the DTMP. For example, 5=5-stories.
Please mark your calendars for the February 5th and11th meetings.
Now is the time to expect our local governments (Village, Park and Schools) to operate in a lean and efficient manner.
Now is the time to expect our elected officials to exhibit prudent fiscal management and cost control measurers.
And now is the time our elected officials should embrace a culture that promotes fiscal responsibility by adopting annual tax increases ONLY AS A MEASURE OF LAST RESORT.
Consider attending the following upcoming meetings when our Village, Park District and School Districts vote on their annual tax increases. There is a portion at the beginning of the meeting where anyone can speak to our elected officials. Below are the dates, times, and the tax increase for tax capped funds being considered by each entity.
School District 181 (2.79% increase) Monday, December 9th 7:00pm Elm School – 6010 S. Elm Street, Burr Ridge
Clarendon Hills Park District (2.66% increase) Thursday, December 12th 7:00pm Park District – 315 Chicago Avenue
Clarendon Hills Village Board (2.86% increase) Monday, December 16th 7:00pm Village Hall
School District 86 (0% No Increase) Monday, December 16th 7:00pm Hinsdale South – 7401 Clarendon Hills Rd, Darien
Citizens for Clarendon Hills strongly recommends a flat property tax levy (0% increase) for the next fiscal year, for all local taxing jurisdictions.
Our recommendation is based upon the following principles and represents an emphasis in a governing culture of fiscal transparency and accountability.
- Hold the line on staffing costs & eliminate non-essential personnel
- Challenge & justify operating costs and all cost increases
- Eliminate excessive & unjustifiable reserve balances
Adherence to a these 3 principles is required for a shift away from the long overdue, ”spend-it-or-lose-it”culture. A strong governing culture of fiscal transparency and accountability will only occur when demanded by residents and taxpayers through your presence and voices at local board meetings - and at the voting booth.
Sound policies must restrict increases in levies/property taxes only as a tactic of last resort. In order for civil servants to increase the level of accountability and transparency to taxpayers, actual spending must be challenged line by line. Justification by civil servants to extract additional tax dollars based merely on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increases, is irresponsible.
A flat property tax levy (0% increase) is possible without cutting service levels in schools and local governments. Non-specific scare tactics which threaten the possibility of drastic service cuts have been the traditional means to maintain the ”tax and spend”culture. Fear should not be used as a tool against the challenge and success of operational efficiencies, cost containment, staffing efficiencies, process improvements and shared services. We can maintain services and improve quality in government, in the exact same manner as the private sector - via smart work and hard work.
Taxpayers must educate themselves to avoid diversionary tactics used by civil servants to inoculate against negative reactions to their tax increases. A common example is: ”The average homeowner should only see a $ ### increase in their annual property tax bill”. Any unnecessary increase is a bad increase -which compounds year after year.
C4CH invites taxpayers, residents and business owners attend local school, village and park district board meetings to show support for a flat property tax levy (0% increase) and demand transparency and accountability with our tax dollars.
Citizens for Clarendon Hills (C4CH) recently invited DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin to speak at its November 13th meeting at Walker School where more than 30 elected officials from 8 local jurisdictions listened and shared ideas. The event drew over 120 residents and participants from the DuPage County Board, College of DuPage, School District 181, Hinsdale High School District 86, Clarendon Hills Park District, Gower School District, and Villages of Clarendon Hills, Oak Brook, Westmont and Downers Grove.
C4CH and Chairman Cronin agree that local government should examine ways to control costs and improve efficiencies. During his remarks, Cronin emphasized the need to determine the most optimal and cost effective ways to provide services, while eliminating overlap and duplication. This fiscally responsible approach has saved taxpayers millions of dollars during his term through shared services, holding the line on property taxes and eliminating pension sweeteners associated with employee benefit packages.
C4CH member Andy Schmidt added that a flat property tax (or a zero increase) is possible without cutting service levels. Flattening the revenue stream to curtail “a tax and spend mentality” has to start with recognition that there is limited tolerance for further increases and without the fear of draconian service cuts. He noted that Chairman Cronin achieved a zero property tax increase 4 years in a row and that other jurisdictions have done so without impacting service levels. Schmidt said that “fear should not be a weapon against the challenge and success of efficiency improvements. We can maintain services and improve quality in Government in the exact same manner as the private sector – via hard work.”
Ed Corcoran, Vice President of High School District 86 and chairman of the finance committee there added this after the seminar, “we should not take one penny more from taxpayers than we need, and the padding or gaming of the levy process can be stopped locally and instantly with good leadership”.
Last week’s meeting with DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin was very informative. Over 120 residents and elected officials from Clarendon Hills, Hinsdale, Oak Brook, Burr Ridge, Darien, Westmont and DuPage County attended the meeting. We will be sending and posting a summary of the meeting in a few days but wanted to pass along some important information about this coming week.
Three different boards will be discussing or approving their 2013 tax levy increases. All the boards are subject to the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL).PTELL limits the taxing body’s ability to extend an increase in tax revenue by the prior year’s Consumer
Price Index (CPI) or 5%, whichever is less, plus the percentage of new property. The prior year’s CPI is 1.7%
In addition, the Village is hosting an open house for the Downtown Master Plan initiative. Here are the key dates and locations of meetings this week.
Monday, November 18th
Village of Clarendon Hills
Board Meeting 7:00pm Village Hall
* First consideration of the 2013 Tax Levy – The Village Board is proposing a 2.86% increase in taxes this year (2nd consideration and vote at the December 16th Board Meeting)
School District 181
Board Meeting 7:00pm Elm School – Burr Ridge
* Discussion of the 2013 Tax Levy – The School Board is proposing a 2.79% increase in taxes this year (approval at the December 9th School Board Meeting)
High School District 86
Board Meeting 7:00pm Hinsdale Central
* Approval of 2013 Tax Levy – The School Board is considering one of the following increases:
1) 1.7% increase
2) 1% increase
3) 0% increase
4) 1% decrease
Wednesday, November 20th
Village of Clarendon Hills
Downtown Master Plan Open House Meeting
7:30pm – 9:30pm Village Hall
* Three DTMP Subcommittees will be hosting an Open House in the Village Board board room. During this open house event the subcommittee members will be sharing their work and seeking community input.
If you are unable to attend these meetings, please click HERE for contact information for elected officials. Feel free to contact them regarding their proposed tax increases or the Downtown Master Plan.
Also, watch for the summary of our November 13th Tax Meeting with DuPage Country Chairman Dan Cronin.
“Zero Property Tax Increase-Why Not?”
Wednesday, November 13th
Clarendon Hills, Illinois
DuPage County is proposing a ZERO property tax increase for 2013, which would be the fourth straight year of freezing the levy.
DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin is looking forward to sharing the benefits of freezing property tax levies. He will answer questions and provide insight into steps and procedures to ensure your local district can achieve doing more with less.
It’s been a few months, but the condo development at 103 S. Prospect (vacant lot across from Talley’s) will be on the agenda for Monday’s Village Board meeting.
This is an opportunity for you to voice your opinion on the proposed development.
WHAT: Possible Zoning Change and Comprehensive Plan Amendment for Condominium Proposal at 103 S. Prospect Ave (a/k/a “88 Park”)
WHEN: Monday, October, 7, 2013, 7:00 PM
WHERE: Village of Clarendon Hills Board of Trustees Meeting, 1 N. Prospect
In order for this development to be built, the developer must receive relief from the Zoning Code and amend the Downtown Master Plan.
- The property is zoned as “B-1″ Retail Business District, which is designed for retail and business uses. The Code expressly prohibits residential uses on the first floor. The development seeks relief from this.
The Downtown Master Plan (a component of the Comprehensive Plan) describes this property to be developed as follows: “one-story retail development and parking. Due to the size and depth of the site, it would be difficult to fit a multiple story, mixed-use development. Additional development would be acceptable if the developer was able to accommodate parking and sensitively transition to the single-family homes to the south”; “Develop 4,000 square feet of retail or restaurant. Consider 2 to 3 story mixed-use building with sufficient parking and transition / buffer to adjoining residential.”
In order for the development to move forward the, Village Board must make an exception (approve a variance) to the Zoning Code and change (amend) the Downtown Master Plan.
If approved, this exception, or change to the Zoning Code and Downtown Master Plan, could be precedent setting for future downtown developments.
After multiple reviews and meetings, both the Zoning Board and Downtown Design Review Committee have unanimously approved this development.
This action is being considered even though the Village continues its 2013 “Downtown Master Plan” update. The Village and several volunteers have spent countless hours since 2012 to examine the future of Downtown Clarendon Hills.
This parcel, located at the northeast corner of Prospect and Park, is undeniably acknowledged as a key “Gateway” entrance point to our Downtown. It is a major focal point.
Background with DTMP (Downtown Master Plan)
- In December 2012, the Village started a community-wide process to amend the DTMP:
“[T]he Village Board gave the nod … to review and update the Village’s various downtown planning documents so that they can better serve as a guide for future development in downtown Clarendon Hills. * * * The process will include multiple opportunities for public input and participation.” – Village Press Release 12/17/2012
- Throughout 2013, DTMP Review has been underway with several committee meetings.
- Many residents are volunteering their time serving on Land Use, Design, and Economic Development Committees.
- The Village this Spring held two community-wide meetings to get input from ALL residents.
- The goal has been to maximize resident input to come up with an updated DTMP and residents are continued to be asked, “What do YOU want for YOUR downtown?”
- DTMP REVIEW IS STILL IN PROCESS AND HAS NOT BEEN COMPLETED.
- Should the Village amend the Comprehensive Plan for this development while DTMP Review is underway?
- Should the Village allow a variance to the Zoning Code for this development while DTMP Review is underway?
- If this project is approved, what ripple effect, if any, will it have on how the rest of our Downtown will look?
- Has this application satisfied all applicable standards as it has gone through the process thus far?
- Should the Village do a current traffic and safety study for the Prospect/Park Avenue intersection and the impact of this development?
- Is this three-story, 8-unit condominium building an appropriate development for our downtown at this time?
Now is the time to voice your opinion on this development. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.