103 S. Prospect — Monday’s Village Board Meeting

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?”


  1. Should the Village amend the Comprehensive Plan for this development while DTMP Review is underway?
  2. Should the Village allow a variance to the Zoning Code for this development while DTMP Review is underway?
  3. If this project is approved, what ripple effect, if any, will it have on how the rest of our Downtown will look?
  4. Has this application satisfied all applicable standards as it has gone through the process thus far?
  5. Should the Village do a current traffic and safety study for the Prospect/Park Avenue intersection and the impact of this development?
  6. 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.

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Getting to Know Your Tax Bill

Thank you to everyone for making Tuesday’s Tax Bill Meeting with Thereasa Cockrell a huge success.

Below is the powerpoint and handout from the meeting.  Please let us know if you have any follow up questions.

Powerpoint Presentation

Meeting Handout

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You’re Invited – Getting to Know Your Tax Bill

You’re invited to a special community engagement meeting -“Getting To Know Your Tax Bill.”  Our guest is Theresa A. Cockrell – Downers Grove Township Assessor. Please join us on Wednesday, June 12th – 7:00pm at Notre Dame Church, 64 Norfolk Avenue, Clarendon Hills, Illinois (Norfolk & Chicago Avenues).
Theresa A. Cockrell has been a life long resident of Downers Grove. She has worked for Downers Grove Township for 36 years and has been the Assessor since 1983. During that time, Theresa has taken over 400 course hours in the assessment and appraisal field.
Some of the topics that will be explored:
  • Dissecting your property tax bill
  • Understanding why taxes continue to rise
  • Ideas to lower your tax bill
Below is a graph of the tax increases over the past 11 years for the Village of CH, CH Park District, School District 86 and School District 181.  Find out which entity belongs to which graph at this special meeting.

We hope to see you on Wednesday, June 12th – 7:00pm at Notre Dame Church, 64 Norfolk Avenue, Clarendon Hills (corner of Norfolk & Chicago Avenues).


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What’s Your Vision?

Downtown Clarendon Hills Vision Meeting 

TOMORROW – Wednesday, April 24th 7:00 p.m.

Clarendon Hills Middle School

301 Chicago Avenue


“When you close your eyes and dream, what do YOU envision…?”

The Village is seeking responses to the preceding question.

As it pertains to the central business district and the current proposed development at 103 S. Prospect, is this what you see when you close your eyes?

  Or, do you envision this?

The 2006 Downtown Plan suggests the following at 103 S. Prospect:
“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.”  


This is your opportunity to offer your opinion of how you want our downtown to look to be included in the REVISED Downtown Plan. 


Questions & Comments from March 20th Community Meeting

·      What is the maximum height of buildings in the downtown?

·      Should all new downtown buildings be required to include retail?

·      2-story unit limit please – love Clarendon Hills now!

·    What is an appropriate height for our Central Business District?   

·      How developed do we want to be? (Hinsdale vs. Westmont)

·      Buildings should not be too tall.

·      The feeling of small town should be kept.

·      Would like to see 2-story buildings.

·      The new Park Ave development, across from Starbucks, should have some retail. It’s a prime corner and w/o it having retail, it eliminates corner real estate opportunities. There are only so many corners in town. Why would we allow residential development w/o retail below?

·      Should have a natural progression from the downtown to residential areas.

.    “If you build it, they will come” is not an acceptable assumption for revenue projections. Long-term, taxpayer financing must not be the basis for new development.


This is a major “Downtown District Gateway” of the Village and so is important as to how the rest of the downtown might look.


 CLICK HERE for a handout to bring with you to the meeting.  


The proposed development at 103 S. Prospect is not in compliance with the Village’s Zoning Laws.  The developer is seeking several zoning variances, which include:

1.  a variation prohibiting residential uses on the first floor level

2. a variation to increase the maximum building height from forty feet (40 ‘) to forty-eight feet (48 ‘) – The real height of the building at the northwest corner is actually 53 feet

3. a variation to decrease the minimum transitional use setback (distance from the lot line) from twenty-five feet (25 ‘) to sixteen feet (16 ‘) for the building and ten feet (10 ‘) for a deck along the south property line


If you have any opinion or view about this proposed development and the downtown plan, it is important that you attend this April 24th meeting at 7:00 pm at Clarendon Hills Middle School.


Again, this is your opportunity to offer your opinion of how you want our downtown to look. 


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Zoning Meeting – Thursday, April 18th 7:30pm

Possible Final Zoning Meeting

103 Prospect (88 Park)  

Four-Story Condo Building

Thursday April 18th 7:30 p.m. – Village Hall

C4CH is a strong advocate of transparency and informing the residents on matters of importance that will impact our Village. 

C4CH takes no formal position about this proposal; we feel it necessary to inform the public of this proposal which is in or near its final stage.  This may be the only opportunity for residents to voice their opinion on this proposal.


On April 18, 2012, Thursday, at 7:30 PM at the Village Hall the Village Joint Zoning Board of Appeals / Plan Commission has placed on its agenda an application for zoning relief in or near its final format as described below. 

This could be the final Zoning meeting at which the public CAN OFFER input and opinion-whether in favor or against. 


Proposal Summary:
Four-story condominium building for 11 units with no retail space.



103 S. Prospect (n/k/a 88 Park)

Vacant lot

Immediately across the street from and east of the “Starbucks”  

Current Zoning:    

“B-1 Business Retail,” which expressly prohibits residential uses on the First Floor.


Application Type:    

“Special Use Planned Unit Development” in part to avoid the requirement that there be retail – not residential – on the first floor of any “B-1″ downtown building. 


Other Variances:

(1)  48′ height where “B-1″ permits only a 40′ maximum height (this additional height if approved would allow the applicant to add the fourth floor for 3 more condominiums)


NOTE:  “Real” height actually exceeds 48′ because certain roof features like chimneys are legally not included in this calculation.


(2)  23′ setback from single family detached residences to the south where the code requires a 25′ minimum setback.


Condominium size range:  2,144 SF – 3,192 SF

Condominium size average:  2,337 SF


This is a major “Downtown District Gateway” of the Village and so is important as to how the rest of the downtown might look.  If approved by the Zoning Board the next step is for the Village Trustees to approve the plan and construction could commence


Its development will likely set a precedent for the rest of the downtown.


Village Comprehensive Plan: 

The Plan calls for this property to have a “… 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.”


The Village is in the process of reviewing and updating its Downtown Master Plan, the vision for what the residents want the Village to look like; the Village wholeheartedly and actively seeks resident input on the Plan at the same time this application is proceeding.


If you have any opinion or view about this proposed development – whether in favor or against – it is important that you attend this April 18 meeting at 7:30 pm.


Please see the applicant’s key documents below:




The property had been zoned R-1 with a single family detached residence on it; circa 2006 the home was demolished by a prior developer and the property was re-zoned to “B-1″ and made officially part of the future downtown.


ZBA/PC Agenda Description: 

“Case No Z461 – 88 Park Avenue (fka 103 S Park Avenue) Request for: a) special use permit and preliminary plat of Planned Unit Development (PUD), and b) variation from Section 20.9.3.K prohibiting residential uses on the first floor level, c) variation from Section 20.9.4 to increase the maximum building height from forty feet (40′) to forty-eight feet (48′), and d) variation from Section 20.4.11.D(2) to decrease the minimum transitional use setback from twenty-five feet (25′) to twenty-three feet (23′) along the south property line for an eleven (11) unit condominium development at the southeast corner of Prospect and Park Avenues.”

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School District 181 and 86 Endorsements

The CONSOLIDATED GENERAL ELECTION for local school boards (and many other local offices) will be held

Tuesday, April 9, 2013. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Our local school boards – Community Consolidated School District 181 and Hinsdale Township High School District 86 – have contested elections; so C4CH has given particular attention to these races.

C4CH followed a controlled process (click here for an explanation of the process) to review candidates for possible endorsement, which included issuing a written questionnaire. Candidates’ answers to the questionnaire in part also provide you direct, unedited information to make your own decision. A non-endorsement does not mean opposition to any given candidate.

Below is the list of all candidates referencing whom C4CH endorses, and linked to their names are the complete, unedited answers to the questions of all who responded. If a candidate failed to respond, this is also noted.

Hinsdale Township High School District 86 (Vote for not more than 4)

Claudia D. Manley -C4CH Endorsed

Victor M. Casini – C4CH Endorsed

Dennis A. Brennan (Chose not to answer questionnaire)

Deirdre “DeeDee” Gorgol (Chose not to answer questionnaire)

Kay S. Gallo (Chose not to answer questionnaire)

Roseanne Rosenthal (Chose not to answer questionnaire)

Edward A. CorcoranC4CH Endorsed

Roger J. Kempa

Community Consolidated School District 181 (Vote for not more than 3)

Jill Vorobiev

Gary Clarin

Mridu Garg

Richard FitzgeraldC4CH Endorsed

Sarah Lewensohn

THANK YOU TO ALL WHO RESPONDED and participated; we sincerely appreciate everyone’s willingness to respond to this request. We respect and admire all who are willing to volunteer for an elected office.


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Police Consolidation Update & April Elections

Police Consolidation with Hinsdale

Residents deserve more informationC4CH still seeks detailed information about the proposed merger of police departments of Hinsdale and Clarendon Hills.  Our police provide a core, fundamental service; our still-new police station serves our Village’s needs; and our police budget comprises roughly 42% of general fund expenditures.  None of these are small issues.  To date, both long-term impacts and many small details of the merger idea remain absent.  Basic information remains “bottled up,” in part because of ongoing union negotiations where sticky Social Security and related benefit-parity issues between the two sets of police staff remain unsolved — and may be insurmountable.

Residents deserve direct input.  C4CH still believes we residents deserve direct voter input on this proposed merger by binding referendum.  At a December 2012 meeting attended by both Village Presidents, C4CH pushed for a referendum, an idea to which both Village Presidents then agreed.  However, on January 21 our Village CH Board failed to pass a resolution for any referendum (yet voted to continue investigating the merger).  The best reason stated for voting down the referendum then essentially was How can we ask residents’ for their input if we the Board don’t even know the facts?  (Hinsdale’s Board the following night withdrew the referendum from its agenda, likely as a response to VOCH.)

This is not about a mere “inter-governmental agreement” with Hinsdale; it is not an issue “too complicated” for residents; it is a major issue that warrants more sunlight and direct voter input.  As such, C4CH will continue to seek a binding referendum on the merger.

Social Security Issue Detail:  Clarendon Hills officers currently pay into Social Security and have earned future benefits.  Hinsdale on the other hand, opted out of the Social Security system in 1983.  The proposed, new police department would not legally be allowed to provide continued Social Security benefits, creating a very difficult negotiating block.  This high cost issue alone has a complexity that may need more time to figure out in an equitable manner, before further merger considerations.

C4CH is philosophically aligned with spending controls and efficiency improvements (if levels of public safety are generally maintained) and applaud the Village for investigating this issue; yet we currently remain opposed to the merger for the above reasons.  Adding to our caution are the doubts some VOCH trustees shared about the merger.  In fact, beyond mere discussion, one Board member even offered a motion to halt all subsequent action on a merger (voted down 1-5.).  The January 21, 2013 VOCH Board meeting was eye-opening for anyone who also attended the December 17, 2012 meeting where staff presented an aggressive police consolidation timeline and optimistic cost-savings estimates, all of which went completely unchallenged by the Board.

C4CH will continue to seek information on operational budgets, capital plans, details on projected spending and savings, the implementation of standard operating procedures, and more.

C4CH will continue to monitor development with the police consolidation.

April 2013 Elections

Elections are Tuesday, April 9th.  C4CH encourages voters to get informed and vote.

Likely in late February (or early March), C4CH is planning on hosting a public forum (ideally in conjunction with other civic-minded groups) for all candidates in contested local races to share their views with the public.   Questions will be delivered in advance to all candidates to allow thoughtful preparation.  The intent is to obtain clarity from candidates on the general topics of taxes, cost control, accountability and transparency.  We also hope to gain personal insight on any issues of special interest that candidates wish to present.  We believe information is important to educate voters on these matters.  We hope you take advantage of this great opportunity to meet and hear from the candidates in person.   For those unable to attend, C4CH will prepare an issues-based summary on the candidates’ positions.  MORE DETAILS ON TIME, DATE, LOCATION COMING!


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Vote YES for Electricity Referendum

C4CH joins Village in urging voters:  “Vote Yes”

on the November 6 voter referendum to support the issue of municipal electric aggregation. 

Though not a perfect system, it can and likely will benefit our residents because it opens the door to en masse competition for better rates.  If approved, it will authorize the Village to negotiate for electrical rates for residential and small commercial customers lower than what ComEd currently sells.

The referendum question will appear on the Tuesday, November 6 ballot as follows:  “Shall the Village of Clarendon Hills have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for its residential and small commercial retail customer who have not opted out of the program?”

Many DuPage County communities have recently embraced the opportunity for “electric aggregation” by its residents voting in favor of the measure by referendum at the most recent prior election:  Addison, Aurora, Bolingbrook, Darien, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Hanover Park, Hinsdale, Itasca, Lisle, Lombard, Warrenville, Westmont, Woodridge.

C4CH commends the Village Board and its volunteer review committee for researching this issue over the summer.  It will almost certainly result in a direct savings to our residents.

For more information on municipal electric aggregation we suggest the following websites:








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“Put to Bed” Doesn’t Equal “Rejected”

Thank you for all your emails.  It’s taking some time, but we are responding to each email individually.  In the meantime, some important clarification is needed.

On Thursday (10/18/2012) the Village President responded to C4CH’s October 15th Village Board meeting request to reject the $18 million Train Station Development Plan (“Plan”).  President Karaba commented that the Plan has been “Put to Bed.”  C4CH applauds and appreciates this statement.

As the President says that he and the Board “Put the Plan to Bed,” then it should be no problem for the Board to vote and formally reject the Plan at its very next meeting. An $18 million decision should also require a new Downtown Master Plan, updated target market and user needs surveys, as much has changed in the last 6 years.

Unfortunately, the Village Board and Staff actions tell a different story:

The Board has never taken any action to FORMALLY REJECT THE PLAN.

 There is nothing in Village records that states that the Plan has been “put to bed.”

Below you will find all the public records (“facts”) that confirm that the Train Station Redevelopment Plan is “alive and well.”

March 19, 2012:
The Board “accepted” the Plan (written by consultants that referred to the obsolete 2006 Downtown Master Plan when economic conditions were substantially stronger):

(a)  $18 million in taxpayer money that will fund:
(b)  Basic improvements (lighting, repaving, warming shelters)
(c)  Pedestrian underpass (with two elevators)
(d)  3-story parking garage
(e)  Additional commercial space

May 21, 2012:
The Board passed a resolution authorizing the Village to apply for grants to implement the interim “Short Term phase” of The Plan for basic improvements and the pedestrian underpass (up to $6 million of the $18 million) mentioned above.
  • The Plan states that grant money should be available for the Short Term phase.
  • The Plan states that the Short Term phase precedes the Long Term phase of The Plan.
  • The Village-drafted grant applications state that the improvements sought are “Interim” and are part of The Plan. The Plan was also part of the grant application.
  • The Village had prominently displayed the Plan on its website (until 10/18/2012).


It is clear the Village is implementing the Short Term phase.  The President actually writes that the Village is pursuing this “interim” phase.  “Interim” means transitory and temporary, prior to the Long Term phase.

C4CH has a detailed Position Paper about the many reasons why the Board should reject the Plan.  The C4CH Position Paper also offers numerous positive ideas about how to improve the train station while keeping it within a scope reflective of our Village.  The C4CH Position Paper was offered to the Board on 10/15/2012.

Over the past year, C4CH has provided residents with reasonable ideas, credible facts, and alternatives for the community to consider.  Again, we thank you for your continued support.  Future updates will discuss the Electric Aggregation Referendum on November 6th and the April 9, 2013 elections for Village Board, Park Board and School Boards.


Note:  Additional Supporting Documentation and Links Below


Note: Records summary that the plan is being implemented below

3/19/2012  Land Use Committee Meeting Minutes:

 ”2.  One of the key recommendations of the 2006 Downtown Master Plan was the redevelopment of the area southeast of the BNSF railroad tracks and Prospect Avenue into a mixed-use, transit-oriented design complex.  A new train station, additional commercial space and shared, multi-level parking were key features of that concept.  Houseal Lavigne Associates was selected to complete the planning of the redevelopment and a Project Steering Committee (PSC) was appointed to study long-range plans for redevelopment.  Due to concerns with the current commercial market and the challenges to generate the required public and private funds, the PSC determined that the long-term plan for the site is not feasible at this time.  The PSC revised its study to focus on an interim developmentconcept for the site.  Dan Gardner of Houseal Lavigne Associates highlighted concepts from the PSC’s final report for the train station redevelopment plan for Board consideration and approval.”

 3/19/2012:  Village Board Minutes – Acceptance of the ENTIRE Plan (5-0-1)

6.3  Acceptance of the Final Report of the Train Station Redevelopment Plan study to guide further efforts to improve and redevelop the area- OMNIBUS VOTE

  5/18/2012 Memo from Village Manager and Staff to village Board: 

“As you are aware, the Village recently completed and accepted a Train Station Redevelopment plan that includes long-term site redevelopment, as well as an interim proposal to improve the safety, functionality and aesthetics of the station.”

5/21/2012 Land Use Committee Minutes:

1. The Village Board recently approved the final report submitted by the Train Station Area Redevelopment Plan Committee regarding an interim development concept to improve the safety, accessibility, and aesthetics of the commuter train station. Staff is preparing an application for a grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program to help meet those objectives. The grant application requests funding for a pedestrian underpass, bicycle shelters, warming shelters, and improved landscaping.  This phase of the long-range redevelopment project is estimated to cost between $5 and $6 million. Staff will also be seeking a grant from the Illinois Commerce Commission’s Crossing Safety Improvement Program. Trustee Reid noted that this project will be financed entirely through grant funding and that there will be no cost to the Village. A resolution was presented for adoption that supports the grant request from the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program.

 5/21/2012:  Village Board resolution approved for a grant request to implement the Short Term Phase of the Plan (5-0-1)

6.5. Adoption of a Resolution Supporting an Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program Grant Request – OMNIBUS VOTE

 Village’s Grant Application to ITEP:

“The Train Station Area Redevelopment Plan was developed with funding from RTA and West Suburban Mass Transit District and input from the community, Metra, Pace and RTA. The long-term plan calls for a new station, mixed-use development and parking facilities. The planning process includes interim improvements to the site that would not conflict with future development opportunities. Elements of this interim plan are included in this grant application.”

Village Grant Application to the ICC:

“The Village received a total of $100,000 in grant funding from RTA and West Suburban Mass Transit District to create a site redevelopment plan, which is included with this application. Given the current market condition, the plan includes interim improvements that are compatible with future redevelopment.”

 Village Website Before It Changed 10/18/2012

“The planning process developed a revised long-term site redevelopment plan, as well as an interim plan to guide improvements to the site that would not prohibit future redevelopment. The Village is currently seeking grant funding forg Ann Street. The plan also incorporates a pedestrian underpass to improve accessibility to parking along Burlington Avenue.”

 The Plan Itself, p. 4:

“As mentioned, following review and discussion of the Long-term concept plan for the Station Area Development, the Project Steering Committee and Village staff concluded that while the plan was very good and reflected the ultimate vision for the site, current economic and real estate market conditions do not favor pursuing redevelopment at this time.”

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Train Station Redevelopment

Are you aware of the Clarendon Hills Train Station Redevelopment Plan?

C4CH Position on the Clarendon Hills Train Station Redevelopment Plan

C4CH’s opposition is based on key issues:

  • The Train Station project plan lacks clear, written and measurable objectivesHow can staff and officials be measured and held accountable?   What problem is millions of dollars trying to fix?
  • The Train Station project plan lacks proper user surveys to help define the scope and demonstrate a market need with a reasonable payback to taxpayers.  In fact, the Clarendon Hills 2010 Community Needs Survey’ revealed no clear mandate and eroding support. The survey also did not disclose the multi-million dollar price tag!
  • The Train Station project plan is based on the outdated & flawed Master Plan from 2006 – C4CH also calls for immediate scrapping of the “irrationally exuberant” 2006 Master Plan!

 A detailed C4CH Train Station Redevelopment Plan whitepaper is available via the following link: http://www.citizensforch.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Train-Station-White-Paper-v.8-1.pdf

The long-term, detrimental effect of municipal debt spent on inappropriate real estate ventures by government & staff is well documented in our own backyard.

Chicago Tribune has recently documented local high-debt failures:



The train station project is active and moving forward.  See Village meeting minutes from March 19, 2012 and May 21, 2012 under Committee Section “Land Use” on the Village website for official approval and subsequent approved actions:

MARCH 19, 2012 –  http://www.clarendonhills.us/minutes%20march%2024.pdf

MAY 21, 2012 -       http://www.clarendonhills.us/MINUTES05-21-12a.pdf

Other Links:

Train Station Redevelopment Plan


2006 Downtown Master Plan



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