Couture Tan in Sugar Grove opened in December 2012. On Thursday, they held a ribbon cutting and customer appreciation day at the new business on Route 47. There were beverages, appetizers and special incentives to sign up for tanning. Guests included Rick Montalto Sugar Grove village trustee (left to right), Nick and Amanda Carico, owners, Anna Hoffman, manager, Carly McCue, associate, P. Sean Michels, Sugar Grove village president, Rich Young, Sugar Grove Community Development director, and Steve Ekker, Sugar Grove Chamber. Photo by Patti Wilk
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Planning Commission at its special meeting on March 30 reviewed two items that were continued from the Planning Commission’s meeting agenda on March 16, including a request for variances regarding the expansion of Scot Industries’ location on Route 30.
According to Village Planner Mike Ferencak, the variances requested by Scot Industries are related to the company’s plan to expand its current building, located at 1961 W. US Highway 30, by about 90,000 square feet, which would increase the total size of the building to 230,000 square feet.
Scot Industries’ request for 11 variances was recommended for approval by the Planning Commission with a vote of 5-0. The matter was then presented before the Village Board at its regular board/Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday evening.
A document from Ferencak and Community Development Director Rich Young states that the Planning Commission’s draft conditions for the expansion include the building’s setback along Dugan Road being revised 40 feet, as well as screening for all rooftop, ground-based and wall-mounted vents, HVAC equipment and meters.
The document also states that Scot Industries’ plan for expansion is due to the additional growth the company has been experiencing.
The other item on the Planning Commission’s agenda was the village’s request for a zoning text amendment, which was again continued—this time to the Planning Commission’s meeting on April 20, when village staff will present a draft ordinance for review.
by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Groveâ€”The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday identified four Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) officers, in compliance with the updated law, which went into effect Jan. 1.
As part of the new requirements, governmental bodies are required to appoint FOIA officers to respond to all future requests for information made through the FOIA process. The Village Board named Village Clerk Cindy Galbreath, Public Works Director Tony Speciale, Police Chief Brad Sauer and Community Development Director Rich Young as the village’s FOIA officers.
The Act requires that all information held by a public body be given to anyone who asks for it, with very few exceptions. One of these exceptions is private information, such as social security numbers, home or personal telephone numbers and personal e-mail addresses. Among other FOIA changes, public information requests will not have to be written on a village-specified form and can be submitted in a variety of ways, including verbally.
The new FOIA law also requires municipalities to provide the first 50 pages of public information free of charge, and can charge no more than 15 cents for each additional page. In addition, the law requires municipalities to provide public information electronically if requested, when it is available in that format. Municipalities must also provide the requested information within five working days, as compared to seven days under the old rules.
Recent concerns raised that the e-mail addresses of e-news recipients of a public body would no longer be considered private is not something Sugar Grove residents need to worry about, Galbreath said.
â€œPlease rest assured that the village of Sugar Grove has always taken precautions to ensure that your e-mail address is private and remains private,â€ Village Clerk Cindy Galbreath wrote in an e-mail to residents. Galbreath said that Sugar Grove’s E-News database is grouped by geographic area and all addresses are classified as private.
To view Sugar Grove’s Freedom of Information Act procedures, visit www.sugar-grove.il.us/VFoiaListing.htm. To view the Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140/1), visit www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/government/index.html.
Galbreath said that if anyone has questions or concerns regarding the village’s policy, she can be reached at (630) 466-4507, ext. 24.
by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVEâ€”The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday agreed on a short-term reduction in developer fees to encourage residential growth within the village. The package includes a $5,000 reduction in impact fees and the elimination of transition fees.
The reductions will be in effect for up to 35 homes and until at least Oct. 31, 2010, with some trustees arguing for an extension to Dec. 31 of next year.
â€œI’m not confident that it will spur the economy, but I think it might encourage some people to take a look at Sugar Grove,â€ trustee Rick Montalto said.
Trustee Tom Renk agreed, and said it was a step in the right direction.
According to Sugar Grove Development Director Rich Young, the total number of buildable lots in Sugar Grove is in the 400 range. The village issued one building permit this year. Although trustee Kevin Geary said he would like to ensure that the reduction in fees is reflected in a decrease in the home price, Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said there was no way to guarantee that.
Impact fees vary by development and by the size of the home being built, with fees ranging from $3,500 to $16,000.
The transition fees, which are collected on behalf of the village, School District, Park District, Library District and township, were initiated in Sugar Grove due to the volume of growth taking place several years ago. The idea was to fill in the gap between when a new household began utilizing services and when taxes from that home reached the taxing bodies providing the services.
The amount of the transition fees also varies by development, size and price of home, from $200 to $5,800.
Eichelberger said that the cost of a failed or failing development has become more evident within the village during the past several years.
â€œBuilders and developers are struggling to survive, costing the village into the thousands (of dollars) of staff time, providing services the developer should have, and attorneys’ and engineers’ fees that will likely not get reimbursed,â€ he said. â€œIf this helps developers and builders survive, it ends up being a huge benefit to the community.â€
The board will take a formal vote on the proposal at its next board meeting.
Officials want to study the issue for six months
by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVEâ€”The Village Board on Tuesday approved an ordinance for a six-month moratorium on windmills, wind turbines and other electricity-generating wind devices.
According to village officials, the purpose of the moratorium is not to prohibit these potential energy sources, but rather to take the time out to study the issue.
â€œPassing the moratorium in no way says the village is against wind-generating devices,â€ Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said.
Trustee Kevin Geary had brought the matter before the board in recent meetings, due to questions from several heavy-power-using industrial businesses in the village.
With the move toward more green and sustainable energy sources, as well as a 30 percent tax credit in the recent federal stimulus package reducing the cost to implement the technology, more communities are taking a look at this issue, according to Community Development Director Rich Young.
Trustee Bob Bohler raised some concerns about the potential for excessive noise generation and other problems.
â€œThis gets complicated really fast, and the technology keeps changing,â€ Bohler said.
Trustee Melisa Taylor said the issue may also be complicated due to the airport nearby.
â€œThere is no way we can sit here and say today what may or may not be appropriate,â€ Eichelberger said. â€œWe want to encourage it, but encourage it in a responsible way.â€
The moratorium may be extended longer than the six months, if the Village Board determines it needs more time to study the issue.
by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Grove residents along Maple and Snow streets are among the latest group looking to the village to resolve flooding and drainage issues in their neighborhood.
Cliff Dryer was among about a dozen residents who attended Tuesday night’s board meeting to ask for the board’s help.
Dwyer said he has raised his basement two inches to help prevent flooding in his home, yet he still has three sump pumps operating non-stop.
â€œMy electric bill is almost double,â€ he said. â€œWe need some action from the village.â€
Residents noted that their problems have gotten worse since the Prairie Glen development broke ground.
When grading began for the Prairie Glen Subdivision and commercial property along Route 30, the Windham Group removed a berm and a temporary pond to the west of Dwyer’s neighborhood. Residents on Tuesday said these actions coincided with their flooding problems.
Sugar Grove Community Development Director Rich Young said the village has been working with Engineering Enterprises, Inc. to determine what Prairie Glen can do to improve the situation.
EEI’s Dave Burroughs said that his company will work with the Windham Group to remove ponding surface water on its property, which will likely help. However, he said the residents’ problems are more a result of the unusually high water table, which is a separate issue.
According to local weather reports, this has been the wettest spring in the area in more than 80 years, Burroughs said.
â€œThis is not just an isolated situation,â€ Young said. â€œThe water table is just extremely high everywhere. We get three to four calls a day.â€
Mallard Point residents also have sought village help with flooding issues.
by Susan O’Neill
Village Board members reacted favorably to a plan for a senior living facility Prism Health Care Management Group would like to build in Sugar Grove.
The one-story facility would be built on a 19-acre site on the west side of Route 47 north of Wheeler Road, with separate wings for a physical and occupational rehabilitation facility, an assisted living facility and a skilled nursing facility.
Acreage with frontage on Route 47 will be set aside for a possible urgent care center and medical offices, retail and restaurant space.
â€œThere’s a tremendous need for something like this out here,â€ trustee Mary Heineman said. â€œThis is the first one west of Randall Road.â€
Prism Health-Care Management Group Chief Executive Officer Lewis Borsellino said that the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board has determined the need for 339 skilled nursing beds in the Kane County Planning Area.
The facility would be for private pay patients, which he said is supported by Sugar Grove’s median income level.
â€œYou’ve done a great job here,â€ Village President Sean Michels said. â€œIt seems like a good fit.â€
Among its other projects, the developer of senior long-term care facilities recently completed a 58-unit senior living facility in Morris, Ill., with a 152-bed skilled nursing facility scheduled for completion in March 2010.
Sugar Grove Community Development Director Rich Young this week said the nursing home approval process is lengthy, and he does not know yet when the project would move forward.
92,000-square-foot facility to include:
â€¢ 60-bed assisted living facility
â€¢ 120-bed skilled nursing facility
â€¢ Wing for physical and
â€¢ Located on 19 acres on west side
of Route 47 north of
by Susan Oâ€™Neill
Village awards roadway lighting contract
The Village Board awarded a bid for construction of roadway lighting for Municipal Drive and Galena Boulevard extensions to Wheaton-based Thome Electric, Inc. The company’s bid came in at $110,000 less than Engineering Enterprise Inc.’s estimate of $215,000.
Director of Public Works Tony Speciale said he thought the savings was due to the competitive market. For a job that typically brings in three to five bids, Speciale said the village received 21 bids.
Construction is expected to be completed in July.
Village awards water main bid
The Village Board awarded a bid for construction of the Route 47 and Wheeler Road water main improvements to Yorkville-based H. Linden & Sons Sewer and Water, Inc. The cost came in at $890,000, approximately $350,000 lower than EEI’s estimate. Construction is expected to be complete by June 1.
The savings were realized from the amount the village expected to pay when the initial bids went out in August 2008. At that time, the easements needed to accomplish the job had not been obtained. Village President Sean Michels said the lower cost is the result of the current competitive market.
Michels recommended using the $350,000 in savings for water improvements elsewhere in the village. Two projects he mentioned were connecting the water main from Prairie Glen to Dugan Woods and from Settler’s Ridge to Mallard Point.
Update on Mallard Point study
Director of Public Works Tony Speciale told Mallard Point residents on Tuesday that Trotter & Associates is about one-half to three-quarters through the initial inspection phase of the flooding problems in their subdivision.
Speciale said the Village Board should receive a report during the first week of March on what he finds. He clarified that the 21 days allotted for the project mean 21 business days, for a total of four, not three weeks, as residents had initially thought.
Village approves easement for middle school water main
The Village Board authorized an easement agreement between the village, GG Stavros Harter and the Kaneland School District for constructing a water main out to the Kaneland Middle School on Harter Road. This is the fifth parcel for which an easement was required.
Village adopts updated codes
The Village Board adopted certain updated mechanical, fuel gas, property maintenance, electrical, plumbing building, energy and residential codes. According to Community Development Director Rich Young, the codes are in line with Sugar Grove’s Fox Valley neighbors, and the goal is to standardize them throughout Kane County.
by Lynn Meredith
One thing people can agree on is that growth, for the time being, has slowed significantly. The economy, housing market and credit crunch have all contributed to reducing the number of homes and businesses that are coming into the Kaneland area. However, each of the four Kaneland towns has a different perspective on growth for their village.
There was a time when the village of Sugar Grove issued 200 building permits in one year. In 2008, it issued 24 permits. In the past, the village saw a rise in single-family homes, with several subdivisions being developed.
â€œGrowth wasn’t as hot and heavy as in other suburbs,â€ Community Development Director Rich Young said. â€œ But for our relative size, we saw a lot of growth.â€
One large subdivision, Settler’s Ridge, finished 117 homes with 100 lots ready to be built on and land ready to be developed. With the reversal in the economy and housing market, houses are not being built at nearly the same rate.
â€œGrowth has fallen off significantly,â€ Young said. â€œThey predict that 2009 will not be much better than 2008.â€
Although three developments are still active, two that were approved but never annexed have either decided not to go forward or declared bankruptcy.
Young said that Sugar Grove has seen some activity in commercial building, with builders showing interest in future development. Still, office and commercial buildings sit empty.
The village is working with local commercial brokers to promote the village both regionally and nationally.
â€œWe’re trying to be proactive on a limited budget,â€ Young said. â€œWe should see growth ramp back up slowly and hope by the end of the calendar year of 2010 to see it start to return.â€
For a village of 750 people, the influx of a possible 3,000 homes in two major subdivisions would change the small town of Maple Park. The village set in motion plans to improve the town well, and build a new water tower and wastewater treatment plant with the money it would receive from the developers.
In addition, the village approved two strip malls on the southwestern and northeastern corners of the intersection of Route 38 and County Line Road.
All that has come to a halt.
â€œWith no impact fees, we’re left hanging,â€ said village Financial Committee Chairman Kathy Curtis. â€œWe’re running the town on taxpayers’ money.â€
For now, the village plans to paint the old water tower and apply for grants to help the aging infrastructure.
As the economy improves, so will bond prices. When that happens, Curtis said, it will be one year for developers to be able to make the improvements the town has counted on.
â€œIt will take 10 years for us to build out,â€ Curtis said. â€œWe’ll still be a small town for the next 20 years.â€
In the last five years, Elburn has seen several new commercial-manufacturing buildings and new commercial and industrial businesses. The surprising twist is that most of the new businesses came to town in 2008.
Community Development Director Erin Willrett lists 14 new businesses in 2008, including Walgreen’s, Fox Valley Driving School, Green Light Driving School, Boyce Body Werks, Munchie P’s and Good Call Plumbing Services.
In past years, there were not nearly as many new businesses. In 2003, two new businesses started in Elburn. In 2004, three businesses, Curves, Genoa Pizza and American Bank and Trust opened.
In 2005, five new businesses started, and in 2006, two, Elburn Auto Repair and Jewel, came to town. Five businesses opened in 2007, and by 2008, there were a total of 28 commercial and industrial businesses that had started in the previous five years.
Currently within the village, there are five industrial parks and one potential park for the future. In Keystone Industrial Park, 48 lots exist, and nine are vacant. In Welch Creek Business Park, 10 buildable lots exist with three vacancies.
Kaneville has a plan in place for growth in the village. It’s called the 2030 plan, and calls for not just growth for growth’s sake, but for smart growth. Its Planning Commission is working with Kane County to see what that means.
â€œWe want smart growth,â€ village trustee and owner of Hill’s Country Store Pat Hill said. â€œWe want a few businesses and a few houses.â€
Hill said that a subdivision on Dauberman Road had been dug in, ready for roads to be put in, but now nothing is going on. Ten lots had been sold out of a possible 40, but now only two have been sold. The other buyers either got their money back or lost it.
With acres and acres of prime black-dirt farmland around, Hill said she finds it a shame to build on the best farm land or on wetlands. She enjoys the thrill of farmers bringing in the Indian arrowheads they have found while working up the land.
Photo: Kevin Cookâ€™s Elburn Pack and Ship was just one of the new businesses to come to Elburn in the last year. Photo by Sarah Rivers
by Susan O’Neill
The Walgreen Company will delay building in Sugar Grove until 2012.
Until a couple of weeks ago, Sugar Grove officials had been told Walgreens would break ground for a drug store on a 2-acre site at the northwest corner of Route 47 and the Galena Boulevard extension, with plans to open by year’s end.
However, Sugar Grove Community Development Director Rich Young said Walgreens representatives said they are taking a step backward and waiting for the economy to pick up before building in Sugar Grove.
â€œWe’re told it does fit their business model,â€ Village President Sean Michels said. â€œWe’re disappointed they’re not going to open it sooner.â€
At the end of last year, the Village Board reviewed the Walgreens’ plan, as well as plans for the first phase of the 44-acre Prairie Grove Commons development, in which the store would be located. The first phase covers the portion of the property south of The Landings and north of Galena Boulevard extended, on the west side of Route 47.
Michels said the Village Board still plans to approve the annexation agreement with Prairie Grove Commons developers at the next regularly scheduled board meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 3. The agreement will include approval of the preliminary and final plat of the Walgreens site and a rezoning of the entire property for a commercial Planned Unit Development (PUD).
The developers would have to come back before the board for approval on plans for the remaining lots, those north of Galena Boulevard and west of where the Walgreens will be, as well as those south of Galena to Route 30.
Michels said the developers hope to attract some big box stores, such as Kohl’s, as well as others to the development. They had hoped that the presence of a Walgreens would be a factor in encouraging the others to come.
Although the annexation agreement does not include an economic incentive for Walgreens, the village has worked out the details of an incentive plan to attract some of the larger users. He said the incentive will be in the form of a sales tax rebate to offset some of the developer’s costs for roadway and other improvements.
Michels said the time clock for the incentive package begins running once the annexation agreement is signed. Young said the timeframe for the agreement, which gives the developers a certain percentage of sales tax receipts each year, is for a term of 14 years. He said the agreement is set up to encourage development sooner.
The Walgreen Company, which announced a new chief executive officer on Monday, unveiled a strategy in October 2008 to increase its overall performance, including slowing future store openings to focus on leveraging its more than 6,600 existing stores across the country and Puerto Rico.
According to its website, the company, which remains committed to convenient shopping for its customers through locating stores within five miles of two-thirds of all Americans, is also committed to decreasing its capital spending by $1 billion over the next three years.
â€œWe’re still hopeful that they’ll come sooner than 2012,â€ Young said. â€œThat’s what we’ve been told for now.â€