Village Board Discusses Bike Path Addition, Tree Replacement and More

There may be some new things appearing in Oswego over the next couple months.

discussed several issues that will affect many residents over the next few months at Tuesday night's Committee of the Whole and village board meetings.

Route 34 Multi-Use Bike Path

The benefits of having a proposed path alongside Route 34 from Route 47 to Station Drive prompted questions from several board members on what role the would play in its construction and upkeep.

Village Administrator Steve Jones said the estimate cost would be around $17,000, but that the park district wants to add an additional two inches of stone base, for a total of eight inches, which would raise the cost to around $20,000, but supposedly would foster a longer life.

Funding was an area of concern, as board members questioned whether the park district would split funding evenly with the village, and how snow removal would be planned, since the path may be used as a walkway for students.

“The school will need to enter this discussion,” said Village President Brian LeClercq. “There is definitely more than one entity in this process.”

Construction would not likely begin until 2015, but for now the board must decide if adding the extra 2 inches of stone is necessary depending upon how much the Park District is willing to contribute to the process.

Hunt Club Building Elevations

Community Development Director Rod Zenner brought to the board some changes the division of Hunt Club wanted to propose before bringing the issue to the HMA.

Currently, all buildings in Hunt Club must have a minimum lot of 3,600 square feet, are not allowed to use aluminum, vinyl and other materials, and must have at least 25 percent of elevation be stone or brick. The amendment would call for homes to be allowed at the size of 2,681 square feet, use other materials, and decrease amount of brick and stone.

“It is a tough markdown,” said LeClercq. “I understand not everyone needs a 3600 square foot home. My objection is not to the home size, but to the materials, the specs on the elevations itself.”

Trustee Scott Volpe agreed with LeClercq and said he was all for a “smaller footprint” home but they would still need to look “more upscale.”

Tree Replacement Program

“We’ve had a perfect storm this year with the drought and the storms and the devastating issues with the ash borer,” said Leclercq.  

He said that many nurseries are experiencing tree shortages, which will drive prices up. Right now, for example, the village could get a tree for $75, but in 18 months it could be as high as $200. 

The original plan had been to replace about 200 trees this year. LeClercq wants to increase that to 500. , he said, could handle about 200 trees, including both planting and removal, and a contractor would do the other 300. There is no set plan, he is currently looking for proposals for both the removal and planting.

Trustee Terry Michels expressed concern that the ground was not ready for planting and the trees would go to waste.

LeClercq said that the trees had a two year guarantee and that the Village could choose whether to plant them in the fall or spring.

Trustee Judy Sollinger said she thought it was a good idea to act now and lock in the price.

The trees would be replaced systematically, staring in older areas where there was a large loss of trees earlier in the year.

 New Meeting Concepts

The board discussed the benefits to switching the times of their Committee of the Whole with the board meeting so the CoW would not run past the 7 p.m. start time of the regular board meeting.

Volpe said it would be difficult for some residents to make it to 6 p.m. meetings and suggested keeping them at 7 p.m. A suggestion of having the CoW meet every other week was discouraged by trustee Tony Giles, who said it would be inconsistent and hard for the public to follow.

A smaller meeting venue was also discussed to create a more intimate, informal setting.

“This room has been created for a power play,” said trustee  Gail Johnson of the regular board meeting room. “A more intimate setting would foster better communication. I would love to try it out.”

Before any final decisions can be made, the board must first see about getting recording equipment and enough technological hookups for their needs in the smaller room.

Approval of Villa Nova Liquor License

Police Chief Dwight A. Baird discussed the background check of both owner Kevin Parrott  and his establishment in Mattoon, Ill. Baird said that Parrott’s previous establishment had more than 70 police calls in 2011 – which is more than the combined total of the five restaurants with the most calls in Oswego last year.

“These establishments can bring a lot to the community, but we don’t want to rob our resources there all the time,” he said.

Parrott also did not pass the criminal background check, with two DUIs, one in 2004 and one in 2006. Parrott said he has not since been charged with any public intoxication since.

Parrott said he has only been the owner of the Villa Nova Mattoon establishment for one year and that a competitor often made calls to the police that were not true, but counted in his total.

Parrott also said he had never been denied a liquor license, but police reports showed he had not been given one in Charleston, Ill. because of the DUI. Parrott said he could show the board his license.

Police are going to investigate more into the background check of Parrott’s Villa Nova before any decisions are made.


Jane Enviere August 09, 2012 at 05:26 PM
This makes no sense -- there are already homes in Hunt Club that are well under 3600 sq feet. The article references lot size, not the actual home size. Then the Village President seems to start talking square footage of the residence. Honestly, at this stage of the game, if anyone is actually willing to build and move into a largely empty subdivision, I'd put as few barriers as possible on it. I'd rather flex some on building materials than continue to look at barren lots around me for the next 10 years. I love that we are worried about the meeting room venue. They built the palace on the hill and now we want a more cozy room? Really? This is the stuff we are worried about? As I've said before, Villa Nova sounds like a winner of a project. Lovely to have next to the high school. If it opens, my money is on 6 months. Any takers? lol
mike ellison August 09, 2012 at 05:58 PM
These entities are considering adding more bike trails? How bad does the economy have to be before they stop expanding? The Villa Nova guy has had excess police calls, failed a background check, is a drunk, and a liar. And they still want to consider giving him a liquor license? Unbelivable.


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