Tuesday, July 18, 7pm, the School Board will discuss their tentative budget for the new school year. As usual, the budget assumes maximum tax increases, capped only by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), this year expected to be around 2%.
The current Tentative Budget (prior to discussion) can be found here.
According to a report by Susan Sarkauskas of the Daily Herald (5/4/17), the Batavia Plan Commission came to an agreement with Shodeen on the design of the massive 1 N. Washington apartments project. Shodeen would add more red to the Wilson and River Street facades, tone down some of the yellow, match downspouts to adjacent trim colors, and add some stone trim to the roof at the corner that is supposed to remind people of the historic Baptist church bell tower they will tear down. Shodeen refused to add more masonry or make changes to the gables, which were suggested to reduce the appearance of bulk.
Their approval means the project can continue forward, following a “stamp of approval” from the Historic Preservation Commission. From the article:
“We’re not supposed to talk about traffic, parking, mass, height. It really ties our hands,” commission chairman Tom LaLonde said…..
Commissioners Wednesday repeatedly said they felt they had to vote affirmatively on the design because of the city council’s instruction.
“Obviously, that’s all we are allowed to talk about this evening is color,” Commissioner Gene Schneider said.
Former Aldermanic Candidate Carl Dinwiddie, who was at the entire meeting, commented, “This whole process has been subverted from the beginning, so this decision is no surprise.”
Update: City Council sent it back to the Plan Commission for further cooperative deliberation with Shodeen. Plan Commission was instructed to not consider the height, mass, or general design of the building, as Council has declared those aspects a done deal.
On March 15, the Batavia Plan Commission unanimously rejected the design for the massive Shodeen apartment complex proposal at Washington and Wilson in downtown Batavia. Shodeen is appealing to the City Council this Tuesday, April 11, 7:30pm (Agenda here).
The Plan Commission recommended public comments be brought straight to the City Council regarding the design, rather than take up more of their time at the Plan Commission meeting. It’s not fair that the PC holds public hearings and listens to the public, only to have the City Council overturn their decisions without being required to hear what their constituents have to say. So if you have any final comments about the building, please bring them to the City Council Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday. The design–size, color, shape, materials, etc.–could be finalized after this Tuesday’s COW meeting and then the official vote, presumably at the next City Council meeting the following Monday. The COW is where most discussions take place. City Council meetings are usually rubber stamp time. (Information packet for the appeal is here)
It is obvious Shodeen is making an end-run around the Plan Commission (Shodeen didn’t even bring in samples of materials, as every other developer does, for the Commission to review, and they got approval from the Council of “Option 2” before having gone through the Plan Commission whose job it is to review design and whose vote on design is binding, though appealable). They’re going to a Council that has already indicated they will ram this thing through no matter what. So if it’s already a done deal, why bother to comment? Because if you don’t take the time to comment, you forfeit the right to complain when it’s built.
If you can’t make Tuesday’s COW or the Monday Council meeting where it will be finalized, you can email comments using the “City Council” button at right.
Please take the time to research candidates before voting, and then vote. Election Day is April 4, 2017.
A voter guide for the Batavia local elections, contributed by Sylvia Keppel, can be found here.
There is only one contested aldermanic race for Batavia’s City Council. In that race for 1st Ward alderman, Batavians for Responsible Government endorses candidate Carl Dinwiddie.
Carl Dinwiddie’s years of effort as a Batavia watchdog served as inspiration and example for Batavians for Responsible Government. When no one else was watching, Carl and his wife were. But Carl’s comments often fell on deaf ears in the various branches of local government. Perhaps from the other side of the City Council table, his voice will have more effect. We certainly hope so.
The Daily Herald, in their endorsement of Mr. Dinwiddie, says,
The former National Transportation Safety Board investigator knows everyone in town, has religiously attended council and committee meetings and has a firm grasp on the issues. He has smarts to match his dedication. Although the votes haven’t yet gone his way, he never backs down….
…Six of the seven Batavia council seats are running unopposed. Dinwiddie says when that happens, it doesn’t give a true voice to the people. We agree, and it’s not because we have concerns about Salvati. It’s because we believe Dinwiddie has put in the research time and the effort, and he offers the best opportunity to keep high energy and fresh ideas at work on the board. He doesn’t need his resume enhanced, and he’s certainly no go-along-to-get-along resident. A fresh voice who works hard, knows the ins and outs and speaks his mind would be a breath of fresh air. Dinwiddie is endorsed.
We at BRG couldn’t agree more.
For more information on where Carl Dinwiddie stands on the issues, please visit his website at CarlDinwiddie.wordpress.com
A report from an attendee at the Plan Commission meeting:
There were about ten citizens in attendance, including Dave Patzelt, president of Shodeen.
The first agenda item was the Design Review (continued from 25 January), along with the Preliminary/Final Plat of Subdivision for Consolidation of Property for One Washington Place.
Mr Patzelt began by going over Option 2 of the design, as previously presented to City Council, including some details on materials and colors.
City staff confirmed that Design Reviews are now, according to city code, a function of the Plan Commission. As such, their vote is not a recommendation to City Council (as it was with the zoning variances), but a binding vote that can be appealed by the applicant (Shodeen in this case).
The Plan Commission asked if Mr Patzelt brought any samples of building materials, as they wished to examine the materials and color and not just look at pictures and drawings. Mr Patzelt had not brought any. The commissioners noted that in other Design Reviews, the applicants always bring material samples. Discussion continued about roofing, siding, and balcony materials. Continue reading
Tonight (Wed, 3/15/17), 7pm, Batavia City Council Chambers, the Plan Commission will meet to discuss the design of the 1 N. Washington apartments.
Update: The variances passed the Batavia City Council, overriding the Plan Commission’s vote, and clearing the way for the project to be built. Only Alderman Kevin Botterman voted against it.
Monday night, Feb. 20, 7:30pm, the Batavia City Council will vote to finalize Zoning Code amendments to allow Shodeen’s LLC to build their massive, 81-ft tall (at River St), 6-story, 186-unit apartment complex, providing zero parking spaces for their tenants, on over 3/4 of the block at Washington and Wilson in downtown Batavia.
Since they will not hold a referendum to determine whether or not the citizens of Batavia want this built (with the aid of $14 million in General Obligation bonds, backed by your tax dollars), the only way they will know what you want is if you contact them. Please take the time to email your opinion on the project to the Mayor and City Council before Monday night. This is your vote. If you don’t speak up, they will feel justified in voting however they please. The Contact button is at right.
Pictures of the project:
More information can be found on the City of Batavia website (http://www.cityofbatavia.net/658/Washing…)
and the City Council “Downtown Redevelopment” page at this site.
Update: It turns out the pump house at the southwest end of the Larson Becker properties was likely misclassified and has some historic significance, even more so than 124 N. River. Nevertheless, the Historic Preservation Commission voted to tear down all the buildings. Former alderman Kyle Hohmann was the only vote in favor of preserving the pump house.
On tonight’s Batavia Historic Preservation Commission meeting agenda (5:30pm — http://www.cityofbatavia.net/AgendaCente…) is the demolition of 124 N River St. (the green house on River St., the block north of the parking deck). House info: http://search.bataviatownship.com/parcel… ; tax info: http://kaneapplications.countyofkane.org…
The house was built in 1865 and is considered a “contributing historic building”. Its property tax, payable 2016, was $4142.68 and rising, before the City bought it. No evidence was given for its demolition, no estimates for repair obtained, and all reasons cited were based on feelings and “experience”. Their only verifiable justification is that tearing it down will allow them to build a parking lot to subsidize the massive Shodeen apartment complex during construction (and beyond if the Shodeen project parking proves to be inadequate).
There is no contact information for the Historic Preservation Commission. The meeting is tonight, Monday, Feb. 13, at 5:30pm.
According to the agenda document, of the other contributing historic building on the block, 106 N. River (the gray, weathered building with the really neat old sign on its north face): “That structure will remain for now. The City would like to explore possibility of relocating this structure and a COA application will be submitted at a future date.” .