On January 25, 2017, the Batavia Plan Commission, by a vote of 4-2, sent a negative recommendation to the City Council for the massive, 186-unit apartment complex proposed for downtown Batavia. They thought it was too big and recommended against its approval by Council unless it was stepped down in height to River St. in particular, so it would not be so overbearing. They did not think the proposal as presented was appropriate for the downtown, and were not willing to grant the many zoning code variances the developer, Shodeen, sought.
However, the Plan Commission repeatedly pointed out the City Council has the final say and can overrule the Plan Commission’s decision. And there is every indication the City Council is prepared to do just that. That’s why we need a groundswell of people to speak up and ask the Council to represent the will of their constituents, as they were elected to do. Continue reading
Wednesday night, January 25, 7:30pm, is a continuation of the Plan Commission’s hearing and deliberation on the proposed massive Shodeen apartment complex at 1 N. Washington.
A video of the Jan. 4 public hearing continuation can be found here.
Tuesday night, January 17, 7:30pm, the Batavia City Council will be voting on a number of measures that move the massive downtown apartment complex proposal forward, including boring to run new electrical service equipment, establishing the new TIF (Tax Increment Financing) District, approving the plan for the area, establishing a dormant SSA (Special Service Area), etc. Here’s the packed agenda: http://www.cityofbatavia.net/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/01172017-940?html=true
Also on Tuesday’s agenda are the latest bridge sculpture offerings and approval of a contract for branding and identity services.
If you are a recreational vehicle owner (includes all unusual vehicles like campers, boats, jet skis, etc., that you might park in your driveway), or think you might want to be someday, you’ll want to attend the public hearing at Wednesday night’s Plan Commission meeting: Wed, Jan. 18, 7pm, City Council Chambers. Here’s the agenda: http://www.cityofbatavia.net/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/9950?fileID=6069
BPS 101–Tuesday, January 10, 6pm– Special School Board Meeting–agendas: http://www.boarddocs.com/il/bps101/Board…
District Management Council (DMC) consultants will present a proposal to the Board for their services. Bottom line: cost of $180,000 ($60,000/yr for 3 yrs) to make staffing schedules. This is just for discussion only at this time.
Tuesday, 7pm–Regular School Board Meeting–more DMC discussion; discussion of a contract with a touring company at the Batavia Fine Arts Centre for some large dollar amount (number not given in agenda); no significant action items
City Council COW–Tuesday, January 10, 7:30pm–agenda: http://www.cityofbatavia.net/AgendaCente…
The agenda includes a boatload of items surrounding the massive Shodeen apartment complex, 1 Washington Place. Agenda items 7 and 12 to 17 all deal with the project, from up to $178,000 for directional boring needed to provide electricity to the project, to approval of the project and creation of a new TIF district to allow the project to siphon the tax increment from other taxing bodies to the City for 23 years.
If you are concerned about this project, especially if you were one of the many who spoke last week before the Plan Commission, you may want to speak to the City Council Tuesday night. The COW (Committee of the Whole) meetings are the preliminary meetings where all the real discussions take place. By the time they get to the Monday Council meetings for final approval, decisions have largely been made.
Update: The petitions for a referendum to remove home rule were denied ballot access following a hearing before the Electoral Board in response to an objection filed by recently-retired City Administrator Bill McGrath. The 381 signatures submitted were short of the 764 signatures required for a referendum.
Today (3pm) petitions were filed to put home rule to referendum on the April 4 ballot in the City of Batavia. Many people, the majority of whom had never circulated petitions before, stepped up to contribute to the effort, which was organized by Batavians for Responsible Government.
This had to be a shared effort, since the past practice for collecting large quantities of signatures–standing outside of businesses on Randall Road–was no longer an option due the corporate policies of the major businesses against petitioning on their property. “If corporate America were more civic-minded, exercising our right to petition the government would be much easier,” commented petition circulator Carl Dinwiddie.
Even the Batavia Public Library denied access to petition circulators before Friday, when the policy banning petitioning was temporarily suspended pending review by the Library Board.
Concerns that resonated with the signers of the petition were the nearly unlimited power to increase taxes that home rule gives, a possible Stormwater Utility, as well as the inability of the citizens to petition for referenda on bonds issued by the City. Many want a voice in the $14 million bonds the City plans to issue for the 186-unit apartment complex proposed as a joint venture between the developer, Shodeen, and the City of Batavia. For other signers, the idea of putting the issue to the voters to decide was reason enough.
Wednesday, Jan. 4, 7pm, the public hearing on the Shodeen apartment complex before the Plan Commission will be continued.
If you have concerns about the size of the project, this is the meeting to attend and voice those concerns. They will be discussing the approval of variances to City Code to accommodate a multitude of things, including its massive size (over 30 ft taller than the downtown zoning allows) and the lack of parking (Shodeen will be providing 0 –that’s “zero”–parking spaces when City Code requires 402; the 350 “public” parking spaces that the City will pay $14 million to build, and Shodeen’s residents will use, don’t even meet that requirement). Based on the Dec. 7 meeting, everything is fair game. Continue reading
What is “home rule” and what does it have to do with Batavia? Why should we put it to referendum?
Ballot question: Shall the City of Batavia cease to be a home rule unit?
Right now, Batavia is a “home rule” community by virtue of having at least 25,000 residents. Home rule gives the City nearly unlimited power to tax, regulate, and incur debt. Home rule can be removed by referendum.
Update: Public hearing will be continued January 4, 2017.
Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, 7pm, Batavia City Council Chambers, there will be a public hearing before the Plan Commission on amending the zoning map for the land that would be developed into the massive 186-unit apartment complex at Washington and Wilson in downtown Batavia.
Shodeen’s proposal violates zoning for that area in that it is too tall and will obstruct the view of the river for those east of the area and the view of historic buildings for people west of the river. This requires amending the zoning map to accommodate Shodeen. It also requires a public hearing.
If you don’t like the size of the giant complex that will dwarf everything downtown, this is the time to speak. Continue reading
Monday’s City Council meeting, 7:30pm, has on its agenda the approval of the 2017 budget and tax levy, as well as the transfer of over $660,000 from the General Fund to Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District 1. This “loan” has neither interest nor guarantee of payment, but a “maybe” it will be paid back, “IF” there’s any money left in the TIF when the TIF ends in 12 or so years.
The money in a TIF is restricted to use within the boundaries of that TIF. In contrast, money from the General Fund can be used anywhere throughout the city for whatever purpose the City Council designates. If approved, the City Council will take money that could be used for things like sewer repair or riverbank stabilization, and restrict it to use in TIF 1, for things like purchase of the Larson-Becker property that will support Shodeen’s massive apartment complex, and incentives for Blue Goose to move into the old Walgreens.
TIFs are already privileged sites in that any property tax increment (increase) they generate from the inception of the district does not get divided among taxing bodies (school district, park district, etc.), but goes straight to the City for reinvestment within the TIF (more on TIFs here).