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Hinsdale, Illinois |


Published December 21, 2006

Many say plan is too much for Hinsdale
Residents think The Hinsdale Club is too big, will bring too much traffic to town

  By Pamela Lannom

   The developers see The Hinsdale Club as a bold step in redeveloping Ogden Avenue. Some residents see it as a horrific departure from the village’s character and charm.
   In the first hour of a 3 1/2 hour public hearing Dec. 13 before the Hinsdale Plan Commission, developers presented their plans for the 20-acre site and touted the proposal’s benefits. They cited tax revenues of $2.41 million a year to the two school districts and $584,000 a year to the village.
   “These clearly are very significant numbers both to the village and to the school districts,” said Bruce Goldsmith, attorney for Foxford LLC of Hinsdale.
   He said the developers had spent “substantial” time talking to the village and neighbors about the proposal and suggested that the only way to spur redevelopment along Ogden Avenue is with construction of a project like The Hinsdale Club.
   “Basically, we’re looking at a project that’s designed to provide the stimulus for redevelopment in the corridor,” Goldsmith said.
   The developers are presenting the proposal as a planned unit development and seeking 13 zoning waivers. The waivers are for building spacing; Ogden Avenue setback; residential use in an 0-3 office district; retail/restaurant use in an 0-3 district; drug store with drive through window; drug store in excess of 1,000 square feet; floor-area ratio of great than .35/.25; mixed use in a 0-3 district; parking ratios for all residential uses and hotel/banquet use; loading space locations; park land donation; building height for condominium buildings and hotel; and front, side and rear yard setbacks on condo buildings, mixed use buildings, hotel and drug store.
   After Goldsmith spoke, public comment began. Thirteen of the residents who spoke live in Graue Mill, and none were happy with the proposal as presented. Most of their complaints had to do with the project’s size and the traffic it would generate.
   Paula Lucking, who lives in the 500 block of North Oak Street, worried about traffic and the safety of children living on her street. She also wondered what would happen when she wants to sell her house.
   “Are you telling me that that is not going to change the entire tenor of our neighborhood feel and property values?” she asked the developer.
   Robert Neiman of Garfield Street said people move to Hinsdale to get away from projects like The Hinsdale Club.
   “This development and anything resembling it is the polar opposite of what the village of Hinsdale has told you they want in their backyard,” he said.
   Nineteen people spoke for about an hour and 15 minutes. After a short break, Goldsmith and other consultants were allowed to respond to residents’ comments. An hour later, commission Chairman Laura La Placa closed the public hearing and asked commissioners for their reactions. Many said they didn’t know quite how to respond.
   “Something of this magnitude really needs to go before the village,” Commissioner Jeff Stewart said, suggesting that all residents’ should be asked their opinion. “I don’t know if we even have any referendum procedures,” he added.
   Commissioner Neale Byrnes said he wanted input from the village board.
   “As we go down further, I think the town has to do something — I don’t know, hire consultants? — to really adequately judge this. I think this goes beyond my expertise.”
   La Placa said the commission couldn’t even offer direction on what to fix to make the plans more palatable.
   “I think it’s so off the mark that that’s not really where we are yet,” she said. “I think you’re going to have to take our sentiment and go back and come up with something else.”
   The developers were not happy with that response.
   “We spent an enormous amount of time, effort and money coming up with this plan,” Foxford President Peter Brennan told commissioners. “As far as this commission is concerned, we need specific direction. I just can’t go back to the drawing board. It’s just not feasible.”
   Commissioners agreed to continue their deliberations until January.
   La Placa said she would talk to the village president and village attorney to determine what the commission’s next step should be.
   Brennan said Tuesday it cost about $500,000 to put together the proposal. If he can’t build The Hinsdale Club, he will return to the company’s original plans to sell off the individual buildings in the Hinsdale Office Park.
   “We were actually in the process of selling off the individual buildings when we realized that the village was interested in this property as a potential redevelopment site,” Brennan said. “That was really the stimulus for the plan.”

Plan details
Foxford’s $250 million plan for The Hinsdale Club on almost 20 acres north of Ogden Avenue between Salt Creek Lane and Elm Street includes the following:
      • two, three-story mixed used buildings, each with 10,000 square feet of retail space, 20 condos or lofts (averaging 1,300 square feet) and 34 garage parking spaces (below ground)
      • one 10-story and one 12-story condo building with 121 units each (averaging 1,400 to 1,500 square feet) and 492 garage parking spaces for both buildings (one level below ground)
      • one 12-story condo building with 149 unites (averaging 1,400 square feet) with 211 garage parking spaces (one level below ground)
      • condos would have an average price of $700,000, with the penthouses costing more than $1 million
      • a 12-story hotel with 180 units, a two-story banquet facility and a 275-space parking garage
      • 15,000-square-foot drug store or other retail with 70 parking spaces
      • 2.5-acre park near the banks of Salt Creek                                           


   “We are hoping to bring a project that you can be proud of that shows the same attention to detail and concern that you have for your own community.” — Bruce Goldsmith, Foxford attorney

   “What it’s going to be like for those of us driving by every day is the Bronx.” — Paula Lucking, Oak Street

Plan commission
   “I’ve got to say I’m extremely disappointed in the architecture. (The buildings) look like something from Orlando, not something that belongs in Hinsdale.” — Dennis Parsons


   The proposal is compatible with surrounding properties: B-3 business to the south, O-3 office to the east, R-5 residential to the north (Graue Mill) and R-4 residential to the northeast (Spinning Wheel apartments). — Bruce Goldsmith

   “I submit the scale of this property is totally at odds with the views of the vast majority of participants of the strategic planning process.” — Ralph Mueller, Graue Mill

Plan commission
   “It looks like something you would see down in Dearborn Park in the city. While that’s lovely in the city, this isn’t the right place for it. If it’s going to be the gateway to the village, it should look like what we are.” — Lisa Moore


   “We have done enough research that we’re confident there’s a market for this.” — Bruce Goldsmith

   “The hotel would be used only minimally by Hinsdale residents. What it will do is bring transients from (Interstate) 294.” — Janet Moes, Graue Mill

Plan commissioners
   “You’re single-handedly taking care of empty-nester housing in the village. I’m not sure there’s that many empty-nesters in Hinsdale.” — Laura La Placa


   “We feel very confident our counts are accurate and representative of what’s going on in the area. There is an existing use on site and it’s generating traffic. We’re not coming into a green field.” — Lou Aboona, traffic consultant

   “How can three times as many cars only produce 2 percent more traffic?” — John Donaker, Graue Mill

Plan commission
   “My comfort level on the traffic study is not great, and if it is statistically valid, I think there needs to be some more work done to bring up the comfort level from what it is now.” — Donna Flynn


   “This type of project is not really addressed other than by using the benefits of a planned development.” — Bruce Goldsmith

   “We who live in north Hinsdale don’t want this kind of structure that is double the 60-foot height limitation that you have right now.” — Larry Klinger, Graue Mill

Plan commission
   “We have a code and we have a code for a reason, not so people can come in and say “I want to rewrite it’ and I think that’s what you’ve really done here.” — Laura La Placa



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