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Hinsdale, Illinois |


Published January 18, 2007

Chocolates, candlelight, planning meeting?

  By Brian Boyle

   A new public hearing on a revised version of The Hinsdale Club — the estimated $250 million redevelopment of 20 acres off Ogden Avenue — is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 14.
   Yes, Valentine’s Day.
   The developer and a consultant are working with village staff to come up with a revised plan by Monday, Feb. 5 — the date by which items must be on file for the Feb. 14 meeting.
   Several plan commissioners thought the insights of an expert would help them as they review the plan, Chairwoman Laura LaPlaca said. Therefore John Houseal, whose firm is studying the Ogden Avenue corridor for the village, is scrutinizing the proposal.
   The developer, Foxford LLC, agreed to pay for Houseal Lavigne Associates’ services, community development director Tim Bleuher said.
   The village attorney will determine whether the revised plan warrants a new hearing. Village staff scheduled the hearing before receiving the revised plan because of time constraints. Residents may view the revised plan once the developer submits it to the village.
   In its original form, The Hinsdale Club would replace six buildings and a vacant lot in the Hinsdale Office Park with three 10- to 12-story condominium buildings, two buildings with shops and condominiums, a freestanding pharmacy and a 12-story hotel.
   Commissioners Jan. 10 told Houseal and Foxford representatives what revisions they want. The developer asked commissioners for specific recommendations at the Dec. 13 public hearing on the plan.
   “Now is the time for candor,” Houseal said.
   The height of the buildings and the traffic implications concern Commissioner Stephen Thacker the most. Thacker and Commissioner Gerald Jablonski were absent from the December hearing but read the transcript.
   Jablonski said although he is 100 percent enthusiastic about the potential economic benefits, the plan’s scale, density and potential affect on the community concern him.
   “It’s really a situation where you need to go back to the drawing board,” he said.
   What the developer needs to address is building height, whether a pharmacy is the best use for the freestanding retail building and a proposed flashing sign, LaPlaca said.
   “The nature of the buildings, the architecture of the buildings, doesn’t give us the flavor that the community demands,” she said.
   LaPlaca also suggested getting more comments from people who would live near the site.
   “What we saw at out last meeting troubled all of us — that there was a lack of community communication,” she said.
   Commissioner Neale Byrnes said the developers need to better address potential traffic problems.
   Commissioner Lisa Moore asked for shorter buildings, greater setbacks, more green space and a shorter hotel.
   “A hotel would be great, but there’s a lot of other hotel formats. A boutique hotel that’s a little more spread out — that would be more in character with the village,” she said.
   Hinsdale resident Karl Weber said he worries the revised plan won’t be much different than the original.
   “It certainly would be insulting to me if they came back with tweaking,” LaPlaca said. “That’s not sufficient. If you haven’t sensed from our comments that tweaking isn’t good enough, then you haven’t heard us.”
   The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Memorial Building, 19 E. Chicago Ave.



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