Spot Check: One Winnetka Makes the Cut

The biggest economic opportunity the Village has ever seen or a structure that will suck the living daylights out of downtown?

On Tuesday, after 18 months of review, thousands of emails, hundreds of testimonials, dozens of trustees/resident one-on-ones, and eight hours of leaning in, the VC delivered One Winnetka five thumbs up.

 Cigar or Kleenex, the deed is done. We can all make eye contact again. Kumbaya.

 The 15 Seconds that Rocked Our World

 Roll call:
Rintz: Yes
Ziv: Yes
Krucks: Yes
Cripe: Yes
Lanphier: No
Myers: Yes

 How They Got There is a Lot More Interesting

 Three hours of audience, then President Greable tossed the ball to the Trustees “to comment and then to state their positions on this matter.” September 20th  [03:09:10]

 What? Straw vote? No "rigorous debate?" 

 Trustees took the pitch, many with prepared comments.

Rintz: Described the project as a “catalytic change in downtown Winnetka.” Then, from “horrible to workable.” And finally, “good enough for my support.” Cautioned residents not to let “perfection get in the way of the good.”

 Ziv: Claimed the project was a “good balance." Then mixed philosophy with practicality as in “unanimity is not possible.” Finally determined that a “few exceptions would be far preferable to years more of empty storefronts.”

 Krucks: “Toughest decision I’ve ever had to make on behalf of the village.” Decided “existing business districts cannot provide what the majority of our residents want” and caveated his vote “subject to all of the conditions, and I mean all of them…”

 Cripe: Asked “if the Village is better off approving than not.” Decided it was, then while acknowledging “Winnetka could do better….” softened the blow with “We want this to succeed.” 

 Lanphier: Said plan as submitted was a “sound proposition,” but had problems with scale. Liked the revised retail reconfiguration, but noted lack of discussion so didn’t feel ready to vote. ” I don’t feel our work is done.” 

 Myers: Joined Krucks in the hardest decision category. Had “significant issues with this project.” Called it “not a slam dunk.” Could not “vote against it on design grounds” because Village had no design ordinance. Still “not 100% comfortable with this,” but liked the return for the Village.

 Economics Trumped Design

 What did they get? Height, density, parking.What did we get? $6.7 million in streetscaping and parking

Want more details? [Agenda Packet, pg. 70]

 Promises Made, Promises TBD

Two, three weeks – or whenever it’s hammered out – the VC will vote on the Ordinance. That’s the one with lots of “whereases” that define the scope of the project. They’ll also vote on the Development Agreement. That’s the to-do list that pretty much keeps everybody on the same page while the VC and the developer (translation: lawyer-on-lawyer) hammer out the things they actually agreed on. Like: 

  • Evidence of finance and performance security for the project – like, how we make sure the developer has the zeros and deep pockets to build the thing.
  • Pedestrian safety at Hadley – what happens when Priuses and other silent cars look but don't listen? 
  • Service vehicles and their beep-beep-beep.
  • Seismic monitoring during demolition – who ya gonna call for cracked walls and falling plaster when all that concrete gets blasted to smithereens?
  • Discharge of kitchen exhaust as in "Honey, burgers again tonight...?"

Seems Like There Were Others…

 Oh yeah. The Village Attorney is making a list. He'll check it twice and give it to the VC. We'll bring it to you.

Don’t Be a Stranger

The Approval Phase. Think middle relief. The developer and Trustees get up to one year (or so) to make it work and make it right. You have the same. The VC says there will be opportunity for resident input. We will be watching and we will share. In the meantime…

“The future of this Village is in how we embrace change…and what we do with it.” Thanks, Trustee Krucks.