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The Frankfort Station 041218

8 | April 12, 2018 | The

8 | April 12, 2018 | The frankfort station news Frankfort Village Board Trustees approve variances for Old Town subdivision home construction Nuria Mathog, Editor A project to build a new home in Frankfort's Old Town Subdivision will move forward after the Frankfort Village Board on April 2 approved a series of variances required for construction to take place. The proposed project by Alexi Development LLC involves razing a structure currently located at 122 Walnut Street in order to construct a 3,288-square foot single-family home. The applicant previously requested five variances to permit the construction: specifically, a front yard setback from 30 feet to 20.5 feet, a rear yard setback from 30 feet to 28.2 feet, a corner side yard setback from 30 feet to 21 feet, a first floor building materials variance to permit the use of Hardi composite siding and a lot coverage variance from 20 percent to 20.1 percent. On March 8, the Plan Commission reviewed the project and voted to forward four 4-1 recommendations to the Village Board to approve the front yard, rear yard and corner yard setbacks and the building materials variance, along with a 3-2 recommendation to deny the lot coverage variance request. During its April 2 meeting, the Village Board voted mostly in line with those recommendations. The trustees voted 5-0 -- Trustee John Clavio was absent -- to approve the front yard, rear yard and corner yard sidekicks and 4-1 to approve the first floor building materials variance, with Trustee Bob Kennedy casting the dissenting vote. However, the trustees ultimately voted to approve the lot coverage variance 4-2, with both Kennedy and Trustee Cindy Heath voting no and Mayor Jim Holland adding a vote in favor of the variance. Prior to the vote, Trustee Mike Stevens noted several residents had voiced concerns about the project during the March 8 meeting, including concerns about the orientation of the entrance ADVERTISE IN OUR FUNERAL SERVICES DIRECTORY. Contact the Classified Department 708.326.9170 of the new home. He further commented the owner representative had stated he and his clients had gone through several iterations of the home's architectural designs to address concerns and that the applicant had met with a group of residents in the area. "The applicant commented the purpose of demolishing the home was due to a new proposed floor plan which the existing structure could not accommodate," Stevens said, adding the variance requests were part of an effort to construct a home that was generally consistent with the surrounding area in terms of both site design and architectural character. Several residents took the opportunity to share their thoughts on the proposed project during the meeting. Robert Allen, a resident of the home near the proposed house, said he was "very strongly in favor" of the variance requested for the side yard. "When you consider the fact that that new house is going to be sitting there and it's going to be on the north side right now, it's like 20 feet, that's what they're proposing," he said. "If you push that and remove that side yard dimension and push that toward me, well then I lose another 10 feet, so basically I'm going to be sitting there literally looking in their window in the morning and seeing them have their coffee." Frankfort resident Pam Biesen described the tearing down of the existing structure as "a sad loss." "I don't know how we can address that prior to voting on these ... this is the fourth public meeting on this," she said. "Are the builders not understanding that a teardown is not an optimal start for a new project?" In pre-prepared comments he read during the meeting, Holland said many homeowners in Old Town demonstrated great pride in their properties by taking time and spending money to care for their homes and he thought most Frankfort residents wanted to see the homes in the area preserved. However, he said, an Old Town property owner had asked for his or her home to be removed and replaced with a new one 13 times in the last 15 years. Holland further said the most common concern he hears from community members about new homes in Old Town is that they are "too large for the lot," adding he thought it should be of comfort to the community that the builder and future homeowner agreed to reduce the size of their homes so that a lot coverage variance would not be needed. "After spending the time and spending the money to redesign their home to fit our laws, a slight error in the size of the lot was discovered," he said. "The new slightly smaller lot size made the newly redesigned home 18 square feet-- or maybe less than that-- over the lot requirement." While normally he would not support a lot coverage variance for this property, under these "peculiar circumstances" he did support the variance, he said. Holland acknowledged the concerns about the direction of the front door and said he understood the argument that there could be instances in which moving the entry from one street to another might affect the neighborhood's character. However, he said, the front of the proposed home will be "heavily decorated" in a way that enhances its appearance. "I believe that the majority of Frankfort residents will be best served if the front door and the greatest amount of beautification to the home are located on this longest south side as the property owner has requested," he said. "It will result in the most appealing view from the public's right-ofway." Toward the end of the meeting, Frankfort resident Stephanie Kush approached the podium with a large stack of documents she said she had obtained through information requests under the Freedom of Information Act, which she indicated pointed to a lack of commitment to historic preservation in Frankfort on the Village's part. “You have not, nor do you currently care about fostering or encouraging preservation or restoration as outlined in the code of ordinances," she told the board. "This goes way beyond one home, this goes way beyond the Queen Anne, which was discussed earlier. Your actions, which was represented in these FOIAs, speak louder than your words. I look forward to participating in the comprehensive plan to enact change at that level, but you must do more.” Board gives go-ahead to resubdivision project In other action, the board voted to approve the final plat of the AGA resubdivision in the Kean Avenue Estates Subdivision, which involves consolidating two existing properties located at 312 and 320 S. 95th Ave. into a single 94,348-square foot lot in order to construct a single family residence. The Plan Commission unanimously recommended approval of the consolidation request during its March 8 meeting. During the mayor's report, Holland noted the Village was starting to update its Comprehensive Plan and asked residents to participate in the process by registering online at www., an ideasharing platform designed to allow Frankfort residents to share ideas and receive information about the status of the project. He also reminded residents that Frankfort's branch collection programs and NuWay Disposal yard waste collection services began on April 2. Branches should be stacked neatly in the parkway with cut ends facing the street by 7 a.m. on Mondays, allowing the Village's public works crew members to collect them, and yard waste materials must be placed in a brown paper yard waste bag and marked with a yard waste sticker; stickers can be purchased at the Village Administration Building, 432 W. Nebraska Street. Additionally, Holland said Frankfort plans to celebrate its annual Earth Day/ Arbor Day event on Saturday, April 21. The celebration is scheduled to begin at 830 a.m. at the Village's utilities and public works facility, 524 Center Road, and end with a volunteer luncheon at 11:30 a.m. at the same site. 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