By: Diane Benjamin
See the first part here: https://blnnews.com/2020/02/18/a-city-manager-is-not-a-ceo/
Watching Town of Normal meetings I’m amazed when the role is called over and over and over for votes because they don’t have electronic voting. Of course the meetings used to be 10 minutes so it didn’t matter.
Much of last night revolved around the proposed building at 111 W. Locust. A public hearing began the meeting. The developers and a lawyer who opposed the project were sworn in before testifying by Mayor Koos. The words used were: “Do you swear the testimony you are about to give is the truth?” No – “So help me GOD” included.
The big issue was the number of parking spots. See 1:26:55 Chris Koos listed why he supported the project. Koos stated the developers are putting their investment at risk, the town is out nothing is they fail. For parking, he now dislikes the parking impact ordinances that required 1 parking place per bed. He now sees Town policies can hurt development, at least this one. He will be asking staff to reconsider the 1-1 requirements.
Kevin McCarthy followed also supporting the project, evidently the comprehensive plan requires eliminating vehicles by not providing parking. He thought this was a good test case. (See Uptown parking!) Chemberly Cummings followed, she loved the out-of-the-box design.
1:33:48. Stan Nord stated he totally agreed with everything the Mayor said. He asked the press to take note.
1:34:50 Scott Preston also supported the plan.
1:37:40 Kathleen Lorenz was dying to vote against the development. She didn’t like the parking variance requested. She thought the number of beds should be reduced instead of changing the zoning code. When she realized she would be the only NO vote, she went along with the majority.
The new building with variances was unanimously approved.
1:43:40 – Closing comments by Stan Nord. He appreciated the way the Council came together to approve this development. He hoped they could do so more often. He thanked Mayor Koos again for his comments.
Kevin McCarthy and Chris Koos followed with comments about Rivian, their investment, and expansion to the plant.
In other business:
Stan asked about the One Voice expense – 4 people for 2 days @ $1600 each. The specific goals of this trip are
- Capital investment road plan for Bloomington
- Connect Transit Transfer station in downtown Bloomington
- Regional Smart Cities Initiatives
- Rural Broadband expansion
Mayor Koos stated all those who will attend are behind all 4 projects. He claimed millions of dollars have been returned to McLean County through these trips like Normal’s Amtrak/City Hall building and a sewer project in Lexington.