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Concerns regarding the City Council's vote on Lexington Club Development and TIF

I attended the City Council meeting last night and I am truly disappointed by the outcome of last night’s vote by the City Council regarding the Lexington Club PUD and TIF.

I attended the City Council meeting last night and I am truly disappointed by the outcome of last night’s vote by the City Council regarding the Lexington Club PUD and TIF. I am deeply saddened that with all of the valid concerns and issues that have been addressed by residents and aldermen both, council members who talk about communication and negotiation did not feel that this proposal warranted further discussion before bringing it to Council for final vote. After the vote of denial of the TIF at the December Planning and Development meeting, the best approach would have been to bring the plan back to the Committee and start an open discussion about how to improve the plan and see if a compromise could be made between the Committee, developer and residents. Unfortunately now the residents must deal with a development that does not fit within their neighborhood, will cause traffic issues for that neighborhood, add more children to the already overcrowded schools and the City has given a TIF to a residential project that is not the best it can be. Some claim that there are no risks with this TIF, that is not true, there are risks with all TIFs. Sometimes the risk is worth it, if the plan is very beneficial, but with this decision tonight that cannot be said. We have missed a golden opportunity to work together to make this plan better.

 Further more, as I stated publically at the December Planning and Development Committee meeting, the lack of respect and appreciation for the residents’ comments and concerns is disgraceful. The City’s Administration, some elected officials and even a mayoral candidate has been sending out a message. That message which is totally unfounded and untrue, is that the residents who have been vocal against recent residential development proposals in our city, including Towne Centre, Corporate Reserves, and Lexington Homes in particular, are small in number, are against any type of development on the property and according to some, don’t know what they are talking about. These are the very same people who then try to pressure other elected officials to vote in favor of these projects and have even recently made public statements in the media basically stating that those resident’s views, efforts and concerns should be dismissed. To add to this, last night, those people who voted in favor of the project would not even look at the people while making their vote. They instead looked down at their desks like they knew they were wrong for their decision. I find all of this very disrespectful to those many residents have taken the time to write letters, speak to the aldermen, made an effort to get educated on the topics and issues, speak out and attend meeting after meeting over the last 4 years. I myself am one of them. Tonight’s vote just goes to prove just how strongly many of our City Officials believe in this message and have a lack of respect for their bosses aka the residents.

The residents have been reasonable, they never said don’t build. They have asked to have built something that fits within their neighborhood. Something that will enhance it. They have offered viable solutions, yet those suggestions were just brushed off and again tonight’s vote shows that dismissal. If the Council was concerned over the frustration of the developer, just think of how the residents feel and then to be treated with so much disrespect is deployable. Someone told me this weekend that “it doesn’t pay to fight it because the City will do what they want to do” Tonight’s vote proves that person right and that is a sad fact for our community. I have worked hard as resident and leader of the Near West Neighborhood Association along with others, to prove that is not always the case but unfortunately with votes like this, it reminds me that there are still far too many who disregard the residents’ concerns, even when the City’s own survey backs up overwhelmingly those residents who have taken the time to speak up. As a candidate for 5th Ward Alderman I promise I will work to make sure there is a more open, transparent and respectful approach with our local government. 

Sincerely

Kim Malay, Resident, President of Near West Neighborhood
Assoc. and 5th Ward Alderman Candidate

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Betty M January 10, 2013 at 04:37 PM
Ms. Malay is the type of person we need on the City Council. She is responsive to what the citizens think rather than what outsiders who only want to profit off of St. Charles think. We could use ten of her on the City Council.
rosey harriet January 10, 2013 at 10:13 PM
Alderman Rogina captured the moment best when he said that what the City Council did when leave a bruise on the City that would take a long time to heal. The people who live near Dewitteville (because they will never call it L*******n C**b) are thankful to the five Aldermen who were responsive to the citizens and they will not forget what the other six (including the Lame Duck Mayor) did to show that the City is more responsive to the needs and interests of outside developers than it is to its own citizens.
Steve Rogers January 11, 2013 at 01:23 AM
Sportsmanship - (1) Conduct and attitude considered as befitting participants in sports, especially fair play, courtesy, striving spirit, and grace in losing. (2) a characteristic lacking in many members of the St. Charles community.
Craig Bobowiec January 11, 2013 at 01:41 AM
Steve, you have to be kidding. "especially fair play and courtesy" that is where the neighborhood didn't have the same level playing field as the developer and the Administration who held years and hours upon hours of private meetings. The Adminstration has much more contact, access and imput with Council who they physcially see and are involved with each week. And Henry Stillwell's tyraid in December was "grace in losing"? No resident ever spoke towards the Council with such disrespect or tone. Your comment makes absolutely no sense. Funny too if you are so pro Lexington, why did we never ever see you even once stand like a real man with dignity and speak to Council and tell them how much you were in favor of it? For someone with such opinions, where were you sir?
Charles Davis January 11, 2013 at 06:34 AM
Politics is not about sportsmanship, it is knockdown, drag-out, no-holds-barred fight. The victor gloats and the loser plots revenge. Anybody who thinks otherwise hasn't been paying attention to what goes on at the federal, state, and local levels.

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