By Kevin Boneske
HOBART – The final plat for a 31-lot subdivision along Copilot Way was approved Tuesday, June 16, by the village board.
Lexington Homes proposed the new subdivision known as Southwind Estates, for which the final plat includes 30 single-family lots and a larger lot for the construction of a multi-family building complex.
Todd Gerbers, director of planning and code compliance, said plans for the three parcels in the final plat also include outlots to be left as natural areas and buffers located in or adjacent to environmentally sensitive areas, and to have a storm water retention/detention area for the subdivision.
“(Two outlots in the final plat), right along the entrance where the creek is located, there’s a flood study that’s being done,” he said. “It’s not been completed yet, so therefore the county is requiring two more outlots. It’s just in flux until the flood study comes back.”
Once the flood study is done, Gerbers said a land division request could be submitted so those two outlots could become developable lots as originally proposed in the preliminary plat, which had 46 lots.
“There will be more lots in the future,” he said. “It’s just (Lexington Homes is) not quite certain how it’s going to play out. Therefore, the request tonight is for the 31-lot (certified survey map).”
Election contingency plan
In other action, the board approved an updated election contingency plan to prepare election workers for an emergency prior to the August partisan primary and the November general election.
Interim Clerk-Treasurer Erica Berger said the plan was updated to include a new voting process as well as additional emergency situations.
She said this is in light of recent unrest in the country after George Floyd was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis and also because the village upgraded its election equipment.
Berger said the biggest change involved adding a section related to protesters and riots.
“That way, our election workers know what to do in the case that we have an incident break out at the polling place on that day,” she said. “Basically, if it’s related to a candidate, that’s electioneering. There’s already rules in place for that. If it’s any protest that is not related to the ballot… you don’t want to create an unsafe situation, but I think it’s good to have a plan in place for our poll workers just in case, either if it’s peaceful or violent. Unfortunately, it’s the world we live in.”
Berger said electioneering is required by law to be at least 100 feet away from a polling place, which for Hobart is located at St. Joseph’s Church.
She said other changes to the plan include updated formatting, electronic poll book procedures and the addition of emergency contacts.
Village Administrator Aaron Kramer said elections present a unique challenge for the village with the top concern protecting the lives of the voters and poll workers, along with a second factor of protecting the integrity of the ballots.
“When the proverbial manure hits the fan, great plans sometimes go awry, but at least you have the foundation,” he said. “We have expectations for all the staff.”
Municipal court reopening
Kramer said Hobart’s municipal court plans to reopen in early July with measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, subject to the village’s plan being approved by the Eighth Judicial District chief judge.
“We’re in the process of buying supplies to turn this into a safer environment for the court, including screens for the judge, screens for the bailiff, screens for the attorneys,” he said.
Kramer said each person appearing for municipal court will receive a form to fill out to screen for symptoms of COVID-19.
“If they are not able to fill this out, they’re going have to make other arrangements to appear or enter a plea,” he said. “We will not let them in.”
Kramer said the village plans to have as few people in the building as possible while holding municipal court.
“If that means people come in and give us a cell phone number and go wait in the car, we call them and tell them it’s time to come in, that’s what we’re going to have to do,” he said.
Board, commission reorganization
Kramer also presented the board with a recommendation to reorganize the village’s boards and commissions, of which there are now nine, as Hobart continues to grow.
He said the Community Development Authority’s duties and initiatives outlined in its enacting ordinance are currently being performed by the village administrator and the board, so the CDA could be eliminated.
Kramer also suggested a Park and Recreation Committee be created to consider park improvements, park acquisition, recreational programming and various other related village projects.
Because of the ambiguity in the definition and roles of other committees, Kramer said language should be added to the village code to clearly define the role of the Board of Fire Commissioners and Public Works and Utilities Advisory Committee.
“This is the first community I’ve worked in where a firefighter is not hired by a commission,” he said. “It’s hired by the fire chief. I’m not saying Jerry (Lancelle) is doing a bad job – don’t read anything into it – but I just found that to be an odd duck.”
Kramer said he will work on changing the village code to reorganize Hobart’s boards and commissions and bring back a revision for the board to consider in July.
After meeting in closed session, the board unanimously approved a development agreement with The WSM-Shop LLC for the development of an indoor basketball and sports training facility in Tax Increment District No. 1.
“The $1.5 million facility, of which more specific details will be released in the near future, is scheduled for a construction start in late summer or early fall,” Kramer said. “This will be an exciting new addition to the Centennial Centre area.”