Wednesday, August 23, 2006

North Street proposal passes

Well, the long battle is over. Tinley Park is now on the road to the epic disaster that is the North Street redevelopment, charging along down a hill with the brake lines cut. The citizens against this project waged a last stand, with Dorothy Dennis bringing up some excellent points that had the trustees clearly flustered. My favorite was when she brought up the statute saying that you basically had to vote on project within 90 days of its public hearing which North Street has now far exceed. The Village attorney claimed that various extentions have been filed the whole time and that they were appoved at various trustee meetings. I don't recall the subject ever having come up, and I will be going over the minutes over the last 8 months to see when these supposed extentions occurred. Norman Sheehan had the best line by far "You went from a turn-of-the-century development to a ho-hum, look-alike, overcrowded Yuppieville". I think he actually said the downtown went from turn-of-the-century to ho-hum, look-alike, overcrowded Yuppieville. Either way it was hilarious, and I loved his promise, not a threat, about the political ramifications of passing this project. I stood up and asked if they would continue to use eminent domain against the Dennis family, especially since the parking lot at the old Central Junior High will turn into townhouses, and I was promptly dismissed by Trustee Hannon saying that had been covered at the last meeting and Mayor Z yelled at me because I was supposedly cutting Hannon off. My old neighbor Trustee Seaman said it was a fair question but the issue was still being negotiated with the Dennis family and that it was "in their hands". He also said that he would not bring negotiations into public and that I should ask the Dennis family what they have in front of them as far as a deal. I basically got the village to say that Tinley Park had reworked the plans to go forward without the Dennis family, and they had no intention of pursuing their land "at this time". Roberta Sheehan uncovered the ludicrous amounts of corporate welfare that was in the financial agreement, to the tune of 13,00,000 dollars for the condos and the theater. If that wasn't bad enough, the village is forking over north of 900,000 dollars to move Tinley Ice. As a taxpayer, that drives me insane. I wish people would take these TIF districts for what they are: Corporate welfare schemes to take taxpayer dollars and give them to developers. That's all they are. So if you get nothing else from today's artice, equate "TIF" with "Corporate welfare". In fact, from here on forth, I will address a TIF district as a Corporate Welfare district. Even though this project is approved, there are actually a few more steps that have to be done before they kick everyone out and blast Teehan's into oblivion. Negotiations with the Dennis family continue, and the Mendez property still to this day has not been acquired. I was told yesterday by the Dennis family that eminent domain not be used against but that they would "build around them". I would love to see that if that's indeed what happens. Also there are a couple of public hearings on the parking lots involved with the plan, and I guess a hearing on expanding the Corporate Welfare district, since apparently Teehan's Tavern wasn't included in the original. I'll cover these events as they play out. Even though the Man won this battle, I'm proud of how everyone fought and resisted the onslaught. At the very least, we won a temporary stay of execution from eminent domain, and we have shown that any attempt to use it will not be taken lightly. Tinley Park may have won, but considering the black eye they've taken in the press, and the amount of time it's taken to get this done, it is a Pyrrhic victory at best for them.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Did 3 plus mile run around structure 32. I felt really good and wish work started later so I could do more. Ab slide is working well on stomach.

Structure 32 reflections

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Last chance to stop Tinley Park North Street development

Well, it's been a long, long battle. And it would have been longer if the Village would have kept trying to use eminent domain to take the Dennis family's property, but Tinley Park shadily put that on the back burner to ram this grotesque project through. This project will fail however, for the same reasons so many people are oppposed to it. Let's rehash them one more time: 1. Traffic. The laws of physics yield to no man, and a two-lane road (Oak Park Avenue) can not handle the volume of traffic that an 11 screen theater, 115 residences, a couple of restaurant/pubs, and 500 commuters that go to a major train station. The surrounding streets will drown from the overflow and people will simply quit going downtown. 2. Parking. Or the lack thereof. Um...Let's see...there's already are parking shortage in the downtown lot (currently a three year waiting list to get a spot of soon-to-be destroyed Municipal lot D) and now there is going to be a theater that will need at least 400 spots, not to mention all of the aforementioned pubs and restaurants. I'm not even counting the other businesses that don't involve food and beverages, because I know they will fail. Which brings me to my next point. 3. A daytime business cannot thrive in downtown Tinley Park. For proof, look at all the little stores that are struggling to survive on Oak Park Avenue now. The Gumball place, Teina' s Touch, the little floral place I never see anyone in... Downtown Tinley Park will not bring people to these places. People go to downtown Tinley Park for two reasons: A) To get on a train B) To eat or drink at one of the bars or restaurants. Period. They are not going there to do window shopping or whatever. There's no parking, the train makes Oak Park Avenue a nightmare, and there's a little place called Orland Square mall 5 miles away 4. The Theater will fail. Badly. Apparently, the geniuses who came up with this project failed to consider there are two much larger, better equipped, easier to get to theaters (Orland AMC and Sony Country Club Hills) within 3.5 miles of downtown Tinley Park. People who have grown used to large screens and a big lobby will be in for a bit of a shock when they see this travesty of a cineplex that is about to be built. The willing accomplices the village has in the Southtown showed one of these tiny screens at the Elmhurst theater, and I'm telling you I've seen private screening rooms in people's homes that are bigger then those. Throw in the fact that you have to cross a street to get to the theater, deal with the train, the congestion of all the other traffic that the Tinley nightlife brings in, and I think people will opt to go to the other two theaters. Plus, movie theaters, like the drive-in before them, are on the way out. Crappy picture, talkative theater goers, and ridiculously priced tickets are making home theater the wave of the future. 5. No one will want to park underground. Hey Mr. Mayor and shady trustees: Tinley Park is not Chicago. It never has, and it never will be. You can get away with underground parking in Millenium Park, but not in a suburb. Train commuters will not be thrilled with going into a subterranean cavern after a long days work, with some bum peeing in the corner. It's just not going to work. 6. The village will still use eminent domain against the Dennis family. The temporary workaround of putting the new parking lot on the old Central Jr. High property will have to give way to townhomes eventually. At that point, the village will come back after the Dennis family to take their land. And the public outroar over it will be another black eye on the village. So there you have it. Tinley Park is two days away from making the biggest mistake since it passed on the mall so Orland Park could have it. It's funny becuase the whole reason this stupid project is going forward is to raise our property values. If they were so concerned about that, they should have got the mall all those years ago. This project is no mall, just an eyesore on our downtown. Here's the agenda for the August 22nd meeting, 8:00 at the Tinley Village Hall. This will be the final act of this tragedy, unless divine intervention or common sense somehow prevail: ITEM #10 SUBJECT: CONSIDER RESOLUTION NUMBER 2006-R-022 AUTHORIZING THE EXECUTION OF AREDEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT - TINLEY PARK PLACE - Trustee Rea/Trustee Seaman ACTION: Discussion - This Resolution would authorize the adoption of a redevelopment agreement for the proposed North Street project, also known as Tinley Park Place. The approved site plan and permitted uses include 115 residential units, approximately 16,000 square feet of office space, approximately 43,000 square feet of retail space and an 11-screen cinema. The agreement outlines responsibilities of the Village to construct parking in adjacent areas in conjunction with the project. In addition, the agreement identifies financial incentives to be provided by the Village in order to support the development in accordance with the policy guidelines set by the Finance and Economic Development Committee on June 6, 2006. This Resolution is eligible for adoption. ITEM #11 SUBJECT: CONSIDER ORDINANCE NUMBER 2006-O-035 GRANTING VARIANCES AND GRANTING A SPECIAL USE PERMIT FOR A PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT - TINLEY PARK PLACE - Trustee Seaman ACTION: Discussion - This Ordinance would approve a Planned Unit Development (PUD) within the H-1 Historic District to allow for the construction of the proposed North Street project, also known as Tinley Park Place. The PUD includes variations for height, density, floor area ratio, lot coverage, setbacks for outdoor café use, parking, signage and landscaping. In addition, the PUD identifies that the project will consist of 115 residential units, approximately 16,000 square feet of office space, approximately 43,000 square feet of retail space and an 11-screen cinema. This project was discussed at a Public Hearing held before the Long Range Plan Commission on March 23, 2006, and was recommended for approval by a vote of 6-2-0. This Ordinance is eligible for adoption.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Guy arrested at Tinley Ice

The police chased this guy to the ice house, put him in handcuffs, and put him in an ambulance.

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211 at Tinley Ice

Monday, August 14, 2006

Brian Anderson hit a homer! Yeeeah!

Testing from comcast

Good morning everyone. I'm just checking to see if I can still update from my comcast account. Also, there is no meeting tomorrow night at the Village, as they have cancelled it. By the way, I'm sorry I missed the last meeting, couldn't pass up the Sox thrilling come from behind win over the Yankees as I watched from section 508. Go sox!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Hi everyone. Sorry it's been so long. I just wanted to say go sox and I'll be at the game tomorrow, in the lower deck for once.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

North Street all but approved

Well, the North Street project, barring some miracle, is going to go forward. After all the "tough negotiations, the Village has apparently given away the store to the tune of 21.5 million dollars. That's your money and mine, folks. Remember the names Zabrocki, Rea, Seaman, Bettenhausen, Hannon, Maher, and Heffernan so you know who to blame for this travesty come election time in 2007 and 2009.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Montreal runs

I was recently in Montreal all the last week on business. How I didn't go insane from lack of internet on both the Treo and in the hotel is testament to my mental fortitude, but unfortunately my blogging did in fact suffer. My running, however, didn't. I took advantage of the excellent bike trail system Montreal has in place and went on some truly scenic runs of 8, 9, and 10 miles. In Montreal, there are rivers, canals, locks, peninsulas, inlets, piers, and bridges everywhere. I managed to get three runs in, doing large loops along side the St Lawerence River, crossing the Jean-Baptiste bridge, the largest bridge I've ever crossed on foot. I also saw the Biodome, the Montreal Casino, the Molson brewery, and other interesting sites. On a trip that otherwise would have drove me crazy, the wonderful nighttime runs in Quebec's largest city kept me sane. Montreal has beautiful people and is a beautiful city and I highly recommend it to anyone that wants to have a great run.

North Street project up for first reading

Well, apparently Tinley Park and the developers kissed and made up while I was in Montreal. The North Street project is back on the tracks, picking up steam on its collision course to destroy downtown Tinley Park. Below is the finance part of the project on the August 8th, 2006 agenda: ITEM #10 SUBJECT: CONSIDER RESOLUTION NUMBER 2006-R-022 AUTHORIZING THE EXECUTION OF A REDEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT - TINLEY PARK PLACE - Trustee Rea/Trustee Seaman ACTION: Discussion - This Resolution was placed on the table at the regular Board meeting held on July 18, 2006. This Resolution would authorize the adoption of a development agreement for the proposed North Street project, also known as Tinley Park Place. The approved site plan and permitted uses include 115 residential units, approximately 16,000 square feet of office space, approximately 43,000 square feet of retail space and an 11-screen cinema. The agreement outlines responsibilities of the Village to construct parking in adjacent areas in conjunction with the project. In addition, the agreement identifies financial incentives to be provided by the Village in order to support the development in accordance with the policy guidelines set by the Finance and Economic Development Committee on June 6, 2006. Consider removing this item from the table. This Resolution is eligible for first reading. Needless to say I'm pretty disappointed. I was really hoping it would all fall apart, but if Tinley Park wants to shoot itself in the foot, so be it. By the way, as I rolled by on Oak Park Avenue today, I noticed the Gumball shop was going out of business. Again.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Stuck in Montreal

I miss everyone and everything about the U.S!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Happy Belated birthday to my sister Rachel, roomie Tim, and roomie Tim's friend Alison, who all have July 19th birthdays. Many happy returns!

North Street Tabled! For 2 weeks anyways. Pat Rea has said the village has gone as far is it will go. Tough Negotiating indeed.