Rogina: Lengthen Comment Periods for Controversial Developments
Alderman and mayoral candidate notes St. Charles residents were shocked by sudden Lexington Club approval less than a month after aldermen voted to recommend rejection of a TIF district for the project.
Alderman Ray Rogina of St. Charles’ 3rd Ward on Thursday called for a city policy to ensure the public gets at least seven days notice prior to any controversial votes on proposed developments.
In a release issued Thursday, Rogina vowed he would implement the policy if elected mayor of St. Charles on April 9.
His call for the policy follows the City Council’s divided vote nearly two weeks ago to approve the development, which has faced vocal opposition from neighbors of the project, as well as from critics of the city’s use of tax-increment financing districts.
Just a month prior, aldermen voted to reject the TIF for the project, effectively killing the plan. But the developer came back with a revised TIF, reducing the amount sought as reimbursements for improvements to the site from more than $6 million to $5.6 million. The reimbursements are to repay the developer for mitigation of contaminants at the site, formerly occupied by the Applied Composites factory, as well as for other improvements.
According to Rogina, many concerned residents told him they were shocked to learn a final vote on the Lexington Club had been added to the Jan. 7 City Council agenda just days prior to the meeting. The City Council agenda was posted on the city’s website the Friday before the Monday meeting.
“I support a policy that gives residents a reasonable amount of time to lobby their representatives directly,” Rogina said in the release. “I would recommend citizens engage their elected officials and ask for the rationale of their beliefs. This process implies more than one weekend of notice.”
The City Council’s 5-5 vote — a tie broken by Mayor Donald DeWitte — was an indication of just how contentious the Lexington Club proposal is. The developer plans to build 102-townhouses and 28-single family homes on the site between 6th and 12th streets.
“I believe the Lexington vote was a surprise rush to judgment,” Rogina said in the release. “I am confident that the lessons of Lexington make all of us better policymakers and I will continue to advocate professionalism, collegiality, cooperation and transparency among the decision-makers of our city.”
Rogina also said his position should not be viewed as “anti-development.”
“I encourage responsible growth where issues are thoroughly discussed, whether in person or through city surveys,” Rogina said in his release. “Citizens should have ample opportunity to comment before the council votes.”
Rogina is a retired St. Charles East High School teacher and a lifelong advocate for students and teachers who has lived in St. Charles for nearly 40 years.
- Jan. 18, 2013: St. Charles Mayoral Contenders Mixed on Rogina Notice Plan
- Jan. 8, 2013:Lexington Club Vote Sparks Anger
- Jan. 7, 2013:St. Charles Shocker: Council OKs Lexington Club
- Dec. 18, 2012:Corporate Reserve, Lexington Club Hang in Limbo
- Dec. 10, 2012:St. Charles Aldermen Kill Corporate Reserve, Lexington Club
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