Our Thoughts on the Drake/Bess Hardware Project

We believe in the need to revitalize downtown. The Bess Hardware project is essential to this effort due to its prominent location.

Most residents, including us, support the need to re-develop the Bess property. However, we believe the Village could have done better in developing this Village-owned property, resulting in a better outcome.

Here's how the Village Board could have done better:

· The Village has not been transparent about the Drake/Bess Hardware Project from the very beginning. In February 2017, the Village Trustees adopted a Comprehensive Plan that does not mention a Transit Orientated Development (TOD) for downtown Glenview. Between July-September 2017, the Village deliberately marketed the property through the real estate firm CBRE as a TOD. Our Village Board did this without any public input.

· Between November 2017 and May 2018, the Board reviewed eight proposals from developers. On June 19, 2018, the Board approved a Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA) for The Drake Group proposed mixed-use TOD. When a resident filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Village seeking documents related to competitive offers for the Bess site, they denied the request. The Village claims these records are exempt from public disclosure.

· Investments made by the Village supporting this project exceed $1.2 Million. They include the following:

o Loss on sale of the property to Drake $415,000.

o Village soil allowance to Drake $274,000.

o Cost for road, retail parking spaces, and train signals $590,000.

o Excluded is the value of the 0.31 acres of land added to the parcel as part of a Metra swap.

· This public spending level warrants complete public disclosure of why the Village chose to pursue this proposal versus other offers.

The Village Board approved the project with a 4-2 Board vote on March 3, 2020. And on January 14, 2021, the Village Board approved a Fourth Amendment (4-2 vote) to the Drake Group's sales contract. With this amendment, the Board guaranteed that future Boards could not revisit this project. It is a done deal.

How can the Village do better in the future?

We call for a public "pre-development" meeting with the Village Board, staff, residents, and other interested stakeholders BEFORE sending any project to the Planning Commission. This meeting allows for open dialogue between attendees and accomplishes several goals: (1) it gives the developer a chance to present his/her vision for the project and how it benefits Glenview; (2) it enables the Village Board to deliver first thoughts on the project; (3) it allows residents and other stakeholders to make their views known at the beginning of the process; (4) it enables the Village and media to communicate about this project to residents; and (5) it outlines the process as the project moves to the Planning Commission and how stakeholders can get involved.

In addition, we want a revision to the planning process that will include an upfront meeting with the Village staff, the developer, residents, local businesses, and other key stakeholders who will be impacted by the project. It would be best if they held this meeting on site. This early meeting will ensure local stakeholders get heard early in the process and address stakeholder issues. It will save time at planning meetings with fewer public comments and complaints. And ultimately, it results in final plans that work for everyone

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