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updated: 8/22/2011 11:58 PM

Arlington Hts. design commission offers to help fight flooding

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If the village of Arlington Heights puts together a task force to study flooding, the architects and landscape architects on the design commission could help, the chairman said Monday night.

Alan Bombick was one of several commission leaders who made an annual report to the village board Monday night. All of the groups work with staff from the plan commission.

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Architects and landscape architects understand how sustainable practices and other techniques can be used in development and redevelopment, he said.

"There are things that can be done to help alleviate or slow water down," said Bombick.

He also said that three or four houses with some charm have been torn down recently because they were in bad condition, and perhaps buyers could have been found to save them.

"In past times somebody would have bought them and fixed them up," said Bombick.

He asked that this issue be studied and after the meeting said it would help if the design commission were notified when demolition permits are issued.

"We should try to finds someone who would like to restore then and use for a business or home or at least salvage the details that might be in better shape than the house or at least document the house so we have a record of what the village looked like," he said.

In other commission reports:

• Bruce Green said projects go from application to a hearing before the plan commission in an average of 45 days, which is much shorter than previously. This includes a required 30 days that a sign is placed in front of the property to notify neighbors of what is proposed for the property. Most of the plan commission members now attend more informal meetings when developers appear before the plat and subdivision committee, and that has helped speed up the process, he said. The village board rarely overturns decisions of the plan commission, said Charles Witherington-Perkins, director of planning and community development.

• The arts commission could use more money and a few more members, said Toni Higgins-Thrash. Trustee John Scaletta suggested the commission find someone to write grant proposals. Janet Souter, a member of the arts commission, received credit for spearheading a project where second-graders from several schools worked with Metropolis staff to write plays based on fairy tales that were then performed at the theater.

• Businesses in town are not aware of the help they can receive from governmental bodies and many do not have marketing plans, said Anthony Guido, chairman of the Arlington Economic Alliance. He liked the idea from Trustees Mike Sidor and Thomas Glasgow to put symbols on posters and in store windows that interested passers-by could click on with their smart phones to connect with websites like www.discoverarlington.com, which promotes businesses. More should be done to draw traffic to that website, said Glasgow.

• Siobhan White said the housing commission has a task force to work toward a goal of establishing a trust fund to support affordable housing in the village. The village has also formed a regional group of neighboring municipalities to work on affordable housing issues, she said.

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