Batavia candidate: Years too long for Walgreens approval
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More than a year has passed since plans were presented for a replacement Walgreens store in downtown Batavia, but the matter has yet to be voted on by the city council.
Steve Vasilion, candidate for 5th Ward alderman, thinks it has been too long, and that the process by which such projects are evaluated needs to be improved. Much of the downtown is in the 5th Ward.
"They (Walgreens) deserved a better process; they are a good neighbor," he said in a Daily Herald endorsement interview.
But his opponent, Alderman Eldon Frydendall, disagrees that the city has dragged its feet. "They haven't presented anything except a few variances," he said, and that the council won't make a decision until "they present something with meat on it."
Vasilion pointed out that Batavia Enterprises, the owner of most of the proposed site and developer of the project, had several public open houses about the project, and that he had seen other aldermen at them, but not Frydendall. The zoning board and plan commission have had hearings on the project, starting in February 2012, and tabled action from April to November 2012.
Both have recommended allowing variances to some city design laws about the setback of the building from the street, and the parking needed, to the council's community development committee.
"I think they (Batavia Enterprises) would love to inform you if you met with them," Vasilion said.
Frydendall said he had not been invited to the open houses, and that the aldermen who did attend could have violated the Open Meetings Act, if a quorum of the council was present.
However, he added, "I will support Batavia Enterprises, I will support Walgreens at that location."
He noted that the plan depends in part on the city selling or giving part of a parking lot to Batavia Enterprises, and that no detailed information on such a transaction has been presented to the council.
The plan commission will make a recommendation on design to the development committee, which would then make a recommendation to the city council. Walgreens is on the commission's March 20 agenda, the matter is expected to be delayed until soil-boring results are received, according to community development director Scott Buening.
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