Birutis vetoes Winfield zoning change
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Winfield Village President Deborah Birutis has vetoed a village board decision to rezone parcels along Roosevelt and Garys Mill roads. Trustees say they plan to overturn the veto.
Daily Herald file photo
Accusing four Winfield trustees of taking an "illegal" vote to rezone parcels along Roosevelt Road, Village President Deborah Birutis has vetoed the move.
The board members who approved the zoning change, however, say they have the votes needed to overturn the veto.
"We're going to overturn the veto during our next meeting," Trustee Tim Allen said.
Allen said he and fellow trustees Tony Reyes, James Hughes and Jay Olson want to commercialize the stretch of Roosevelt that runs through Winfield to create a larger revenue base for the cash-strapped village.
The trustees argue their decision to rezone 15 residential parcels along Roosevelt and Garys Mill roads to a commercial zoning classification was the right thing to do.
"Previous administrations and village officials have found ways to avoid developing the village in the last eight years," Reyes said, "and it's hurt us tremendously.
"These are troubled times," he said. "We need to be more willing to accept the change that's necessary for our village to prosper."
But Birutis claims the rezoning was "illegal" because the March 7 vote was taken without a recommendation from the village plan commission, which had postponed its discussion on Roosevelt until May.
"Trustees Olson, Hughes, Reyes and Allen felt that they are above the law," Birutis wrote in an email to the Daily Herald.
Birutis also accused the trustees of "spinning more lies" about Costco and Meijer having an interest in Winfield.
Earlier in the week, Allen and Olson said they have had multiple conversations since September with a site selector for Costco and Meijer about the possibility of one or both of the retailers acquiring land along the north side of Roosevelt near Wynwood Road.
Birutis, however, points out that the site selector didn't contact any village staff. If a retailer was interested in Winfield, she said, it would have approached the village and asked about rezoning.
"Knowing the character of these two trustees (Allen and Olson), I believe their game is simply a political stunt timed perfectly weeks before the April 9th election," Birutis wrote.
Allen responded by saying the talks he had with the site selector were real. In fact, Allen said, he's worried all the attention the issue got might "scare away" Costco and Meijer.
Even if the retailers don't build in Winfield, Birutis said she's concerned about what could be constructed in the rezoned area. That's because the business zoning the trustees approved "allows for virtually any type of business with no buffer to the adjacent residential lots," she said.
"I do not believe there are many residents that feel that the area could not be redeveloped," Birutis wrote. "I think it could be. With some research, planning and caring about the residents, it could be redeveloped the right way to benefit everyone in Winfield."
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