Watching the Sept. 19 Rolling Meadows Committee of the Whole illustrated to me how resistant council members are to new alderman Joe Gallo.
Regarding the Dominick's property, a straw poll of aldermen was favorable toward Ryan Homes building 120 townhouses at $300,000-plus, leaving about 1.5 acres for commercial use.
Alderman John D'Astice felt the townhouse plan is a "pretty good idea" and so voted in favor. Three others voted along with him.
Gallo, however, made the effort to explore the economic impact of commercial zoning vs. residential. A report from Dr. Begashaw of Harper College detailed specific economic reasons why changing zoning from commercial to residential would have a negative impact to a city.
A sketch of the 120 proposed two- and three-story townhouses appears crowded and congested.
It's evident four aldermen believe that something is better than nothing, because it's been an empty space for so long. But what economic value will this bring to Rolling Meadows? Plus, it kills any chance of bringing in commercial. Is there a strategic plan for development of Rolling Meadows?
Townhomes are springing up throughout the suburbs. Schaumburg is scheduled to build 2,300 homes which could potentially affect the Rolling Meadows real estate market and minimize sales of the Ryan homes. Kirchoff Road is already flooded with unsold condos and townhouses.
Gallo obtained detailed, factual information on the economic development of zoning changes. It would have been prudent for the council to delay the straw vote until they: review the economic report presented; refrain from giving Ryan Homes direction to proceed; be open-minded to new data and connect with constituents.
Further, Rolling Meadows aldermen need to welcome new members who bring fresh ideas and information. The divide is evident when the same council members vote as a pack. This resistance is not conducive to a sound future for Rolling Meadows.
Jim M. Saffron