Glen Ellyn trustee reverses course, won't resign from current term

 
 
Updated 2/12/2019 7:41 PM
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  • Mark Senak

    Mark Senak

Two weeks after he abruptly resigned in the middle of a village board debate over a large-scale downtown apartment development, Glen Ellyn Trustee Mark Senak apparently had second thoughts.

Rather than cast a vote on the project, Senak announced he was resigning and walked away from the board dais. But he still needed to satisfy several legal requirements to officially step down.

On Monday, Senak brought a signed and notarized letter of resignation to the meeting, presented it to the village clerk and then asked fellow trustees whether he should follow through.

Of the three other board members present, Trustee Bill Enright said Senak should serve out the rest of his term, which expires this spring. Trustee John Kenwood said the decision was up to Senak. Trustee Pete Ladesic agreed, but added he "didn't think it was particularly becoming of an elected official to not get their way and walk out."

Senak then announced he wouldn't step down after all. But still upset over the five-story development at the site of the former Giesche Shoe store, Senak on Tuesday suggested in an email he might ask the board to put an advisory referendum question on the April 2 ballot to give residents a chance to chime in "whether the village should permit buildings in excess of 45 feet to be constructed in the C-5A Zoning District or other areas of the Central Business District."

The only problem, is, the deadline for putting such questions on the spring ballot, has long passed. In a follow-up email, Senak said he would "look to the next eligible election and request the matter be submitted to a referendum at that time."

All of which leaves Senak, who is running for re-election in an uncontested race April 2, still on the village board and still unable to put the brakes on a development that he contends is too tall, dense and ill-suited for the character of a historic Main Street.

Village President Diane McGinley and trustees Craig Pryde, Kenwood and Ladesic have backed the Apex development, which would contain 107 upscale apartments, 8,844 square feet of first-floor retail space and a two-story parking garage with 137 public spaces. Supporters say the project would provide much-needed rental housing for retirees, bring foot traffic to shops and restaurants and maintain the downtown's vibrancy.

The board has agreed to zoning deviations, exterior plans and a village incentive of $1.36 million to reimburse developers over five years. The project will head back to the plan commission and the village board for final approval. That review is expected in the spring.

In a statement, Senak said the idea for a nonbinding referendum "is not directly related to the Giesche project," but would provide input to the board in assessing developments and in deciding whether the current building height restrictions should remain the same or be changed as part of ongoing work to update the village's comprehensive plan.

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