The Latest from Naperville City Council July 2017

A new development is on its way to town after moves taken at the latest City Council meeting.

Aptly called “The Washington,” this strip of land at 720 North Washington Street near Ogden Avenue will soon become a three-story building comprised of retail and residential space.

Mayor Steve Chirico abstained from the council’s approval because his business, Great Western Flooring, will fill one of the three business spaces in the building. Eight residential rental units will be housed on the second and third floors.

Also discussed at the meeting were the potential changes to Naperville’s taxi regulations.

After city staff worked to streamline the process by which taxis are registered with the city and drivers undergo background checks, several council members questioned the value in the regulations set forth by the code.

“I’m not interested in improving the process, I’m interested in removing the process. For every action that staff takes there’s an opportunity cost. If they’re doing this, than they’re not doing that. And I’d rather have the police doing a lot of other things beyond fingerprinting taxi drivers,” said Councilman John Krummen.

Several council members were interested in leveling the playing field between taxi drivers and app-based drivers. But Councilwoman Brodhead was hoping change would come with more scrutiny rather than less.

“I’d like to see Uber or Lyft step up their game and perhaps make their customers feel a little more secure, rather than have us move in the other direction,” said Councilwoman Judy Brodhead.

The discussion was tabled until the next meeting, so staff can bring back more information on other cities that have changed their regulations.

Finally, the public continued to plead with the council to save the Old Nichols Library from redevelopment. Several speakers spoke during the public forum requesting that the building not be changed and rebuilt into a four story development of retail shops, restaurants, offices and condos.

“He taught Naperville how to do business. Upon his death he bequeathed $10,000 to the college for a gymnasium. He left funding for the building, the library so everyone could have a book. We see it as the heart of town and should remain so,” said Dolle Nichols, great-granddaughter of James Nichols, for whom the Library is named.

A request has been submitted to give the building local landmark status, which would protect it from exterior changes and require city review. Meanwhile, the developer, Dwight Avram, says he would incorporate the existing exterior facade in his development and notes that many changes were already made to the building.

The city’s Historic Preservation Committee is expected to review the landmark status application in mid-August, while the Planning and Zoning Commission will meet August 2 to consider other variances to Avram’s development.

Naperville News 17’s Alyssa Bochenek reports.

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