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« From the Cook Family ... | Main | Former Libertyville Village Council Member Lived at 212 W. Maple »

03/31/2009

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1) It's my current understanding the church needs a total of 350 parking spaces for the planned expansion/renovation. We, as a neighborhood group, need to review this carefully and understand all of this issues here, becuase, as Mira pointed out, this may in the end be THE issue that the church/Village can't surmount. That is, why tear down 212 since there's such an amazing dearth of parking for the church in the neighborhood anyway. Also, as a resident on Jackson pointed out to the neighborhood at a meeting held in the church, the parking IS out of control. But that's because the church opened the door to a major church expansion in a neighborhood that couldn't support it long ago, in 1986.

2)I don't even think they can get 30 spaces out of the 212 Maple lot. But again, we need to make sure of our numbers here.

3) Yes, since the church is SO deficient in parking, and since the Village appears to be willing to let the church make parking arrangements/contracts for parking not controlled by the church but by other entities (i.e., among others, the high school)to meet zoning requirements, why NOT prevent the destruction of still one more old home (probably #12 by the church) and tell the church to get all of its parking from the high school? That seems VERY reasonable. AND, respectful not only to the church, but to one of the oldest neighborhoods in L'ville, according to Jim Moran, author of the well-sold, recent historical book on Libertyville:

"Historical and neighborhood preservation in our village is very important to me, especially in your neighborhood - Maple/Division is one of the original streets in town - the neighborhood feel should be preserved......"

("Division" is the old name for "Maple.")

4)Besides 213 W. Maple (the white house next to the church), I don't think any other homes are in danger, since they would not yield signficant parking. However, it has recently come to my attention that it is possible the church will buy the (3) homes as a single purchase from a single owner to the east of Stewart and on the south side of Maple to convert to parking. The church could probably get a massive amount of parking with these (3) lots, especially since they are double-deep. If the church were to go this direction, we would need to again, upfront, address the preservation issue over the parking issue. We suspect that so far the church has not gone this direction becuase of the price tag - probably $1.5 - 2M - because the lots are deep and can be sold as a package.

5)I do not believe any family/owner non-affiliated with the church in the immediate Maple/Douglas/Stewart area north of 176 has accepted the church's current plans, with the exception of the owner who wants to sell the (3) lots - see above - at . There is at least one family, employed by the church, who is not opposed, but does not appear to be strongly in favor either, based on comments I have heard in the church meeting and at the recent Village Planning Commission meeting.

6)Jim Engdahl has said the Village and church are one. I think there is reason to believe this. (4) members of the Board of Trustees are members of the church, including Mayor Harger. At least (2) of these members have said they will not recuse themselves on this matter at the upcoming Board of Trustees Meeting. The church claims to be a neighborhood church, but it considers the neighborhood as sub-standard in a town of monster houses. And the church has already torn-down so many houses in the neighborhood that it considers the neighborhood weak, not that attractive. What the church means by neighborhood church is close to town, close to the other churches in the neighborhood. The church, from everything we can tell, has no sense of historic preservation - except for its 1929 chapel. Sorry, but my 1850 house beats your chapel.

7) The church has offered no alternative. BUT --- the neighborhood has. We do not want to overly impede the growth of the church, as long as that is within reason. We proposed the church build a parking garage on the parking lot on the north side of Maple and directly across from the church. Jim Engdahl, owner of the home adjacent to the the existing prayer labyrinthe on the west side, and who is probably closest to this parking lot, is in favor. He would rather have a nicely designed building on the lot, rather than a gaping hole in the neighborhood. He would certainly rather have the parking garage than have the church tear down 212 W. Maple.

8) The cul-de-sac idea is a new one, but one we should definitely discuss as a neighborhood. My own sense is we need to slow, but not stop traffic on Maple. Traffic (motor, foot, other), is like arteries/veins are to the body, bringing nutrients in and waste out. I can dig out some great urban planning concepts re this, if/when we want to investigate this in depth. Part of the problem on Maple is the street has been widened, again, for the church, so it can have a lot more parking on Sundays. Problem is, during the week, this increased street width encourages higher speeds. I can cite urban planning analysis to support this. Speed bumps or levels or tables can be used to slow traffic. (There are multiple traffic calming techniques we can use.) If the traffic is slowed, I'm thinking some traffic will NOT use Maple as a cut-through - it just won't be convenient/fast enough. Also, the church has got a major issue with its pre-school and the speed of traffic in our neighborhood. I would think, on this point, they might want to cooperate. But, if the solution affects Sunday morning parking - maybe not.


A few corrections to the post immediately above:

In #5, I state ". . . one family, employed by the church . . ". Rather, a family member is employed by the pre-school.

In #7, I state ". . . the street [Maple] has been widened, again, for the church, so it can have a lot more parking on Sundays." I don't know this for a fact. I am speculating. However, it seems like a reasonable speculation, given what we know about the close ties of the church to the Village. Jim Engdahl or Ms. Smith, both Maple/Douglas neighbors for 40+ years, may know why the street was widened, and when it was widened. But again, I seriously suspect it was to address the church's massive deficiency in parking - because the parking constraints were not in keeping with the existing infrastructure of the neighborhood.

I was married in a cathedral - yes cathedral - set in middle of a neighborhood - in Evanston. St. Luke's Episcopal Church, @ Hinman and Lee. There is NO attempt to match the parking needs with the size of the church there. People walk, are dropped off, take mass transportation, and yes park - but at a distance. Evanston is a very walkable city. Trouble is, we are suburbanites, so we don't have the el & many of us, in this town, don't have the cultural mentality of a walking city.

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