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Big problems with proposed expansion of 120 S. State St.

8 October 2013 Chuck Keysor 67 Comments

There are big problems with the proposed expansion of the 120 S. State subsidized housing project and I’m hopeful that you will review the following information and recommendations.

The first image shows what exists today at 120 S. State.

The white building, 132 S. State, has been purchased by the Housing Authority of Elgin (HAE) and will be demolished to make room for the expansion of 120 S. State. The project as proposed and presented at the 8/20/13 HAE board meeting is shown in the three following images.

1) As senior housing, this complex is only required to have 1/2 parking stall for each apartment. But according to testimony at the Planning/Zoning hearing, they are going to add 14 market rate apartments, so there will be a total of 164 units when the project is done. They have figured all the apartments at 1/2 parking stall per apartment, while I contend that the 14 market rate apartments should require the standard apartment code requirement of 2 parking spaces per unit. Instead of having 82 parking stalls for residents, if they are to properly allow for the residents of the 14 market rate apartments, the HAE design should have 103 parking spaces for residents. There is no allowance for market rate parking spaces in the existing HAE design. Market rate tenants are much more likely to have cars. If these parking spaces aren’t provided, the market rate concept will probably fail.

2) The Housing Authority of Elgin wants to increase the space for their office parking from the current 9 parking stalls, up to 20 to go with the increased office space in the new building. That would bring their total parking requirement up to 123 units. But their submitted plan is to have only 103 parking spaces! That is a short-fall of 20 parking spaces!

3) The HAE has talked a lot about the fact that they are only adding 6 apartment units however, what they are not telling you, is that this project will increase the MAXIMUM housing capacity with the new building by 123 residents!

The existing 120 S. State, plus the old 132 S. State had a total maximum housing capacity of 158 people but with the new building, they are not just adding apartments, they are also increasing the size of the existing apartments.

The HAE has an obligation to house as many poor people as they can. They cannot, and will not fill every one and two bed room apartment with only one person! When this is realized, it becomes clear why the HAE has not publicly disclosed the new maximum housing capacity.

With each efficiency holding one person, each 1 bedroom apartment holding two people, and each 2 bedroom apartment holding 4 people, the resident population would go up to 356 people, which is an increase of 123 people. That is a potential increase of 52%!!!!!!!!!!

Though City Code may not address this, it must be realized and should be codified in Elgin Code, that it is people who drive, not apartments. So to peg the parking requirements for a senior efficiency apartment at 1/2 parking stall per apartment, the same as a two bedroom apartment that can hold 4 people makes absolutely no sense. IF required parking spaces were to be determined based upon maximum occupancy limits, the need for parking would probably increase by 52%!

4) About 1/2 of the first floor of the new building is supposed to be zoned for retail space however, there is NO parking allowance for the store in the new plan.

5) Because there isn’t enough available land for sufficient parking, there also isn’t enough room to keep the present two way entrance/exit drive way connected to S. State Street.

As a result, with the proposed new project, anyone leaving 120 S. State will have to drive through the parking lot of 104 S. State and exit via Locust Street.

The intersection of S. State and Locust is:

a) Curved, it goes down hill
b) Very close to a railroad crossing.
c) It is single lane in each direction

All of these factors make this a bad intersection that the residents and visitors to 120 S. State can presently avoid. S. State is flat and straight in front of 120 S. State, so the exit should remain in this location for safety sake.

6) Currently, there are traffic tie-ups at the intersection of Locust and S. State when St. Edwards High lets out for the day. That takes place between 2:30 and 3:00 PM on weekdays. To a much lesser extent, the traffic also backs up during the morning and afternoon rush hours, adding MORE traffic from the expanded offices, residences and store at 120 S. State will exacerbate this problem.

7) The existing 120 S. State HAE building is well sited back from the street. The pleasing open green space for public housing was probably a pioneering concept back in the late 1960s, when Chicago was building super high density public housing. Chicago and the rest of the nation have abandoned high density subsidized housing as a failed experiment. (Caprini Green and Robert Taylor Homes as an example). But what is Elgin’s public housing doing? It is proposing that we go in the REVERSE direction! The HAE is increasing its housing density and eliminating much of its front lawn green space. How does that make any sense?

Recommendations to the City Council and City Staff:

1) Please review the following images of what I will call the “traditional design”. These new images show that it is possible to design an expansion to 120 S. State, that no only preserves the existing set-back from S. State, but which also address every problem addressed above, including parking, traffic and even appearance.

This image is a perspective view showing what someone driving by on S. State would see. Please compare that to the corresponding HAE image above. You can appreciate how making the new, traditional addition match the existing building creates a very satisfying harmony. This same approach, of making the new addition match the old, is what was done so successfully when Oak Crest (204 S. State) expanded their historic facility about 15 years ago.

The “traditional design” also “steps down” towards the south as Staff recommended that the HAE design do in order to transition better into the neighborhood. (However that is a faulty justification for a stepped down design. The great setback is the biggest attribute contributing to a fit within the local environment. That is why the HAE design fails to integrate into the street scape, because even though it is much smaller than the alternate “traditional design”, it appears huge and ponderous as it looms menacingly close to the street, as it has almost no setback!) The greater value in the “stepped down” design is that when coupled with a sufficient setback, it creates what historic architects refer to as “picturesque asymmetrical massings”, that certain schools of thought feel is a naturally pleasing concept.

This image shows the front “elevation” of the proposed “traditional design”. The “bridge” connects the existing building with the new building. The entrance to both buildings is below and in the front of the bridge. With the HAE proposed design, the entrance is located in a less than obvious location, which is partly why they added the big awning and unusual color scheme, to draw attention to the entrance, which would have likely been lost to the average visitor. In the” traditional design” proposal, the entrance is naturally and intuitively identifiable. And not only does it serve as the entrance to the facility, it also trumps the HAE design by serving as the exit as well.

The HAE design also fails to provide any connection between the new building and the old building. So if one were to enter under the grand awning, they would have to walk outside of the new building to get to the new building. So why not just put a big awning over the back entrance to the old building as well????

This image shows an aerial view of the proposed “traditional design”. Note the driveway that is used presently for 120 S. State has been kept in its existing location. The expanded area for parking and storm water retention is visible in the top left part of this image, along Locust Street. Though it would be more costly, instead of adding parking on Locust Street, parking could be provided in this new building, or in a deck behind the building.

This image shows how the “traditional design” can be easily scaled up (or down) in height depending upon the final resolution of the store, office and parking locations and parking requirements.

2) REQUIRE that 120 S. State must have its own direct entrance and exit onto S. State Street. That will allow direct exit from the complex onto S. State Street, where it is level, straight, away from the train tracks, and where it will not add to the congestion that regularly occurs at Locust and S. State when St. Ed’s ends its school day between 2:30 and 3PM. This point MUST not be dropped whatever happens.

3) To obtain the needed parking space AND setbacks AND two-way driveway:
a) buy and tear down three small junky houses on Locust Street (303, 305 and 311)
b) build a parking deck on the present lot
c) build parking into the basement of the new building
d) make the new addition to 120 S. State be taller, thus requiring a much smaller foot print, thus saving land for parking, green space and storm water run-off.

A note on point 3d: City Staff seems to feel tall buildings are a mistake. That is their personal opinion, and is NOT code.
Notes on 3b and 3c: They will costs lots of untold extra dollars. Option a) may take a long time (305 &311 Locust were both for sale last year and had been vacant for a long time. I recommended in email to Bob Gilliam in June 2012 that the HAE purchase those properties.) But what is the rush?

4) Immediately deny the request for a store at 120 S. State. The mission of the HAE is public housing, not retail. And 120 S. State is one block from JJ Peppers and a slow 10 minute walk to Butera. (Butera shopping carts can regularly be seen in the parking lot of 120 S. State.) And the current design has made NO allowance for retail parking. And even in the event that parking is obtained, no one has presented a compelling case why there should be a store or ANY retail/commercial activity at this location. That is simply making another totally unnecessary change to the fabric of the neighborhood. Denial of the retail/commercial operation is absolutely mandatory if the existing HAE design with its insufficient parking is accepted!

5) Immediately deny the request for added office space. That will eliminate the need for 11 parking spaces. AND Elgin is full of empty office space. The mission of the HAE is public housing, not office building. This position could be compromised IF all three lots are acquired on Locust Street.

6) There is no compelling crisis that is demanding that this project at 120 S. State go ahead at full speed. The only urgency is due to the personal desires of the HAE. Instead of committing an error that will mar Elgin for the next 60 years, step back and commission a strategic plan for the high density housing along this stretch of S. State Street, from W. Chicago Street up to Walnut/National Street.
a) 222 Locust is past obsolescence, and the City is after them to install sprinklers.
b) 85 S. Crystal is a mess. Both 222 and 85 should be torn down and replaced with something better.
c) Look at using Central Park for low density mixed income housing. That property is wasted, and is nothing more than a home for hobos. A nice low density housing development there would make much more sense INSTEAD of adding high density housing into 120 S. State.

Step back, tell the HAE to relax, and then make a strategic plan for what is best for the City of Elgin. The proposed HAE expansion at 120 S. State is highly flawed and should be denied in its present conception.

Chuck Keysor

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67 Responses to “Big problems with proposed expansion of 120 S. State St.”

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  1. RS says:

    I agree with Chuck that it is time for some kind of major strategic plan. This building looks like a band-aid approach to affordable housing and it is unfortunately unattractive. I’m a supporter of contemporary architecture but the design of this building is not strong enough to warrant the use of such bold colors. Yellow and orange simply stand out too much and along with the large CPT lettering calls too much attention to the building. The design could be improved by a use of a more muted palette of grays and chocolate browns that will also harmonize with the existing buildings.

    But I think the call for a strategic plan makes more sense than hurrying to put up a building here. We should look at following the model of Chicago’s Plan for Transformation, where they replaced their problematic, high-density high rises with lower-density, mixed-income developments. We could do something like that coupled with a greater reliance on vouchers to achieve mixed-income housing in existing or new privately-owned developments.

    I don’t know the logistics, the feasibility or where funding for big projects like this come from (HUD?), but I think we need to take a look at a complete redevelopment of all the big projects surrounding the downtown, that is not just State Street but also the Clocktower Plaza. That whole site and the housing behind it can be redeveloped. This would be our answer to St. Charles’s First Street redevelopment project, and would be probably the single most transformative event for Downtown Elgin and something that can actually make a difference, whereas so many of our other efforts feels like throwing good money after bad.

  2. Chuck Keysor says:

    Thanks Rick for your positive comments.

    I must note that the architects for the project did in fact supply an updated color scheme, but I could not locate a copy. But because the thrust of my objections was so focused on more significant issues, I consider the colors to be a secondary issue, and didn’t even directly mention it in my text. Perhaps one of your readers can provide a copy of the newest color scheme.

    Thanks, Chuck

  3. Peter Galbreathe says:

    How about we do nothing at all! Just leave it alone. We don’t need this project in Elgin now the problems i see coming from it.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Hello Peter. Your suggestion that nothing be done presents the most logical course of action. The present building is in good shape. And the Housing Authority of Elgin has stated that they have a waiting list to get in. So it must be a pretty good place if people are waiting in line to get in!

      I sure wish I knew where this project concept came from. Has the idea been around for years? Or did somebody just come along and say, gee, let’s do this great project, it would look good on my resume???

      It was also rather interesting at the 9/3/13 Planning and Zoning hearing, where first they discussed the new Subaru dealership. Their call for a large on-grade storm water retention pond. One of the commissioners suggested that the retention pond could be placed underground. The developers said, “NO WAY! That would cost a fortune, and make it so we couldn’t afford the project”. But when the Housing Authority of Elgin presentation was made, they said, we don’t have enough room for an above ground storm water retention pond, so we are going to put a big tank under the parking lot. Through such indicators, the HAE implied that money was not an issue. And they also implied that they didn’t care that this project simply didn’t physically fit into this limited site. They were going to plow ahead no matter what.

      Thanks, Chuck

  4. Jacqueline says:

    I grew up in 222 locust and have nothing but bad memories(for the most part of my life) please tear them down our people deserve much better then that! I vaguely remember the smell of urine up and down the staircase, drinking and drugs day in and day out, please the time has come to tear them down. Put the residents in something better, the issue of what it boils down to is we have to want better for ourselves no one can force it on us, we are the key to our own destiny! I made it out and I’m most certain others can too. I could go on and on as to why they should be torn down, but God willing I don’t have the time.

  5. Chuck Keysor says:

    Paul, at the 9/3/13 Planning and Zoning hearing, residents of 120 S. State were in fact bussed in to speak. One stood up and justified the expansion of 120 S. State by saying that she is a taxpayer, and deserves a better place to live! Then she modified that by saying she had been a taxpayer for many years, and still deserves a better place to live. Chuck

  6. Todd Martin says:

    I think Chuck did a great job with his suggestions.

    Aside from his rendering looking a lot prettier than the EHA proposal, the safety improvements are laudable.

    Setbacks and road access are not sexy terms, but they mean a great deal to good civil engineering design.

    A proper setback (distance from the building to the road) provides the residents with less road noise, more of a safety buffer between cars & buildings, better sight lines for entry and exit of the road, options for later highway changes, and the opportunity for landscaping features.

    It would have been better if this sort of dialogue could have been done earlier in the process, so that EHA, the City, and the public could work together to make a better project. Now, with Planning & Zoning’s approval of the existing proposal, the City Council is given a harder job to do.

  7. One Vote says:

    Mayor Kaptain is all for low income housing(buzzword:Affordable).
    And he will put his clout behind any such project.
    I had a nice chat with him a couple of years back regarding the area at Hiawatha and Jefferson. On the face of it you would see it as the perfect combo. Established single-family homes, duplexes and apartments…all close to shopping and the bus stop. To the west you have modest older homes. To the east you have newer condos. To the north you have the megacomplex of Blackhawk. But it isn’t the happy valley one would expect. Kaptain acknowledged the many flaws but still clung to his affordable housing meme.
    This high density project will impact the neighborhood and double the existing problems. I used to visit some people in the high rise and there was never enough parking. And low-income elderly aren’t well-served at this location.

    • RS says:

      “And low-income elderly aren’t well-served at this location.”

      That’s an interesting point. It could be better to put them in a more pastoral location (Far West Side) where they can sit outside and enjoy some fresh air. I think there are safety concerns too. If you really do have elderly people in a high-rise, what happens when a fire breaks out? They’re not going to be able to rely on the elevators and stairs may be difficult for them to navigate in an emergency.

      If not the Far West Side, they should take a look at the lot across from “God’s Gym” aka Eastside Rec Center. A mixed use project on that site (including probably the bowling alley) could make a lot of sense as I think there is more of a need there for some small retail (convenience store) and possibly office spaces. They could probably do a really nice project there.

      Even if you just transplanted the building they designed for State Street and put it in that location I don’t think anybody would have any complaints. The old people might actually be able to use the Eastside Rec Center (billiards?? I dunno), and if there’s a convenience store or inexpensive restaurant as part of the project I think everybody around there will be really happy, as I don’t think there’s anything for them now within walking distance. Crestwood is kind of an island.

  8. Tim says:

    What about a location out near or in providence? I know there’s a significant population out there benefiting from the city but ignoring the reality of how dumpy it is. Let’s let em in on elgins secret.

  9. Peter Galbreath says:

    Once again I have to ask why do this project at all?

    It doesn’t have to be done. It doesn’t have to be done in that location, it doesn’t have to be done now, and it doesn’t have to be done in Elgin at all!

    How about scrapping everything about this awful project, including the Halloween color scheme and send HUD packing down the river. How about Aurora?

    How about everyone just stop making alternative suggestions and bag this project in its entirety? Who needs this aggravation.

    When is enough of this nonsense…enough?

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      There was a lengthy presentation about 120 S. State last night by the Housing Authority of Elgin at the City Council meeting. Every council member expressed concerns about the project. They voted unanimously to table the discussion for one month. (Please watch this on the City website, it is near the very beginning of the City Council Session.)

      One interesting point raised was by Councilman Toby Shaw. He asked what area is served by the HAE, and he was told it included Carpentersville and down to Geneva. (Though I am not sure the respondent/Damon Duncan was actually giving a legal, technical description.) Then Toby asked how the site was chosen and where did they look. The reply was that Damon Duncan and the local architect, David Jurina, had driven all around and decided that the best place of all to add on to public housing was right here in Elgin, in front of 120 S. State!

      It would seem as though we are all now wrestling with the consequences of a decision that was made probably by one person, with very little if any input from anyone……………


      • RS says:

        It would be interesting to see how many projects they have in these other communities that they serve: St. Charles, Geneva, Carpentersville, etc. I don’t suppose it would be possible to demolish all our big Elgin projects and spread it out throughout the area along the lines of Chicago’s Plan for Transformation. Chicago’s Plan resulted in a net reduction of 14,000 units (with the full approval of HUD apparently). That probably in part is responsible for the wave of Chicago-to-Elgin immigration that has happened in recent years, as the displaced were forced to leave Chicago to find affordable housing elsewhere.

        Looking at the police blotter in the past few years, I couldn’t help but notice crimes that would have been unheard of before in this city. I’m talking stuff like robbing the pizza delivery guy. Who does that??? Or attacking people with BRICKS to steal a phone or bike. It’s starting to get scary around here, to be honest.

        On the one hand there’s the additional diversity and excitement which we love. On the other hand, some people are going to be afraid to leave their homes. So I don’t know.

        I’d like to see a strategic plan that addresses the public housing issue in Elgin and explores the possibility of moving all the downtown projects out of there, redeveloping the blighted Clocktower Plaza and the upper State Street corridor.

  10. Todd Martin says:

    I was up till 2am last night; got hooked watching the videos of the COW & City Council meetings (Man, I’m sleepy today!).

    The architect defended the project and I learned a few new things:
    1) The set-back is 30 feet, which is not terrible. It isn’t the 56 foot requirement but it isn’t as close as the drawings suggest.
    2) They are adding a roof-top garden to the structure so the residents have some green space. That’s better than nothing, though I had to laugh when they pointed to the tiny sliver between buildings as adequate greenery.
    3) The office space is only for EHA staff to use, so that they no longer have to use up a residential unit for office space.
    4) The “retail” will be a small convenience store for residents to get essentials.
    5) They will add a berm between the building and the road. Presumably, that’s for safety, sound mitigation, and to deter pedestrians from getting too close to the side (er, front, er, whatever) of the building.
    6) The new traffic pattern onto Locust street was never really defended. That is still a major weakpoint.

    I was very happy to see the unanimous vote to table the project for a month. I think everyone can agree that the project could be done a bit better than what was presented. Hopefully, EHA will take this time to engage & really listen to the public (and perhaps fire their architect, geez that building is ugly! Did he consider a trade study between building underground storm water detention versus the price of adjacent property? This is not Manhattan!).

    Chuck did a great job in raising questions. Thank you Chuck!

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Todd, thank you for your added comments and perspectives.

      I would like to point out something I consider to be a conflict in yesterday’s presentation to the Council, which I think shows that there is still an underlying problem with the “store”. At the Planning and Zoning hearing, the HAE said that the store might be a coffee shop, or a little convenience store for the residents with no external traffic.

      Yet last night, the architect pointed out very carefully that the windows on the “Public spaces, such as the offices and store” were bigger than the other windows so that the visiting public would know where to go. Again, that is in direct conflict with the, “don’t worry, this won’t be a retail establishment creating any extra traffic” defense of the retail aspect of the plan.

      IF all the HAE wants to do is have a little place for residents to come and have coffee, and it isn’t for external customers off the street that would create added traffic and parking requirements, then why would they need zoning approval for a commercial space? Let the HAE remove the request for a commercial retail space entirely. Then no one has to worry about outside traffic and parking issues. They wouldn’t need commercial zoning for their residents to come and sit at a coffee bar, any more than they need to have zoning permission to have washing machines on their first floor for their residents.

      Also, the matter of office space was mentioned by the mayor as a point of confusion. He said the office space was only for the HAE. OK, I agree with that, but that is all I ever said it was to be used for. So there was no conflict of information, and no reason the Mayor or anyone else should have been confused on this point.

      It was repeated last night, that at the present time, there are six office workers connected with running the building on a day to day basis, and there are three maintenance workers, hence the PRESENT need for the 9 employee parking spaces that they have today. However, the plans for the new design call for 20 office parking spaces. The new 11 parking spaces are not for providing spare parking spaces. They are to accommodate office employees of the HAE. If there are workers who don’t need to be in that building for day to day operations, then let them have those workers work in some other cheaper location, and keep the office space and attendant parking requirements at the present level of 9, instead of upping it to 20. That will reduce the need for added parking, it will reduce traffic, and allow the HAE to get cheaper office space downtown those 11 employees. (Though interestingly, the HAE CEO said they liked to have the HAE employees working in an HAE owned building, so that they could pay themselves rent and generate some added income…… That is a bit circular. Maybe I will start to pay myself rent so that I can generate some income. I have been unemployed now for 7 years, and such a strategy could bail me out!)


      • Kurt says:

        You know you live in Upside-down Land if…

        Hard work and success are rewarded with higher taxes and government intrusion, while slothful, lazy behavior is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC checks, Medicaid and subsidized housing.

  11. bw says:

    Business should be expected to pay a fee for several perks the general public don’t realize. Would someone spell these out to Gavin, Prigge, and Shaw. As a customer, I want to know that the business has been approved to operate by the city for my safety and peace of mind.

    • Capitalist Pig says:


      Mr. Cozel did a good job covering his tracks as the City’s leader of the Elgin Business Licenses program. In as much, he declared that this programs was mismanaged for the last four years since its been enacted, an admitted 30% (or more) inaccuracy failure rate from INFOUSA and could not prove a better accuracy rate in the four years under his tutelage, (private business could not get away with that), the department is under staffed for adjudication prosecutions and he points out the fee structure (revenue streams of approximately $244,000). He informs us they need new computers and software because the current equipment had been stitched together with mismatched components. (Sounds like more spending to me.)

      So here’s a question. Four years ago, or any time in between, why weren’t these problems brought up and addressed, or were they? Why was this not reviewed at the time the Business License ordinance passed or anytime since? Maybe if it was, we wouldn’t have this mess now.

      As Councilman Gavin stated, the whole program started on a bad footing and stated that the program is obviously flawed for a lot of reasons and needs to be repealed, in its current form, in its entirety, immediately. COW video mark 29:53 What they do with the data and moving forward is a separate question. Councilman Gavin corrected Mr. Cozel regarding not shutting down businesses as part of the enforcement when in FACT it is in the ordinance and it is a possibility. The program changed from data collection to revenue collection.

      Mayor Kaptain stated that a motion to come back with information provided from staff was necessary.
      How funny was that? Mr. Cozel is staff and he just told everyone the program doesn’t work! Take the vote to repeal and move on!

      Why were so many Council members afraid to admit the didn’t keep their eye on this ball for four years and argued against doing the right thing? (Sounds a lot like the ESO debt.) The ones who wanted to keep the Business License seemed to be worried about was the revenue loss. City Manager Stegall, in direct address to Councilman Gavin’s question, “Is this revenue going to cause a budget problem is this going to cause a problem with anything else or do we have to cut anything of importance if we do repeal this?” City manager replies, “In the short term, due to the success you have been briefed on on the city’s major revenue sources the answer would be NO” COW video mark 58:14

      Councilman Shaw explained the ordinances and its initial ties and would the city really want to shut down a business. See more at COW video mark 41:50

      Councilman Prigge suggested that the DNA and Chamber of Commerce maintain on the street data and report back to the city.” COW video mark 52:50 (Let’s start suggesting they work harder at their job their organizations as economic developers are supposed to do.)

      You can determine job and business sector growth by higher property and sales tax revenues at fiscal year close. Don’t tell us that a city without a Business License is merely an observer in the economic development process. That’s hogwash, city’s all over the country function without one. This is solely a tool for data and revenue.

      Councilman Gavin, Prigge & Shaw should be applauded by the taxpayers. They are the ones looking out for us.

      • Capitalist Pig says:

        My spelling error Kozal. Wonder if anyone actually would have caught it.

      • paul says:

        “Councilman Gavin, Prigge & Shaw should be applauded by the taxpayers. They are the ones looking out for us.”

        NO. They are not. Clearly, they are looking out for wealthy business owners at the expense of the taxpayers. THE EBL has generated over $1 million in revenue for the COE. That is $1 million the taxpayers don’t have to pay. If the EBL goes away the taxpayers WILL make up the difference. A $595 annual fee for large businesses is hardly onerous. Keep EBL, get rid of Gavin.

    • Capitalist Pig says:


      You said, “I want to know that the business has been approved to operate by the city for my safety and peace of mind.”
      Interesting thought however, Mr. Kozal stated that the city doesn’t inspect businesses. They just issue the Business License and collect data. The only criteria the city requires is how many employees, square footage (to determine the imposing of fees) the address and what type of business it is. This is called data collection not safety.

      You said, “Business should be expected to pay a fee for several perks the general public don’t realize.”
      Would you please enlighten us on what those perks are? You don’t have to name them all, just two or three. Then make the determination if those perks out way the risk of owning and running a business as shown below for your reading enjoyment.

      Beside the perk of ungodly regulations from, OSHA, EPA, FDA, USDA, and EEO, taxes (township, county, State Federal), dealing with an unskilled labor force, unemployment, workers comp & disability insurance, insurance on the business assists, communications, accounting/payroll, wage withholdings, legal council, FEIN. The daily fight against unfair trade agreements such as NAFTA, CAFTA and APAT, they deal with ROII, advertising, marketing, lines of credit, default/bankrupt customers. Depending on what the business is, they may have to deal with a State Professional Licensing Board, Liquor Commissions annually and this is just the tip of the iceberg, all while trying to raise a family, be a positive influence on the community and MAKE A PROFIT!

      One of the aspects of the Elgin Business License is that the ordinance, in it current form, allows for the closing down of a business. Mr Kozal said it didn’t. Councilman Gavin corrected Mr. Kozal on that fact of the ordinance. It does!

      So here we are in what I feel is the worse, orchestrated decline of America since the Federal Reserve came into existance (1913) outweighing the 1929 crash and the Depression Era, and you want more regulation more inspections just so you can feel safe. Hmmmm, I believe you are completely missing the point of Councilman Gavin, Prigge & Shaw’s attempt to accomplish. Considering America’s present circumstances, it would be wise to remove regulations and make opening, maintaining and succeeding in a business less entangling at all levels of government. More businesses, more employment, more tax revenue. It’s a win win for Capitalism and the Free Market System.

      So tell me, what are the perks to a business, that are offered through the Business License ordinance, that out weight the everyday risks a business owner faces?

      • RS says:

        Well at least we got a nice little bounce here and another opportunity to add to our short positions. I really hope nobody here is long this market at this point in time. You get a chance like this only once in a number of years, so at least buy a few spring puts people.

  12. Chuck Keysor says:

    Hello Capitalist Pig. I too was very interested in Kozal’s re-writing of the Elgin Business License history during his presentation to the council.

    I have to get to things on the stove, so no time to tell a long story now,,,, but here is an email thread from April 2011, from City employee Aaron Cosentino telling some of the history of the EBL, and verifying SOME home based businesses that need an EBL.


    On Tue, 4/26/11, Charles Keysor wrote:
    From: Charles Keysor
    Subject: Business License Case Questions
    To: “Aaron Cosentino”
    Date: Tuesday, April 26, 2011, 11:30 PM

    Hello Aaron. Before we meet, could you comment on the need for an Elgin business license by the following people:

    a) Someone who teaches piano in their home for pay

    b) Someone who makes artwork in their house and sells it over the Internet

    c) A self-employed cabinet installer/kitchen re-modeler who work works out of his house

    d) A software developer works for himself, and who only works out of his house?

    e) A home handyman for hire who’s only office is in his house and who works out of a van

    f) Someone who has an eBay store and does all of their work out of their house

    I looked all over on the City web site and could not find any guidelines which would help me to answer these questions. I think it would be helpful if added guidelines were added, assuming that I simply did not over-look them.

    Can you provide me with any added written guidelines before I come discuss this with you? I will probably not need as much of your time if these questions can be answered in advance.

    Thank you, Chuck


    From: Charles Keysor [mailto:chuck.keysor@sbcglobal.net]
    Sent: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 11:37 PM
    To: Aaron Cosentino
    Subject: Business License History/Council Discussion Dates

    Hello Aaron. I looked on the Internet, and looked through the Daily Herald’s archives, and could not find any articles reporting on the business license matter when it was discussed at the council, or who voted for it, and who voted against it. Can you direct me to the correct Council session dates so I can watch the discussions on-line?

    And do you have any press coverage of the subject on file that you could forward?

    Again, all of these things will help me have a better grasp of the matter before we meet.

    Thanks again, Chuck

    Chuck Keysor
    2 S. Jackson St.
    Elgin, IL 60123

    From: Aaron Cosentino
    Subject: RE: Business License History/Council Discussion Dates
    To: “‘Charles Keysor’”
    Date: Wednesday, April 27, 2011, 2:35 PM

    Mr. Keysor,

    The businesses you listed below would be considered home based business and would need to obtain a general business license. Gathering this information is very helpful for the City and Chamber of Commerce to get a better grasp on Elgin’s local economy.

    Regarding your other questions about outreach, please see the following list:

    · Presentation by Assistant City Manager Rick Kozal, Chamber Investor Partnership Meeting November 13, 2009 at the Centre’s heritage ballroom.

    · Presentation by Assistant City Manager Rick Kozal, City Council committee of the whole meeting, November 18, 2009, during a public budget workshop.

    · Article concerning the proposed business license program, featured in the Chamber’s December 2009 newsletter prior to adoption.

    · The proposed business license program in Elgin’s proposed 2010 budget, posted online in November and December 2009.

    · A public hearing concerning the 2010 budget, before which it was specifically mentioned the business license proposal was a part of. David Bear of the Chamber spoke at that public hearing, noting that the chamber supported the license and a resolution of support had been passed unanimously by the EAC board.

    · The business license ordinance was passed on Dec 16, 2009, 7 Yeas, 0 Nays.

    Thank you and please let me know if you have any further questions. If you would still like to meet please let me know.

    Aaron Cosentino
    Management Analyst City of Elgin


    After I got this email from Aaron, I sent a longer list shortly there after, to get further clarification on who needs an EBL. Aaron replied back right away, that he had to bounce that email up to Rick Kozal. I sent multiple email requests to Rick to answer my email, and he never did.

    I also asked other City staff, and told two councilmen that Rick would not answer my questions about who needed an EBL. But Rick Kozal never did answer my questions. But then he would publicly accuse “the critics” of spreading mis-information about the EBL, when in fact, he stead-fastly refused to answer questions from me on this subject.

    So from the above email thread, you can see for yourselves how invasive the EBL was intended to be. Even you home programmers, and people who sell on EBAY and teach piano in your home were to be licensed, before Councilman Prigge came in 6 months later and got the home based business licensing requirement removed. Thank you John!


  13. bw says:

    You people love to live in the past. The city council oted 6-3 in favor of the EBL on October 9, 2013. Each member had their ownreason(s) for voting as they did. Like it or not it was passed in a legal manner. Let the city move foward with more pressing issues.

    • Capitalist Pig says:


      If the issue of Business Licenses ordinance is important to the businesses in our community, that is a pressing issue.

      Businesses represent a large segment of the voting population so if the rest of the Council doesn’t feel that can give up the Business License ordinance or its revenue,are they really working in the best interest of the city businesses or their own self interests. ($$$$$$$$$$$)

      Councilmen Gavin, Prigge & Shaw are working for and representing the businesses and all tax payers in Elgin. They are working to stop unnecessary regulation, to streamline departments, eliminate duplication and cut spending. Something others fight against at every turn. It may be an upward climb but those three are well equipped with the knowledge and energy required for those tasks and the fight.

      Please remember, Councilmen Gavin & Prigge run their own business. With this in mind, I believe they have a better grasp of the issues facing businesses that the other degreed members.

      What say you bw?

  14. bw says:

    i say you’re entitled to your own opinion. I don’t happen to agree with you. That is my right.

    • Capitalist Pig says:


      Good come back. I expected nothing less from you but once again hope for a debate. Apparently, you are not inclined.

      You are correct, opinions are like smiles, everyone has one. In this case, and once again, I see your failure to launch a response to direct questions and/or the information presented. The other failure to respond was over your misguided thinking that America should look at Britain’s health care model.

      Do you honestly believe what you say or are you just an agitator to ones who may know more and better than yourself? I ask this because some people get their kicks out of screaming something nasty and running away when confronted. Just wondering if your one of those people or a mouthpiece for progressive liberals.

      Anyway, you have the right to your smile. :)

  15. bw says:


    Talking about taking things out of context. Your post gets a A++ for your clever ability to talk in circles. You might be able to sell your bs to the rest of the people who post here but I just did not get off the boat. I have been there and back several time. I was the mouthpiece for the GOP for over 30 years. I was considered one of the most conservative members of the county board. I opposed change over and over on the board. Before you post your bs I think you need to gain more knowledge of the city government. It is not liberal or conservative it is a non-partisan (not connected) with any political agenda. The election was non-partisan. The elected members of the city council are non-partisan. It is people like you who want to make it a partisan body. Maybe you don’t know the difference. I suggest you call Mike Alft and get him to explain the working of the Elgin City Council. You may even learn a thing or two. All I suggested about Britain’s health care model was how would the citizens of the U.S. like a system like that or Germany, or Canada,or Japan or others where people have to wait 10-12 weeks for treatment. I suggest you research how those countries finance their health care system.

  16. Chuck Keysor says:

    People!!! Can we get back to the issue of 120 S. State???? The Elgin Business License is very important, but could we please keep those posts in the open October thread????? Unless the community has nothing to add to the 120 S. State debate, I’d like to try and get some more public input on the subsidized housing expansion project. We need all the ideas we can get.

    The council has tabled the 120 S. State discussion for 1 more month. The council told the Housing Authority of Elgin to come back in a month with plans that better reflect the public’s opinions. Those of us in the neighborhood have contacted the City Manager to ask how we can provide our input to the process. We are still waiting, but I’ll post what I can find out.

    Thanks, Chuck

  17. One Vote says:

    I am trying to understand the purpose of this project.
    I’m making some assumptions here:
    1) The residents will have limited mobility due to age or disability.
    2) The residents have limited financial means, subsidized by some government agency or another.
    3) There is an element of assisted living for most.
    4) They need daily recreational opportunities.

    Now, if this is your target audience, why is this a high rise? Why would you put it in that neighborhood? Why would you build it on a hill? Next to a busy street? Across the street from 222?

    Even Buena Vista realizes that the Fleetwood configuration is better than the high rise concept.

    The site doesn’t seem to fit the purpose. Why make the same mistake twice?

    • RS says:

      Does anybody know the requirements to live in this housing? What is the cut-off age? Does that apply to everybody residing in a unit (what if somebody is taking care of a grandchild for example)? Is this like a retirement home? Assisted living?

      The term “senior housing” is a little unclear to me at this point.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        RS: At the planning and zoning commission hearing on 9/3/13, the HAE stated that they would change their entrance requirements to be the minimum age of a resident would be 50 years of age. But they also said that there can be live-in care givers. I do not recall what was said about relatives. It was stated that standard HUD guidelines for income eligibility would be applied, except for the 14 market rate units. Chuck

        • RS says:

          Thanks, Chuck. So “senior” doesn’t really mean what most people here had assumed. We were picturing people in their 70s and 80s but we’re talking instead about people who are probably still working and not even retired. Actually the dictionary describes middle age as “usually considered as the years from about 45 to 65,” so we are talking about people who are in the early part of middle age.

  18. Jules says:

    At the September 27, 2012 meeting between the housing authority and the neighborhood, they said that the plan was for 150 units total between all buildings. My notes say “Units may have 2 residents in each.” This would keep senior couples together in about 300 square feet. The current efficiencies are something like 100 square feet. Keeping couples together and not increasing the number of units in the campus made sense to me back then. They did mention on 9/12 that there may be potential for some market rate apartments, but they didn’t say how many.

    I agree with Todd and Chuck on this point, “6) The new traffic pattern onto Locust street was never really defended. That is still a major weakpoint.”

    To address substandard rental units in Elgin and throughout the Fox Valley, I would appreciate it if the city council considered a landlord and tenant ordinance. Jacqueline’s situation growing up and our experience with an unsafe apartment in St. Charles could have been remedied by some cleanliness and safety standards. It doesn’t have to be as detailed as Evanston’s. Doesn’t city code address some issues in rentals already? http://www.cityofevanston.org/assets/ResidentialLandlordandTenantOrdinance.pdf

  19. harmony says:

    Jules, Yes the city does have codes that address rental property(if their inspectors choose to enforce them) council member Dunne stated that he can’t trust code enforce to follow up on violations such as the tattoo shop that was denied. Further more the City can not enforce it’s codes or ordinances against the Federal government (Hud in this case) or the state of Illinois or Kane county. Also Your referring to Evanston”s code is interesting since Elgin’s new code and planning director is from Evanston. Jules could you be him?

  20. Jules says:

    Sorry for the delay. Do you mean that federal, state and county buildings don’t have to conform to the code of the city they’re in? That’s weird. I didn’t know that. It especially doesn’t make sense if the code is less stringent than city code because the city has to deal with the building if it collapses or catches on fire.
    Nope- I’m Jules (female) from Locust St. Evanston just has an extensive website for renters that’s easy to locate. When we lived in St. Charles, I wished we lived somewhere with more renters rights since we were in a firetrap.

  21. harmony says:

    Yes, that the why it is. The federal government has all the marbles. They give some of the marbles to the state. Then the state gives some of their marbles to the county. And then some of those marbles townships, villages and cities. The FFA built a radar control facility in Elgin and no permits from the City or inspections were done. In fact not to long ago that facility had an activated fire alarm and the City Fire Department needed permission to enter the property.Another example of a marble is that every prisoner is transferred from a City jail to a county jail. Hope that clears it up for you.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      FYI, I addressed the City Council tonight to follow-up on the proposed 120 S. State Street public housing expansion project. Here is the text of my speech. Thanks, Chuck

      Good evening Mr. Mayor, members of the City Council and City Staff. I am here this evening to address the matter of the proposed expansion of public housing at 120 S. State. The Housing Authority of Elgin presented their plans for expansion to the Council on October 9th, with a request for approval from the City Council. At that time, the council voted unanimously to table the matter for one month. As Anna Moeller clearly articulated, the council is expecting that the housing authority come back with revised plans which reflect the input of the neighbors.

      During the council break, I spoke with the lead architect for the project. He expressed his desire to get together with the neighbors to work on this project. I told him that I too was eager to work with him.

      That evening I sent an email to City Manager Stegall with copies to Mayor Kaptain and the council. In that email, I expressed my desire to work with the Housing Authority of Elgin and the neighbors to resolve our differences. I said I wanted to work with the City Manager’s awareness and direction, so that any communications that the neighbors might have with the Housing Authority of Elgin would not be seen as “rouge” communications. I requested that he reply as soon as possible, which was of clear importance given the limited time frame and large amount of work to be done.

      Because Councilman Rich Dunne had expressed concern for possible fire safety issues with the design as proposed, I emailed Chief Fahy, asking him if a preliminary review of the HAE plans was going to be conducted by the fire department. And I asked if such a review was not already scheduled, that it should in fact be scheduled .

      I also talked to Councilwoman Rauschenberger about the 120 S. State project. She told me that Damon Duncan had shown her a traditional looking design for the project that she liked. She told me I should ask Damon Duncan to see this plan, which I did immediately.

      Fast forward to two days ago (11/4/13), 26 days after the council voted to table the HAE’s plans. I checked with the president of the Near West Neighbors Association, and with the families on State Street that objected to this project at the Planning and Zoning hearing. NONE of us had been contacted by anyone in regards to getting together with the HAE to discuss design changes. I never heard back from Chief Fahy. And I never heard back from Damon Duncan about the plans Carol Rauschenberger asked me to see.

      First I want to make everyone aware that what seemed to be the will of the council on October 9th, that within one month, the neighbors and the HAE get together to work up a compromise plan, was never acted upon.

      Second, people have theorized to me that nothing has been done about getting the neighbors to meet with the HAE to discuss design changes, because the City Manager knows that there are enough votes to pass the project as presented by the HAE on October 9th, so everyone is simply stone-walling on taking any action.

      Using the “Prigge rule”, I would like to ask the City Manager specifically why my emails have gone unanswered, and more importantly, why the “neighbors” have not been called in to meet with the Housing Authority of Elgin and Excel Engineering to discuss design changes for the 120 S. State Street project.

  22. Elizabeth Berent says:

    New to the neighborhood and am shocked the City Planners didn’t have the insight to involve the community/our neighborhood and approved such a poor plan in terms of looks, capacity and safety. We need a change in City Staff to have any real change. If council members change but City Staff stays the same it will be the same old same old. Too many entrenched civil employees operating with apathy. I spoke to Elgin Police Department yesterday and they indicated our neighborhood is beyond capacity for parking and it gets much worse in the winter. In the short term, continue to email and call our council members. Our pressure is working. Carol Rauschenberger has been very supportive in bringing our concerns to City Staff. Thank you Carol!

  23. Chuck Keysor says:

    Thank you Elizabeth for your comments!

    Here are some updates on the $25million project to expand public housing at 120 S. State Street:

    a) On October 9th, the city council tabled discussion of the $25million proposed expansion of 120 S. State for one month. The council expressed their requirement that the HAE go out and work with the community, and come back with revised plans that reflect their accommodation of the community’s input. This should have come back to the council for a vote on November 13th, but it did not.

    b)On 11/12/13, Terry Gavin, John Steffen, a handful of others and myself met with Damon Duncan (the head of the HAE) and two of their architects. At that time we were told that Walker Engineering would be conducting a study of the parking requirements for the building, and that study would be presented to the council prior to the Council’s voting on the subject. So this would probably be one factor that has lead to a delay in the council reconsidering this proposal.

    c) The City Manager, maybe a week ago, communicated to the council that the HAE was in the process of revising the “skin” of the proposed design to improve its appearance.

    d) I got a notice this morning that the City of Elgin will be hosting a community input session about the proposed $25million expansion of the public housing at 120 S. State. That PUBLIC MEETING, will be held on Tuesday, December 10th, The Heritage Ballroom/Centre, beginning at 6:30PM!!!!!

    Thanks, Chuck

  24. Chuck Keysor says:

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The City of Elgin will be hosting a community input session about the proposed $25million expansion of the public housing project at 120 S. State Street. That PUBLIC MEETING, will be held on Tuesday, December 10th, The Heritage Ballroom (The Centre), beginning at 6:30PM!!!!!

    Come and find out what has been done with this project. Come to express your opinions………..

    Here are some obvious questions that I hope will be answered:
    a) Is the Walker Engineering parking study available, and what did it say?
    b) Did someone figure out a way to get a direct two way entrance/exit to State Street?
    c) Did the plans get revised to make the building look more “traditional”?
    d) Have setbacks been improved?
    e) Can fire trucks get in and out?
    f) The Housing Authority of Elgin (HAE) has been billing this project as only adding 6 more units of housing to the combined facility. Yet they are spending $25million….. Does this even seem logical? Or will they need to put more people (up to 123 could fit) into this complex to justify spending $25million?????

    Bring your questions and concerns. Thanks, Chuck

  25. Chuck Keysor says:

    I attended tonight’s 120 S. State meeting. I counted about 50 people in attendance. About half were residents of 120 S. State. (Damon Duncan asked the residents to stand. Then he asked the residents of 120 S. State who have cars to stand. By my estimate, half stayed standing.) Also in attendance were: Tish Powell, Anna Moeller, Rich Dunne and Carol Rauschenberger.

    Damon Duncan presented the Walker Engineering study on parking. The study said that there is plenty of parking, with room to spare. They checked the parking on two occasions, and found that the lot was not filled either time. All of their future use projections were based upon the parking situations they observed on two dates.

    The architects then presented the modified design, which does look better than the original building. But the footprint of the building has not been modified, just the “skin”. So the building is still a big hulking structure, that has gobbled up the green space, and it sits too close to the street.

    We were told that the fire department says it is safer for them if the entrance remains as a one way entrance only. So they will “probably” not change the entrance to have two way traffic. (One resident of 120 S. State stood up and said that she wants to maintain the two way entrance/exit, because of traffic jams that she sees on Locust Street.)

    Those were all the covered topics. Marc Mylott said that the 120 S. State project will come before the COW on December 18th, and if that passes, it will come back to the council for the second vote on January 8th.

    I talked to Carol Rauschenberger, and she said that she now likes the looks of the new design, and by inference, since that was previously her only point of objection, I am expecting that she will now support the project. Anna and Tish didn’t directly tell me they support the project, but all of their comments to me were positive concerning the revised design.

    Sen. Noland stood up and said he strongly supports this project. He carefully explained that this project represents $28 million (his figure, which was at odds with the $25million, and $26million figure that Damon uses). Noland said clearly and carefully, that these are Federal tax dollars, not Illinois dollars, and that if WE don’t take this money now, it will wind up being spent somewhere else. So we had better grab these dollars and spend them here in Elgin.


  26. Chuck Keysor says:

    We were also told at the meeting last night that the revised design still has the 14 market rate apartments. And they are being allotted the same parking space count as the subsidized housing: 1/2 parking space for each apartment.

    Also, during last night’s question and answer session, two residents of 120 S. State specifically said that the parking does get filled up, but that is mostly on the weekends, because of the visitors. It is not the residents who are creating the stresses on the parking. So they discount this as not being an issue, since it isn’t their residents directly creating the problem!

    And, a neighbor testified, saying that earlier this year, someone stopped her to ask for directions. It turns out that someone had come from out of state to visit family that lives at 120 S. State. She was looking for a parking space, and did not like the idea of having to park in the Metra train station parking lot as recommended by her relative!

    As another interesting point, a resident of 120 S. State made a clear and unmistakable plea to keep a private entrance/exit on the 120 S. State property. She said that she sees how the traffic backs up on Locust Street when someone wants to turn north on State Street. I tapped on Anna Moeller’s shoulder and whispered, when I say that, people say I am crazy or fear mongering. Now you have heard with your own ears that a resident has confirmed what I have been saying.


  27. bw says:

    To remove the danger off Locust and State, Locust should be made one way from State to Jackson. All traffic from the parking lot can exit west on Locust or North on Jackson to Locust,Chicago or Highland where it can go east or west. No more turning left onto State going north or south off Locust . I Have waited 5-7 minutes to go north off Locust onto State. Locust and State is not met to be an intersection as State is a busy street and the railroad crossing dont help the flow.

    • James Thiel says:

      That’s an awful idea!

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        James, I do agree with you, that bw’s suggestion is terrible. But, the value of her post is that she is providing a valid historic assessment of the traffic problems at the intersection of Locust and State. The fact that the well known problem at this intersection is being ignored with the 120 S. State project shows a lack of concern for the neighbors by anyone on the council who would support this project.

        At the public meeting last Tuesday, we were informed that the one way entrance would not be changed to the requested two way entrance/exit, because the fire department says it is safer to have a one way entrance! Almost certainly this is another example of a half truth. Wouldn’t the full assessment by the EFD probably have been more like, “Gee Mr. Duncan, with the limited space you have in this crammed site, and your absolute insistence that you must have parking near the entry way, your safest bet is to keep this entrance one way.”? If it were not for all the extreme limitations on this site, a two way entrance exit, LIKE THEY HAVE ALWAYS HAD at 120 S. State would be fine. If this were not the case, could you imagine the EFD telling everyone to make their entrances be one way, because it is safer for fire truck access? Of course not, because we are being told a half truth. I hate it when we are treated like idiots. Chuck


  28. bw says:

    My suggestion is terrible because you guys think everything is terrible
    that takes place in Elgin. You have been against this project since it was first proposed as it is to close to your living environment. The only things you’re for is cutting fees and taxes. How narrow minded. I seen the mayor cut you off at a council meeting a couple of weeks ago over some of your silly crap. The city would be a better city if you moved somewhere else. I walked up and down Locust street daily while attended St. Ed’s in the 50’s. Locust and State was a bad intersection then and it still is now. The Tower Building will be the next project on your terrible list.

  29. Chuck Keysor says:

    Dear bw: I am sorry that I called your idea terrible, without explaining why. But I was replying to James, who understands why your idea is terrible. Willy nilly slapping un-thought out solutions such as yours is part of how the City works to mess itself up.

    Access into our neighborhood from its eastern boarder is limited, largely because of a long standing pattern of poor urban planning. If you are heading north on Rt. 31 you can only enter on Locust and W. Highland, but not on W. Chicago Street (because you are not allowed to make a left hand turn there). But at least we have three ways out of our neighborhood to the east. Your solution would cut us down to only two points of exit from the east side of our neighborhood.

    Your solution reminds me of the fairly recent, unfortunate blocking off of South Street at Walnut. The City messed up the major west side exit out of our neighborhood. To leave our neighborhood, the City could have easily put a stop sign on South Street, so South Street traffic would have to wait for an opening in traffic on Walnut. But there was no need to block exit from South directly onto Walnut. Now, instead of making the double set of turns on to Wilcox and then onto Walnut, people will drive down Erie. I have talked to people on Erie who are unhappy over this unintended consequence of City Planning, as well as people unhappy with the cut-off of South Street at Walnut.

    Of course concerning that intersection, the Mayor said he had to turn his head too far at that intersection, so he was glad for the change. Hmmmm, there are many places in town where you have to turn your head to look when you are merging, that is totally common. As always, he is just blindly defending the decisions of staff.

    And as to my only being about cutting fees and taxes, I think this discussion about 120 S. State shows that I have other interests! This has nothing to do with Elgin fees or taxes.


    • bw says:

      I think this discussion about 120 S. State shows that I have other interests! This has nothing to do with Elgin fees or taxes. If your discussion was positive it would be fine. However, as a know-it-all, in your mind, your discussion on other issues is worthless. I lived in this city longer than you are old. I watched this city advance from a major keeper of the mental ill (ESH) to a one company dominance, to vacant downtown from a booming shopping district,from 45,00 people to 108k,to a major toll road from a few state roads,with many people like you with little worthwhile input and a lot to say in the governing of the city. Why do we elect a city council? They represent you, me and all citizens of the community. Let them do their job. In other words MYOB.

      • James Thiel says:


        I many be incorrect that when you post “you guys” that you are speaking to Chuck and myself but who knows.

        To be clear, we may have a different opinion and I will not speak for Chuck but for the record, my business is what I say is my business if and when it effects me and mine.

        Also keep in mind that there are very few on the Council that represent my family or myself. I sure hope that changes soon.

  30. Cruex says:

    Yes, Chuck, MYOB for gosh sakes. Just let the old and stale liberals who pre-date the automobile have their say! You don’t have the right to speak about issues in your neighborhood when it involves liberal causes like more subsidized housing! You’re not respected in bw’s world because she already has her version of a conservative connection in mayor-elect Carol Rauschenberger. Speaking of Elgin’s next mayor, is it true she does not know what a basin is? Did I hear her right at a recent meeting?

    • Anna Claire says:

      I heard something interesting and wondered if you agree.

      At the core of liberalism is a spoiled child - miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosophy of sniveling brats. P.J. O’Rourke

  31. bw says:

    Is it true that Anna, Cruex, and James all suffer from ADL & IADL. If it is true their post are as worthless as they are. If you can’t take care of yourself how can you give any positive input into city government. I could suggest a caregiver that can help them survive this nasty world.

  32. Chuck Keysor says:

    Look, I do apologize for at times getting mean, as I am not a mean man. But at least usually my goal is to criticize ideas and not people. So even though I am not the official moderator of this thread, I did start it with the hope of being able to exchange ideas, and to learn what other people thought about the project, good or bad.

    I know there is a lot of emotion connected to the 120 S. State expansion project, but let’s temper that with a little bit of joy of the season! That will be easier to do if we can use our energy to criticize ideas instead of people. Please keep that in mind before you hit the “Submit Comment” button.

    Thanks, and Merry Christmas,,,,,, Chuck!

  33. Chuck Keysor says:

    OK, last night the council gave the final approval to the expansion of 120 S. State street, in a 6 to 3 vote. Kaptain, Steffen, Moeller, Powell, Dunne and Rauschenberger voted for, with Gavin, Prigge and Shaw voting against it. The connected discussion was very interesting, I hope you can go to the City of Elgin Video Center to watch the session. Chuck

    • bw says:

      That proves we have six bright members on the council and three who need to be replaced. The same three that vote “NO” on everything. These three continue to make Elgin look like a city in need of good government. They continue to show a lack of knowledge on public policy.

      • One Vote says:

        The vote “proves” nothing. That project is foolhardy on a number of counts from traffic to parking to safety. Their ability to spend public money takes no talent or education. Look at The Centre. Look at 222 Locust. Look at the ERC. Look at The Hemmens. Look at the streets…Artspace… or streetscaping…or sewer separation.
        Some talent these progressives have.

  34. Chuck Keysor says:

    For what it is worth, here is the text of my speech to the council last night. Chuck

    Good evening Mr. Mayor, Members of City Council and City Staff.

    I am here to address the false accusation of “hatred” as brandished by Tracy Ellis, and which was re-affirmed by Councilwoman Powell at December 18th’s council meeting, in connection with the public discussion surrounding the 120 S. State Street project.

    On October 8th, I sent an email to the Council about the Housing Authority’s project, highlighting its problems. I then offered several fresh alternatives, that would eliminate the problems I had described. One of my proposals was to simply re-locate the project 300 feet away to property already owned by the City, Central Park. I wrote: “Look at using Central Park for low density mixed income housing. That property is wasted, and is nothing more than a home for hobos. A nice low density housing development there would make more sense instead of adding high density housing onto 120 S. State.”

    In her December 18th speech to the Elgin City Council, Traci Ellis said that when she first heard about the debate on expanding 120 S. State, she didn’t think this was an issue for her, because she did not live in that neighborhood. But she said that when she heard terms like “hobos”, it became “crystal clear” that parking, and crowding were simply pretexts for the real issue, which was “hate”. Tracy said that “Elgin is full of haters”… “You know who they are”. “Low income seniors are the targets of some people’s hate, under pretext of parking, congestion….”

    During her subsequent comments to the council, Tish Powell re-affirmed Tracy’s speech with its clear comments on hatred in Elgin. Tish said that “to refer to the residents as “hobos” is very derogatory and very disrespectful. I don’t think anyone in our community deserves to be treated like that.” she said.

    At the end of the council session, I immediately told Tish how upset I was by her comments that I felt were directed at me. She quickly said, “I didn’t name names. Maybe your concern is telling.” And I said, “Come on, who else have you heard even use the old term “hobo”? She then admitted, “Well, I’ll have to go back and re-read your email, but I was sure you said the residents of Central Park Towers were hobos”. I then asked, “How could someone even say “hobos” lived in a building, when by definition, “hobos” are homeless people?” I told Tish that all of the issues raised were legitimate, and that I had said nothing hateful, and further, I hadn’t heard anyone else say anything hateful in this discussion.

    I am not so naïve as to say that ethnic, racial, and economic tensions do not exist in the City of Elgin. But it really disturbs me that Tish would use this legitimate and very restrained civic discussion about the expansion of public housing at 120 S. State, to stir up the “hate” issue where it didn’t even exist.

  35. Cruex says:

    Thank you, to Traci O’Neal Ellis for playing the race card on the housing project on State St.! She is good for Elgin. Not only did she embarrass herself but she took Tish Powell with her and that is fine with me. The poor woman simply cannot help herself with her anger towards the you know whos. The race card did not need to be played. There were enough votes for the addition to be built. It is all about venting the standard anger when the microphone and cameras are on and not getting the prize. It is all about flash with her. She is a great match for U-46

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