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Elburn trustees debate plan commission process

ELBURN – Elburn Village Board members said they were thrilled to learn of a new business – Windy City Muscle Cars – looking to open in the village.

But at Monday night’s Village Board meeting, trustees took the opportunity to debate the process used to gather input from the planning commission, after there was a tweak to the Windy City Muscle Cars request – allowing for Internet sales. The business is to be at 217 Paul St., Elburn, and aims to store and sell “muscle cars,” typically high-performance automobiles.

The request won unanimous approval. But the process remains under scrutiny. Some board members said that they weren’t aware of what was discussed by the plan commission, as its minutes weren’t available.

They said they should be able to view more than merely what the vote was, as there might be key discussions during the meetings that might benefit Village Board members.

Trustee Patricia Schuberg was voted onto the board in April, and she previously served on the planning commission. She said the planning commision plays a key role in the process, and the input is important. She said the key is to create “a reliable expectation for a petitioner without creating an undue delay for a business owner who wants to get started.”

That can be difficult, as the plan commission meets once a month. Some trustees were concerned that if they had to wait until the plan commission approved its minutes at its next meeting – and then have it discussed at the Village Board meeting that followed – that process would not be complete for another month.

Trustee Bill Grabarek said he might have an “overly cautious” approach, but he wanted to make sure the process was followed.

“I hope these guys sell muscle cars up and down,” Grabarek said.

Trustee Dave Gualdoni said that it’s not enough to know that a vote was unanimous at the plan commission.

“I don’t know what else is talked about,” he said.

Trustee Ken Anderson said part of the debate is whether the Village Board must wait until the plan commission has approved the minutes at its next meeting. Perhaps that’s not the case, he said. And if it is, perhaps the planning commission could have a special meeting merely to approve the minutes. Or, perhaps there could be “draft” minutes that could be sent to the Village Board members to provide more detail about a plan commission discussion.

“I think we will come up with a solution that is going to work for the process we have at the village,” he said. “We’ll deal with it.”

Village President Dave Anderson said it’s important that the village doesn’t get a reputation as getting in the way of new businesses. He said he hears such comments.

“We don’t want to be perceived as being obstructionists or anti-business,” he said.

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