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Council to vote on firm’s 1st floor presence

Published: Friday, April 18, 2014 11:24 p.m. CDT

ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles City Council on Monday will consider a resolution denying a business a first-floor space downtown.

City officials said ALE Solutions does not generate enough foot traffic at the Fox Island Square building, 1 W. Illinois St., to warrant receiving an Office Certification. As of November 2013, the certification is required for business and professional office uses on the ground floor of buildings in the city’s Downtown Overlay District.

Fox Island Square is within the overlay district.

The city’s Planning and Development Committee on April 14 recommended that ALE Solutions get 90 days to vacate the first floor.

The business is free to remain on Fox Island Square’s second and third floors, according to the city’s summary of the resolution.

ALE Solutions in February moved 14 employees into a first-floor Fox Island Square suite because the business continues to expand and needed more office space, said Robert Zimmers, ALE’s CEO. Zimmers said his landlord encouraged the move, but the landlord misunderstood the zoning ordinance amendment that brought about the certification process and its required steps.

“We’ve been here 13 years,” Zimmers said on Friday of ALE’s presence in St. Charles. “We want to make this work and we think we’re a big client for a lot of businesses.”

The city denied Zimmers’ post-move certification request on March 21.

The Planning and Development Committee responded to his appeal to keep ALE on the first floor for a year with the 90-day notice to vacate recommendation. The typical time window to vacate on a zoning violation is 30 days.

The committee also made the recommendation subject to the conditions that the business actively manage its employee parking and the business work with city staff to locate an alternative location for the first-floor ALE employees.

The council’s approval of this plan would mean that the first-floor employees would have to move twice – first to a temporary location and then to a permanent site, Zimmers said.

He already had plans to move employees to a permanent site, but he expected that site to be ready in a year.

The St. Charles City Council meeting begins at 7 p.m. Monday at the St. Charles Municipal Building, 2 E. Main St.

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