Lake County Gazette

Lake County Gazette

Monday, December 9, 2019

City of Highland Park City Council met May 28

By Angelica Saylo Pilo | Jul 4, 2019

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City of Highland Park City Council met May 28.

Here is the minutes provided by the council:

CALL TO ORDER

At 4:30 PM, Mayor Rotering called the meeting to order and asked for a roll call.

ROLL CALL

Members Present: Mayor Rotering, Councilmen Stolberg (arrived at 4:31 PM), Stone, Kaufman, Blumberg (arrived at 4:31 PM), Knobel, Holleman

Members Absent: None

Mayor Rotering declared a quorum was present.

Staff Present: Ghida Neukirch, Lou Jogmen, Emily Taub, Ashley Palbitska

Also Present: Corporation Counsel Steve Elrod, Deputy Corporation Counsel Hart Passman

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

A. Regular Meeting of the Committee of the Whole – May 13, 2019

Councilman Kaufman moved to approve the minutes from the regular meeting of the Committee of the Whole held on May 13, 2019. Councilwoman Stone seconded the motion.

On a voice vote:

Voting Yea: Mayor Rotering, Councilmen Stone, Kaufman, Knobel, Holleman

Voting Nay: None

Absent: Councilmen Stolberg, Blumberg

Mayor Rotering declared the motion passed.

CLOSED SESSION

Councilwoman Stone moved the Committee close its meeting to the public, pursuant to the following cited sections of the Illinois Open Meetings Act (5 ILCS 120/2(c)), for the purposes of i) approval of closed session minutes (5 ILCS 120/2(c)(21)); ii) collective bargaining (5 ILCS 120/2(c)(2)); and iii) probable or imminent litigation (5 ILCS 120/2(c)(5)). Councilman Knobel seconded the motion.

On a roll call vote:

Voting Yea: Mayor Rotering, Councilmen Stone, Kaufman, Knobel, Holleman

Voting Nay: None

Absent: Councilmen Stolberg, Blumberg

Mayor Rotering declared the motion passed unanimously.

At 4:31 PM, the Committee recessed the public portion of the meeting to meet in Closed Session.

At 5:36 PM, Mayor Rotering reconvened the open session of the Committee of the Whole Meeting.

Members Present: Mayor Rotering, Councilmen Stolberg, Stone, Kaufman, Blumberg, Knobel, Holleman

Members Absent: None

City Staff Present: Ghida Neukirch, Ashley Palbitska

Also Present: Corporation Counsel Steve Elrod, Deputy Corporation Counsel Hart Passman

Mayor Rotering recessed the meeting at 5:37 PM.

Mayor Rotering reconvened the meeting at 6:05 PM.

Members Present: Mayor Rotering, Councilmen Stolberg, Stone, Kaufman, Blumberg, Knobel, Holleman

Members Absent: None

City Staff Present: Ghida Neukirch, Larry Amidei, Joel Fontane, Lou Jogmen, Ramesh

Kanapareddy, Rob Sabo, Ashley Palbitska

Also Present: Corporation Counsel Steve Elrod, Deputy Corporation Counsel Hart Passman

SCHEDULED BUSINESS

Possession of Tobacco Regulation Review

Police Chief Jogmen stated that the City was one of the first communities in Lake County to amend its Code pertaining to the sale of tobacco and increased the age from 18 to 21 years of age. He explained that the new State law is now silent on possession of tobacco. He requested feedback from the Council as to whether or not the City’s tobacco regulations should be amended to increase the possession age for tobacco products from 18 to 21 years of age.

Councilwoman Stone and Chief Jogmen discussed how the State law had previously been positioned regarding the possession of tobacco products by minors and how that has now been removed.

Councilman Kaufman asked what the rationale was for the removal of language by the State.

Corporation Counsel Elrod stated that legislative history has been reviewed and there is uncertainty as to why it was removed.

Councilwoman Stone stated that it would make sense that the age parallels with the age for possession and sale of tobacco products.

Councilman Holleman stated that she disagrees with what the State has done but that it seems to be clear to have the City Code mirror the State Code can get challenging to regulate from community to community. She voiced concerns with citing young kids.

The Committee, Corporation Counsel Elrod and City Manager Neukirch discussed e-cigarettes.

Councilman Kaufman and Chief Jogmen discussed enforcement and resources being used for enforcement.

Councilman Knobel agreed with Councilman Holleman. She stated that there are visitors to Highland Park and they most likely do not know the specifics of our Code.

Councilmen Knobel and Holleman asked for confirmation that the schools can enforce their regulations within the school setting.

Corporation Council Elrod and City Manager Neukirch confirmed the schools can maintain their own regulations.

Chief Jogmen stated that the regulation usually starts within the school but if the student is not responding to the school regulations, the schools will contact the Police for assistance.

Councilwoman Stone stated that it would be easier if there was some consistency.

Chief Jogmen stated that he was unsure of why the State did not mirror tobacco to the Alcohol Code since individuals are not able to purchase, sell or possess alcohol if they are under 21.

Councilwoman Stone stated that it would make sense to amend the City Code to increase the possession age to 21 years of age so it mirrors the sale age.

Councilman Kaufman agreed with Councilwoman Stone.

Councilman Stolberg stated that he would be more inclined to strike possession from Chapter 125 of the City’s regulations to mirror what the State Code currently outlines because if the City cannot prosecute on a State charge, how does the City handle enforcement for possession administratively.

Corporation Counsel Elrod stated that enforcement would be though an Administrative Hearing citation.

Councilman Blumberg explained that it is hard to have pockets of regulation. He stated that he is not happy with what the State has done but is torn between providing some sense of consistency and regulating something that can be done in other areas outside of the State of Illinois. He stated that he was in the position of retaining current language that regulates possession to those 18 years of age or older.

Councilwoman Stone explained that the reason why the City went with Tobacco 21 before the State Code was amended was because there was evidence provided by the Lake County Health Department. The evidence showed that individuals who start smoking between 18 and 21 years of age, are more likely to continue smoking, the health impacts are worse and they are more likely to become addicted. She stated that there was a scientific reason for the choice to amend the Code to 21 years of age. She explained that if the Code can assist in keeping individuals off of tobacco until they reach 21, then those individuals are adults and can make their own decisions. Keeping individuals from smoking until they are 21, can reduce the risk of lung cancer as well as possibly a lifetime of smoking.

Mayor Rotering and Councilman Blumberg confirmed they were in favor of amending the City Code to increase the possession age to 21 years of age.

Councilman Knobel and Chief Jogmen discussed how enforcement would work if the City were to amend the code to increase the age to 21.

Highland Park Community Foundation Agreement

Mayor Rotering stated that staff has requested feedback from the Council as to whether or not the City should advance the First Amendment to the Grant Agreement with the Highland Park Community Foundation (“HPCF”; Grantee) to remove from the Grant Agreement that the Grantee provide qualified grant applications funding in each year of the Grant Agreement in the amount that is equal to the average proportion received by that entity from the City of YEA! Highland Park (YEA!) in 2016-2018. She explained that the agreement would still require the Grantee to provide qualified grant applications in 2019 funding in the amount equal to the average proportion received by that entity from the City or YEA! in 2016-2018.

Councilman Blumberg thanked HPCF for inviting him to participate in the Foundation’s process. He stated that he does not have an issue with reducing the 10 year period of time within the agreement and expressed his opinion in regards to the recommendation for a one year term. His recommendation was to have a three year period, with an emphasis on language that there be an opportunity for the HPCF to identify to the City Council organizations that shouldn’t be awarded grant funds.

Mayor Rotering asked HPCF what the average grant amount is.

Nancy Mills, Chairman of HPCF, stated that the average grant amount that is awarded is about $7,000.00 to $8,000.00.

Mayor Rotering stated that while she understands Councilman Blumberg’s position, she doesn’t feel that the City should tie the hands of HPCF while they work on the priority of needs for the organizations applying for grant funds.

Councilman Blumberg clarified that he is not looking to tie the hands of HPCF.

Mayor Rotering and Councilman Blumberg discussed his request of a three year term within the agreement.

Councilman Knobel explained that she serves as a liaison to HPCF and expressed her appreciation for being able to work with HPCF. She explained that there has been a shift and increase in requests. She stated that she is in favor of a one year term within the agreement and that three years may hurt those organizations that are in need of grant funds.

Councilman Holleman stated that she agrees with Councilman Knobel. She explained that these are grant funds and no organization is ever guaranteed money in a grant situation. She stated that she was in favor of a one year term in the agreement.

Councilman Kaufman asked if notice can be given to those organizations that would not qualify after a one year term.

Ms. Mills stated that discussions regarding notices about qualifications have already started. She stated that most of the organizations that have been funded through City donations and YEA! Highland Park are in alignment with HPCF.

Councilman Stolberg stated that he was in favor of the one year term in the agreement.

Councilwoman Stone stated that she was neutral with the decision but was more favorable of a one year term.

Councilman Blumberg expressed his appreciation in being allowed to voice his opinion and that even with a one year term, there is not a guarantee that all organizations that apply will be funded. He stated that he was comfortable with HPCF’s discretion and stated that he was comfortable with the majority recommendation by the Committee.

Councilman Kaufman stated that he was comfortable with a one year term.

City Manager Neukirch explained that based on 2018 grant funds that were provided by YEA! Highland Park, the funds were granted to approximately 30 agencies with an average funding of $9,100.00, with a variation from $1,500.00 to $25,000.00.

Mayor Rotering stated that the majority of the Committee was comfortable with a one year term within the agreement.

Amendments to Article 21 – Inclusionary Housing

Mayor Rotering and Corporation Counsel Elrod discussed if there were any conflicts of interest pertaining to City funds that are directly impacting Community Partners for Affordable Housing (“CPAH”) with two Council members being involved with CPAH.

Councilman Kaufman stated that he did not feel his involvement in the discussion of the Amendments to Article 21 – Inclusionary Housing would cause a conflict of interest.

Community Development Director Fontane provided a history of the review process and proposed changes as recommended by the PDC to include modifying provisions of the Code concerning allowing partial payment in-lieu and payments in-lieu for fractional units; making the Planned Unit Development (“PUD”) discretionary bonus by-right; timing of payments in-lieu; calculation of fee waivers; consideration of amenities; and proportion of units required to be affordable. He requested feedback from the Council on the recommended changes.

Mayor Rotering asked Deputy Corporation Counsel Passman for complete clarification as to how money being dedicated to the Housing Trust Fund and being provided to CPAH would not be a conflict of interest for two Council members.

Deputy Corporation Counsel Passman reviewed the explanation Corporation Counsel Elrod provided.

Mayor Rotering stated that the City has held discussions with the development community and requested how those conversations have impacted the amendments that have been recommended.

Community Development Director Fontane explained that the inclusionary working group was put together by staff to look at and analyze the program and provided information on the working group’s involvement.

Mayor Rotering stated that there were terms that were set out regarding policy and asked if the difference could be defined between the general policy conversation and where the recommendations are at this point. She stated that there were a few things that has solicited the conversation, one being the maintenance of the Housing Trust Fund to ensure that it will continue to be sustainable and that there is involvement with the policy decisions.

Community Development Director Fontane provided a summary of the Code changes that have been recommended.

Councilman Knobel stated that in 2016, the goal was not just a multi-year assessment but clarified that it was to encourage responsible development and provide certainty while maintaining a diversified range of housing opportunities. She voiced her concerns as to the verbiage that was within the policy language under Section 150.2100 of the City Code.

Councilman Stolberg agreed with Councilman Knobel regarding what the purpose of the task force was and provided information as to what the task force contributed. He explained that when conversing with the development community, the reoccurring issue was predictability as to what the requirements for developments would be. He agreed with Councilman Knobel’s concern regarding the verbiage that is within the policy language under Section 150.2100 of the City Code.

Councilman Blumberg stated that he was under the impression that the discussion at tonight’s meeting was in regards to the proposed amendments and cannot argue one way or another in regards to the policy. He discussed his opinion of his review of the proposed amendments that have been presented.

Councilman Kaufman stated that the Council deserves recognition for the amount of work that has been put into the direction provided in regards to the amendments of Article 21. He stated that he was under the same impression as Councilman Blumberg that the discussion was in regards to the proposed amendments.

Councilman Holleman stated that the process was a good one. She stated that Councilman Blumberg was correct in that clarity and consistency was what was heard over and over again by the development community.

Mayor Rotering requested Community Development Director Fontane provide his summary and stated that the Council may not be able to vote on the amendments during the City Council meeting; more review was needed before a vote could be provided.

The Committee and Deputy Corporation Counsel Passman discussed Section 150.2100 - Policy. They began discussion of the proposed changes, line-by-line, in Article 21.

Mayor Rotering and Deputy Corporation Counsel Passman discussed direction as to referring the omnibus Regular City Council Meeting agenda item pertaining to amending Article 21 – Inclusionary Housing back to a future Committee of the Whole meeting.

OTHERS MATTERS

There was none.

ADJOURNMENT

Councilman Stolberg moved to adjourn. Councilwoman Stone seconded the motion. On a voice vote, the Mayor declared the motion passed unanimously.

The Committee of the Whole adjourned its meeting at 7:31 PM.

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Highland Park City Council