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Saturday, November 16, 2019

City of Highland Park Housing Commission met June 5

By Angelica Saylo Pilo | Aug 2, 2019

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City of Highland Park Housing Commission met June 5.

Here is the minutes provided by the commission:


At 6:37 p.m., Commissioner Ross called the regular meeting of the Highland Park Housing Commission, Peers Housing Association, Ravinia Housing Association, Walnut Housing Association, and the Sunset Woods Association to order. Each of the Commissioners also serves as Directors of each of the Housing Associations.


Commissioners Present: Chairman Ross; Commissioners Arnold, Abreu, & Bernstein

Commissioners Absent: Commissioners Adler, Berkun, & Saret

Councilwoman Present: CC Holleman

Student Rep Absent: Rosen

Guests Present:

 Rob Anthony/CPAH

 Janet Schwarz & Betsy Lassar/Residents

 Albion Jacobs representatives Keith Jacobs, Andrew Yule, Cal Bernstein, Attorney/Samuels & Bernstein

 Trammel Crow representatives Grady Hamilton and Mary Lucas

Staff declared that a quorum was present.

Staff Present: Later, Fontane, Haedo-Keller


There was none.


Regular meeting of the Housing Commission – May 1, 2019

Commissioner Bernstein moved to approve the May 1, 2019, meeting minutes. Commissioner Arnold seconded the motion.

On a roll call vote:

Voting Yea: Commissioners Arnold, Abreu, & Bernstein

Voting Nay: None

Abstain: Chairman Ross

Commissioner Ross declared that the motion passed unanimously.Commissioner Ross asked Staff to call the roll.


Chairman Ross moved agenda item #4 to be first this evening.

1. A Consideration and Recommendation of 1850 Green Bay Road Inclusionary Housing Plans

Petitioners for the Albion project -- Andrew Yule, Keith Jacobs, and Cal Bernstein/Attorney, introduced themselves. Mr. Jacobs stated this is the former Karger Center site now offering:

 161 apartments

 Hotel-style development

 Amenities

 Service lot

 Public initiatives are:

 Public walkway into the park

 Realign entry with streetlights (for safety)

 Excited to be in Highland Park

 Happy to bring inclusionary housing

Mr. Bernstein stated they presented to City Council first. He noted the Plan/Design Commission had a favorable decision.

Specifics are:

 17 affordable units on site

 Closing in September then construction begins

 Purchasing property from City of Highland Park

Mr. Yule advised, City Council considered their preliminary proposal of 171 units, but they are now seeking final approval for 161 total units, including 17 inclusionary units on-site.

 Chairman Ross asked if Commissioners have any questions. There were none.

 Mr. Yule continued:

 Inclusionary units are exactly the same as market-rate units

 High-end appliances, cabinetry, floors, quartz countertops

 On-site leasing and management staff

 Concierge-type services

 Chairman Ross asked if these amenities are applicable to inclusionary units. Mr. Yule advised they are.

Commissioner Bernstein asked about the parking. Mr. Yule stated units do not include parking. Costs are:

 Market-rate units are $150/month and could increase to $250/month depending on market demand.

 Inclusionary units will have the same flat-rate fee as the market rate units, $150 per month.

 Senior Planner Later stated the City offers overnight parking permits for $30/month and 50% of that or $15/month for the low income discount.

Mr. Yule advised some parking stalls are at no cost at the Lake County Health Center during off times. Parking permits could be issued. He believes renters seek off-site parking.

Commissioner Abreu asked & Mr. Yule discussed the unit mix. Setbacks were mentioned. Mr. Yule stated he is not aware what the HC is looking for regarding allocation of inclusionary units. Mr. Yule acknowledged that the proper AMI mix would be 3- 7-7, but indicated that if more of the units can be rented to 100% AMI the project could make that work. He explained that 6-5-6 allowed lowest price rent possible to help people live in the community, smaller sq footage smaller the price. He stated that leaning towards studios would provide more workforce housing.

Mr. Yule provided a history of his experience with affordable housing and unit in-lieu-of payment. He noted Village Green is their sister company and is growing. Mr. Yule stated they thought they had the process down. He said the process the City has in place was far beyond what they expected and are looking forward to the partnerships the City has already created and the waitlist process already established. An affordable-unit manager will be on-site part-time.

Commissioner Bernstein asked and Mr. Yule stated they would perform their own marketing as well. This would benefit the City of Highland Park. They will refer any inquiries for the affordable housing units to the City’s affordable housing waitlist.

In reference to a project in Evanston which will include 15 affordable inclusionary units, Mr. Yule explained they are doing rolling units. In Highland Park, they are fixed units. Various percentage-type units were discussed. Mr. Yule referenced a 45-story property they own in downtown Chicago.

Commissioner Abreu indicated that there are 3 more studios than required and 3 less 1 BR/2BR. Mr. Yule stated that the income differentials for market rate 1BR and 2BR units and affordable units of the same size are detrimental to the project. Mr. Bernstein stated this is a unique product for Highland Park. He also stated the cost of amenities available to everyone skews the numbers and when ordinance was created, this wasn’t contemplated.

Mr. Yule referred to a $35 million TIF in Chicago. He specifically indicated that the TIF was for affordable housing at Randolph Tower. Also said they are not asking for any governmental support in Highland Park. In Highland Park, he stated they are overpaying for the land.

Chairman Ross asked if they have tried housing vouchers. Mr. Yule advised they cannot reject someone with a voucher. Chairman Ross advised this is how developers offset the cost for the affordable units. He continued that vouchers are not contingent upon financing and commonly used in affordable developments. Mr. Yule said that the project would not be built if they had to apply for vouchers and indicated that he wasn’t familiar with the process.

Chairman Ross indicated that there are no windows in the second bedroom of inclusionary units; a major missing amenity. Amenities have to be equal. Commissioner Arnold asked if this would qualify as a bedroom without a window. Ross and Arnold indicated that this would not pass as a bedroom in Chicago—(this wouldn’t qualify under Housing Quality Standards for Section 8 in Chicago either.) Mr. Yule said windows are not required if adequate light and ventilation are supplied otherwise.

Director Fontane described allocation of units. Placing a unit in the 65% AMI is the least deviation. He stated this is a decision for the HC. Director Fontane noted the distribution is for the bedrooms and income. He referred to Page 8 of the Albion packet materials.

Chairman Ross thanked Petitioner for coming. He stated the HC would discuss and continue this matter to the July 10, 2019, HC meeting.

Commissioner Arnold asked to clarify parking. Chairman Ross stated the applicant is proposing market rate for everyone.

Mr. Bernstein reminded the closing is in September. Chairman Ross stated a lot of issues were raised and the HC wants to do it right.

Director Fontane asked if the HC has specific questions for the next meeting. Commissioner Abreu asked if it is possible for the unit type and AMI distribution percentages to change. Chairman Ross stated, in terms of amenities, there are issues with:

 No window in second bedroom of inclusionary units

 $150 parking fee for inclusionary units

Mr. Yule stated he could pay cash in-lieu-of for all of the affordable units. Chairman Ross stated the tradeoff of a payment in lieu instead of providing affordable units on site has to be of an equal or greater benefit. Mr. Bernstein advised they committed to the City to provide affordable housing; this is a luxury building with luxury amenities.

Commissioner Abreu raised the issue of the market mix. Commissioner Bernstein stated she is questioning the amount of available studios when the market in Highland Park is for families. She asked if they have met with CPAH staff. Mr. Yule stated they would meet with CPAH staff shortly.

Mr. Yule shared the comment from City Council is that these residents would need workforce housing. Yule argued that conversations with the City was that this was for 1st year firefighter or teachers, implying that inclusionary units are geared towards single persons and not families. Chairman Ross stated families would be more comfortable in a two-bedroom unit.

Commissioner Arnold reiterated there are too many deviations being requested. There is a City code that Petitioner is asking relief from. Chairman Ross asked if Mr. Yule could show the income breakdown for 3,7,7. Director Fontane referred to Page 8 and expounded on same.

Commissioner Abreu asked if the income information is provided for 6,5,6. Director Fontane asked what the income breakdown is. Mr. Yule responded accordingly. Senior Planner Later referenced the chart in the application.

Chairman Ross stated agenda item #5 would be next.

5. A Consideration and Recommendation of 1535 Park Avenue West Inclusionary Housing Plans

Petitioner Mary Lucas introduced herself and Mr. Grady Hamilton with Trammel Crow, which has been in business since 1948. Mr. Hamilton advised they have projects in Glenview and Park Ridge, as well as age-restricted developments, in Evanston and Glenview (which are both under construction). Evanston project has inclusionary housing component. This is an independent, assisted, and memory-care development.

Ms. Lucas stated they initially wanted to pay fee-in-lieu for all units; however, this was changed. Inclusionary units only apply to independent living.

Mr. Hamilton advised there are:

 87 independent-living units

 55 assisted-living units

 22 memory-care units

Financial threshold to make the project feasible, is 7.5%, which is the income after expenses, etc., Mr. Hamilton explained various charts (regarding market rents, percentage, community fee....). If provided all affordable units on-site, they would not meet threshold.

Chairman Ross asked if parking is available. Mr. Hamilton advised it is. Ms. Lucas stated there are 20 garage spaces. Surface parking is available free of charge to everyone. Ms. Lucas also indicated there is a town car and van available for all residents for provided transportation.

Chairman Ross asked about total project income. Mr. Hamilton stated he doesn’t have that information.

Ms. Lucas stated input is being requested for inclusionary units. Mr. Hamilton stated they are happy to amend this proposal based on HC’s input.

Chairman Ross asked and Mr. Hamilton advised the management company is Allegro Management. Ms. Lucas stated they worked with CPAH on the Evanston project.

Commissioner Arnold asked where ESG is based. Mr. Hamilton advised – Minnesota, and they have experience with them.

HC comments are:

 Is there kitchen and dining on-site? Mr. Hamilton advised – yes, as well as quick-serve, etc.

 Is there environmental clean-up on the site? Mr. Hamilton stated this is being addressed.

Commissioner Bernstein asked:

 Are floor plans ready yet? Ms. Lucas stated – not at this time, due to where they are in the process

 Is there cooking in the units? Mr. Hamilton stated – yes, in the independent-living units Chairman Ross asked if they have worked with Allegro in other locations. Mr. Hamilton advised – yes, in Connecticut. Allegro manages 26 communities.

Ms. Lucas stated they also have a development arm within the company. Other communities’ floor plans could be shared. In reference to independent, assisted and memory care unit ratio, it was noted Allegro staff decided the mix of units based on experience in area and needs.

Commissioner Arnold asked if assisted living is hospital-related. Ms. Lucas stated this is not nursing care. Director Fontane stated there are no construction plans as of yet.

Commissioner Bernstein inquired about rates and fee-in-lieu.

Chairman Ross asked if this is 10% affordable. Director Fontane stated this is 9% (effective rate 17.2%). Chairman Ross asked if there were not any affordable units, would there still be 87 units. Mr. Hamilton advised yes. Director Fontane referred to the table of the Staff Memo. He noted this provides context and explained same.

Chairman Ross commented that the big requirement being asked is the payment-in-lieu. He asked if we are getting an equal or greater benefit. Mr. Hamilton gave rationale about rent vs. community fees.

Chairman Ross asked if affordable units could be there without services. Director Fontane stated the code doesn’t require amenities. Mr. Hamilton stated to go hand-in-hand with the HC’s mission, affordable units should have amenities. Director Fontane expounded. Ms. Lucas reminded there should be no restrictions. She stated there is rent and a one-time community fee.

Commissioner Bernstein asked about an individual vs. a couple. Ms. Lucas stated a second person in the unit has an add-on fee.

Commissioner Arnold stated there is a huge need for assisted-living in Highland Park, especially with an affordable component.

Chairman Ross advised this would be continued to the July 10, 2019 HC meeting. This is a Preliminary Application.

Chairman Ross stated independent-living unit plans would be helpful as well as gross income.

Commissioner Abreu stated he is struggling with the mix of the Albion development. Director Fontane referred to the last page of the Albion proposal (2019 Pricing Schedule) and explained same.

Chairman Ross stated the whole crux of affordable housing is can people afford it? Director Fontane concurred and expounded. This also involves marketing and filling all units. The pricing schedule was again referenced.

Commissioner Abreu stated affordable units are great except when they are vacant. He also asked what is more preferable, a 2BR unit at 100% or more studios at lower income tiers?

Mr. Anthony, CPAH, stated the two lower tiers are the easiest to fill. He could share income ranges from the waitlist. He also indicated that the preference is for 1BR over studios. Will look at current waitlist and provide current income ranges. Director Fontane provided income numbers from the table.

1. Items for Omnibus Vote Consideration • Payment of Invoices

Senior Planner Later advised there are two invoices – $10 for the Annual Report of Sunset Woods and $10 for the Annual Report of Walnut.

Director Fontane departed the meeting at 8:15 p.m. • Ratification of Payments

The annual fee of $320 was paid to Chicago Title Land Trust Company (for Peers).

Commissioner Abreu moved to approve the above expenses. Commissioner Bernstein seconded the motion.

Voting Yea: Chairman Ross; Commissioners Arnold, Abreu, & Bernstein 

Voting Nay: None

Commissioner Ross declared that the motion passed unanimously. 2. Draft RFP for Property Management Firm

Housing Program Analyst Haedo-Keller explained edits that were added:

 Quality control activities

 Organizational chart

 Resumes

 Software, tools

Councilwoman Holleman arrived at 8:18 p.m.

Chairman Ross stated the criteria is good without a point system. He stated the RFP draft is very thorough.

Senior Planner Later stated this could be issued in July (on the City web site, professional organizations, magazines, etc.). Chairman Ross also suggested placing it with the Housing Council.

Councilwoman Holleman stated there is a procedural policy with language, etc. Senior Planner Later advised this is an updated RFP form. She will ensure this follows all City procedures.

3. Peers, Walnut, Ravinia, and Sunset Woods Associations

• Consideration of Management Reports for Peers, Walnut, and Ravinia

Chairman Ross asked if Evergreen could have a reserve request for reimbursement. He noted there is a discrepancy on Peers, Walnut; it is not yet reconciled. Senior Planner Later stated it would be noted next time.

Commissioner Bernstein asked about Ravinia and Walnut vacancies. Senior Planner Later explained same. Chairman Ross stated there is an income allowance from HUD to offset a vacancy. Sr. Later said ERES applies for these as vacancies come up.

• Housing Trust Fund Financials

Senior Planner Later advised nothing is outstanding.

• Sunset Woods’ Financials

Senior Planner Later advised nothing is outstanding.

• Other Association Business

There was no Other Association Business.

6. Peers’ Elevator Modernization Bid Recommendation

Chairman Ross noted Evergreen staff hired a consultant to arrange specs; bids were received. Senior Planner Later expounded on the two lowest bids. Suburban Elevator is recommended. The expenditure needs to be approved. Senior Planner Later stated it would be modernized (with voice, safety, etc.). Other bids were discussed.

Commissioner Abreu moved to approve the expenditure of $249,125 for elevator modernization by Suburban Elevator. Commissioner Arnold seconded the motion. Chairman Ross amended that the motion be run by IHDA. Commissioners Abreu and Arnold accepted the amendment.

Voting Yea: Chairman Ross; Commissioners Arnold, Abreu, & Bernstein 

Voting Nay: None

Commissioner Ross declared that the motion passed unanimously.


 Miscellaneous

Senior Planner Later referenced the voiceover internet, Walnut vacancy, and payment from Sunset Woods to Peers in staff memos in the packet. Auditors have the same information.

 Next Meeting

Senior Planner Later stated the next meeting is July 10, 2019 (rather than July 3, 2019).  Other Business

Commissioner Abreu asked if he can ask about the Albion proposal, and Chairman Ross suggested any concerns should be documented and sent to Senior Planner Later. Chairman Ross stated the HC should provide a recommendation, and Albion can decide its position – then it goes to City Council. A brief discussion took place.

Councilwoman Holleman shared a perspective on three initial goals: o To encourage development

o To be sure the Housing Trust Fund is sustainable

o To meet the needs of the community

She stated the goal is not to buy units. The idea is to provide workforce housing and have families establish roots and stay in Highland Park.

Councilwoman Holleman shared CPAH’s goal in buying buildings. The proposed affordable units is an opportunity. There have been very few multi-family affordable developments. Scattered site was discussed.

Commissioner Arnold asked about AMI – and doing this project at a lower AMI.

Chairman Ross stated Albion is not meeting the ordinance. Mr. Anthony stated he would provide unit request information from the waitlist.

Commissioner Arnold stated she is not in favor of developers asking for relief when there’s a new ordinance. Senior Planner Later stated this is per the existing ordinance. The proposed amendments to the ordinance are being considering by City Council and are not yet approved.

Councilwoman Holleman stated this is a large development that is desired in Highland Park. Options were discussed.

Commissioner Arnold stated she doesn’t agree that there should be no window in the second bedroom. Chairman Ross agreed that less desirable units are being provided in the affordable units. Chairman Ross reiterated the developer is requesting a variance to the ordinance. Commissioner Arnold stated this relief has to then be considered for other projects as well.

Councilwoman Holleman stated we have not had revisions to the ordinance for the last three years. Councilwoman Holleman advised the new ordinance would allow for a fee-in-lieu for 20 units and over. Senior Planner Later expounded on the current ordinance.

Chairman Ross reminded that everyone provide their input to Senior Planner Later.

Senior Planner Later clarified parking allowances for the current and new ordinance.


There was nothing to report.


Commissioner Arnold moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:10 p.m. Commissioner Abreu seconded the motion.

On a roll call vote

Voting Yea: Chairman Ross; Commissioners Arnold, Abreu, & Bernstein

Voting Nay: None

Commissioner Ross declared that the motion passed unanimously.

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City of Highland Park Housing Commission