Elmhurst Finance Committee members on Monday rejected a proposal to ask residents to vote on financing plans for the proposed Addison Avenue parking garage.
Aldermen Diane Gutenkauf and Michael Bram had asked that a non-binding referendum question be put on the November ballot asking whether the city should issue $20 million in general obligation (GO) bonds for the structure.
But chairman Kevin York and members Marti Deuter, Stephen Hipskind and Bob Dunn said no, citing uncertainty over the total cost and the fact that the project is covered by a development agreement dating to February of 2009. Their report is expected to go to the full city council on.Monday.
"I look at this as a project that is near the finish line," Deuter said. "I support the concept of a referendum, but I think in this project we're well beyond the point where that would be effective."
Committee members also questioned the $20 million figure in the ballot question, noting the size of the proposed garage – whether four-story or six-story – has not been settled. They said construction costs could be far less, even if the larger version is built, because some expenses might be covered by previous city spending or other funding sources.
"I want to stress this isn't about a four-story deck or a six-story deck," York said, adding his position was based on the inappropriate timing of the referendum question. "At this point in time, the water's under the bridge, the ship has sailed."
At the same time, members of the Development, Planning and Zoning Committee were reviewing a report from the Zoning Commission to allow construction of a six-story, 65-foot tall building.
Development Committee member Dannee Polomsky said after the meeting that although the majority report would recommend the council accept the Zoning Commission report on building height, she intended to submit a minority report recommending a five-story, 55-foot tall structure.
That would set the stage for the city council to again debate how tall the building should be.
The Development Committee report also is expected to reach the council Monday.
The original four-story garage plan was revised to six-stories last year, partly in response to a city-funded parking study about need that relied heavily on projected development of several downtown sites that opponents say may not happen for years.