Their Plan is No Plan at All

March 30, 2011

Winfield 411

                April 5, 2011 election archive

                 THEIR PLAN IS NO PLAN AT ALL


For over a year a pair of candidates has been talking about rezoning a portion of Roosevelt Road from residential to commercial.  They claim that, even though much of the area is without public water and sewer, it is “our most promising retail corridor.”

 Before we step into the voting booth let’s examine this.

 First, the claims of the two candidates are less a plan and more a series of implied “what ifs”.  What if we commercialized the area, and what if a major retailer or commercial developer got involved?  What if after clearing the area and supplying commercial-grade infrastructure, dealing with issues relating to security, traffic, wetland and storm water run off, etc., what if a successful venture could be established?  Finally, the cherry placed on top of the sundae is what if the new Roosevelt businesses generated enough taxes to repair our roads without requiring further tax on Winfield residents.  That’s a lot of “what if’s”. 

Keep in mind, the only part of Roosevelt Road that the two candidates can concern themselves with is the 2/10ths of a mile stretch between Winfield Rd and Wynwood Rd.; everything west is unincorporated DuPage County and it lacks water and sewer, too.  Whatever is to be built must be built within the Village limits.

The goal of this “plan” is to generate enough tax money to pay for maintenance of Winfield’s roads without further burdening taxpayers.  Last fall; this same pair of candidates worked in opposition to the Road Repair Referendums.  They circulated a flier urging voters to reject the referendums and keep “the pressure” on for development.  Their argument at that time was that potential Roosevelt business revenue would make the modest $17.50 average per-month tax increase unnecessary.  Here’s a prediction: before long that $17.50 will look like a bargain.

A program of regular 20-year resurfacing is estimated to cost $700,000 a year.

But…the Village’s share of the sales tax is only 1%.  In order to receive the $700 thousand from Roosevelt businesses they would need annual gross sales of $70 million dollars.

Have the “two candidates” thought about what they are promising?  Maybe.  One of them in a mailer admitted there are “legitimate concerns.  In time these questions will be sorted out.”  In time?  The time to sort them out is now, not sometime later after this bus has pulled out of the station.  That’s what plans are for.

Any reasonable development plan will include a detailed business plan.  Legitimate lending institutions will require it.  Under the circumstances – the persistent weak economy, the reluctance of consumers to take on more debt, the glut of available commercial property nearby, and the fact that the Roosevelt area is home to dozens of families – the likelihood of any significant success is slim.

 In their February 27th edition, The Wall Street Journal  published results of a marketing study that showed that on-line shopping will increase by 10% per year through 2015.  Have the “two candidates” consulted any professional research at all, or are they making it up as they go along?   It is inconceivable they would launch this project only to offer the Village another strip mall to fill.

 Some may be tempted to say “even if they are only partially successful, that would help.”  But, the two candidates are not promising partial success.  Last fall they were promising enough revenue to fix the roads, which equals $70 million in gross sales.  This spring they are promising “No New Taxes” and “sustainable revenue” which, they tell us, we must have in order to prevent the Village from “falling apart”.  That’s a pretty tall order without much to back it up. 

A better “plan” would consider Roosevelt Road as one option among several potential commercial areas.  It would consider future retail trends, the effect of E-commerce, the potential for resident displacement and all the problems that may entail.  And, here’s a question: Why the big push to build on Roosevelt when water and sewer already exist elsewhere?

Right now we have a very livable town, with many enviable features.  A better plan would consider Winfield as a whole.  It would consider who we are and how we can enhance our position as a marketable residential community in the Far Western Suburbs.  We should elect Trustees who will craft a business plan custom-tailored to the unique nature of Winfield; one that specifies that we build responsibly.

The fact is “their plan” is not a plan at all, but an excuse for hodge-podge development that will benefit a handful of land-flippers, change a beautiful area of the Village and provide weak economic value. 

In order to improve the Village we need Trustees who are able to see Winfield in its entirety, and who are willing to do the work of representing the interests of all residents.  We have three candidates who fit that description.   You’ll find them listed as the top three on your ballot.

On April 5th Vote for

Glenn VadeBonCoeur, Cliff Mortenson, and James Hughes


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