Two quick and happy items:
1) Ann Marie Hess started work today as our new Chief Building Inspector. She has worked as a building inspector in Arlington Heights and as Chief Building Inspector in La Grange prior to joining DG. Ms. Hess is also a licensed architect and has worked for several architectural firms, including her own.
2) The Downtown Pattern Book is finished, an effort mainly by consultants Houseal Lavigne Associates, and in collaboration with Community Development. It will be submitted for acceptance at next weeks council meeting. This is a significant document of the complete downtown, and is a keystone for further managed development efforts by accurately documenting every building in the CBD (Central Business District). Senior Planner Jeff O’Brien gave me an advance look at this back in July, and the finished product is impressive.
From the green sheets:
As part of the strategic planning process, the Village Council identified reviewing the Downtown Master Plan and Vision to help maintain Downers Grove’s authentic central business district. Part of these discussions focused on the appearance of the buildings in the Downtown. Many of these discussions were based on the Architectural Design Review Board’s (ADRB) recommendations regarding the need for design review in the Downtown. As such, staff issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) in January 2008 to find a consultant to complete a “pattern book” for the central business district. Through a competitive process staff received ten proposals and the contract was awarded to Houseal Lavigne Associates by the Village Council on March 18, 2008.
Pattern books are often used as a first step in developing design guidelines. They help residents, Village officials and staff gauge the existing development patterns and unique architectural character in a specified area. Specifically, pattern books provide valuable insight into distinct architectural styles and features in an area, as well as site layout, building massing, streetscape and landscaping. The pattern book also provides recommendations for future actions to preserve and enhance the important architectural elements in the Downtown. If the Pattern Book is approved, staff will commence work on Downtown Design Guidelines and a Façade Improvement Program. Staff will work closely with the Downtown Management Corporation and the ADRB in the preparation of these documents.
The project began in March 2008. The consultant worked with the ADRB and staff to develop the final pattern book. Three public meetings were held by the ADRB in April, May and July to discuss and finalize the document. The ADRB recommended the Village Council accept the Downtown Pattern Book at its July 9, 2008 meeting.
You can download the Pattern Book here. WARNING: this is one big file, and will take a bit of time. Well worth it. The book itself is the size of a big coffee table book. The Library will have a real copy you can look at also.