City of Wheaton City Council Planning Commission met February 25
City of Wheaton City Council Planning Commission met Feb. 25.
Here is the minutes provided by the commission:
1. Call to Order
The Wheaton City Council Planning Session was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Mayor Gresk. The following were:
Physically Present: Mayor Gresk
City Staff Present: Michael Dzugan, City Manager
John Duguay, Assistant City Manager
James Kozik, Director of Planning & Economic Development
Kevin Maloney, Forestry Superintendent
Susan Bishel, Public Relations Coordinator
2. Public Comment
There were no public comments.
3. Approval of February 11, 2019 Planning Session Minutes
The Council approved the February 11, 2019 Planning Session Minutes.
4. Adams Park Phase I & II Construction Designs and Drawings Update
Assistant City Manager Duguay reviewed the master plan for Adams Park that the City enlisted Upland Design to prepare. The plan addresses accessibility issues and sets a defined plan for future improvements and ongoing maintenance, divided into seven phases. Phase 1 improves the north, south, east and west pathways and a center area around the fountain. Phase 2 improves and widens the perimeter path.
City staff identified a $225,000 grant through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity that, if the City receives, would cover all estimated costs for Phase 1. The City applied for this grant and has a high degree of confidence that the City will receive it, based on communications with the DCEO. The City should find out if it will receive the grant in the next few weeks.
Assistant City Manager Duguay identified proposed changes to Phase 2 that would create savings of approximately $7,000 by creating a dry river bed in Phase 2 rather than in Phase 4. He stated this would also improve drainage issues in the southeast portion of the park, where water currently collects on the path
This project will increase path widths to either 8 feet (main pathways) or 6 feet (perimeter pathways). The plan calls for the removal of 11 trees. Ten of these trees are currently in poor condition, and one tree couldn’t be preserved because of its location. In response to Council questions, Assistant City Manager Duguay stated the plan calls for replanting one tree.
City staff recommends completing Phase 1 by June 30, as required by the grant, starting with a Request for Proposals by March 6 and awarding the bid for this project April 1. In response to Council questions, City Manager Dzugan stated the City will bid out this work, and the contract will be written in a way that the Council will have the option to retain the contractor for Phase 2 work this summer.
To answer Council questions about how this project will affect Adams Park this spring and summer, Assistant City Manager Duguay stated the majority of the park will remain open and unchanged this spring/summer except for the southeast corner, and the areas where the new path is installed. He stated the Wheaton Park District recently informed the City that planned work on Memorial Park has been pushed back to begin in the late summer, so the Wheaton Municipal Band can still perform its concerts in Memorial Park this summer.
5. Retail Sale of Commercially Raised Cats, Dogs and/or Rabbits
City Manager Dzugan stated at a Coffee with Council, residents discussed with the Council issues surrounding the retail sale of commercially raised cats, dogs and/or rabbits. Downers Grove is in the process of voting on an ordinance banning retail sales of commercially raised cats, dogs and/or rabbits, and staff has prepared some options for the Council’s consideration. City Manager Dzugan invited Mary Edwards to present information to the Council.
Mary Edwards, 1582 Raymond Hill, Wheaton, stated she has worked as an educator with the West Suburban Humane Society and worked with the Village of Downers Grove on their ordinance banning the sale of animals coming from mills. She stated more than 300 municipalities have passed such laws, including Warrenville. Ms. Edwards stated such an ordinance cuts off the mill chain, and requires pet stores to buy from responsible breeders, shelters or rescues. She reviewed some of the tactics and guarantees pet stores that use puppy mills try to use to sell animals and the issues surrounding animals coming from mills. Ms. Edwards urged the City Council to pass an ordinance banning the sale of commercially raised cats, dogs and/or rabbits.
Anna Payton, President of the Illinois Animal Welfare Federation, stated that commercially bred dogs come from businesses that focus on the quantity of animals and financial gain, without regard to the animals’ wellbeing. Ms. Payton stated she does not believe allowing the sale of commercially bred animals falls in line with Wheaton’s community values, and she urged the Council to pass an ordinance banning it.
Dr. Barb Hanek, Veterinary Administrator for DuPage County Animal Services, described the very limited requirements set by the Animal Welfare Act, including dogs to have a minimum of 6 inches of space on each side of a cage to move around. She stated she has seen the negative effects of animals raised in inhumane conditions, which can exist even when the minimum requirements are met under the Animal Welfare Act. Dr. Hanek stated there are significant problems with the inspection process as well, due to a very limited number of USDA inspectors. She also stated that commercially bred animals have created a public health situation because some diseases can be passed from animals to humans. For these reasons, she urged the City to pass an ordinance.
Brian and Linnea Munt of Bolingbrook stated they have been involved in pet rescue for 12 years and have seen through the dogs they have fostered and adopted the long-lasting negative effects on dogs that were rescued from puppy mills. Mr. Munt detailed the poor living conditions, lack of care and no socialization that can occur at puppy mills, and he urged Wheaton to pass an ordinance to help protect animals from mills.
Gail Diedrichsen, 533 N Eagle Street, Naperville, one of the founders of the Naperville Area Humane Society, showed the Council the difference between contracts from reputable breeders versus pet shops using mills. She stated reputable breeders take responsibility for dogs for their lifetime and are required to take a dog back if the owner cannot care for it, whereas pet shops provide confusing contracts that only protect the store. She stated pet shops that use animal mills exacerbate the problems of humane societies and rescues, and she urged the Council to pass an ordinance before such a pet shop opens in Wheaton.
Loriann Closs, 2511 Bordeaux Lane, Naperville, stated in her work at Boulder Terrace Pet Hospital, she has seen the consequences of puppy mills and has worked to rescue many rabbits. Ms. Closs stated many people who no longer want their rabbits will dump them outside, where they cannot survive, and others relinquish them to the County.
Karen Thomas Smith, 825 Charlotte Circle, Naperville, urged the Council to pass an ordinance to help with problems puppy mills create. She stated between 2 million and 3 million dogs are euthanized per year, and the City of Chicago has seen a significant drop in euthanization rates since it passed a ban on commercially raised animals.
Lorraine Ambler, 464 Cottage Avenue, Glen Ellyn, read a passage about the health problems mill animals can pass along to healthy pets and humans.
In response to a Council question, Director of Planning & Economic Development Kozik stated all pets that are sold through two pet stores in Wheaton are from shelters only. He stated the City previously had one store that sold commercially raised animals, but it went out of business.
The majority of the Council members expressed an interest in moving forward with a local ordinance banning the sale of commercially raised dogs, cats and/or rabbits. Some Council members asked staff to seek out more information from other perspectives and community feedback. City Manager Dzugan stated staff will further research the issue and provide information to the Council.
6. City Council/City Staff Comments
There were no comments.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:57 p.m.