MINUTES OF SPECIAL BOARD MEETING
TRUSTEES OF BARTON HILLS VILLAGE
February 22, 2007
A special meeting of the Trustees was called to order by President Laporte at 6:32 PM at the Village Hall. The Trustees met in conjunction with the Barton Hills Maintenance Corporation Board of Directors to hear the presentation of the committee for the Village Administration Center project.
ROLL CALL Present: Trustees Al-Awar, Boddie, Laporte, Lindstrom, MacKrell and Wilkes. Absent: Trustees Bogat and Butterwick.
Others attending: Atty. Reading, Asst. Treasurer Redies, Supt. Esch, six BHMC Directors, BHMC Atty. Lloyd, VAC Committee member John MacKrell, four residents, architect Ed Wier and landscape consultant Shannan Gibb-Randall.
Land Transfer It has been suggested there may be other possibilities for land arrangement besides sale from BHMC to BHV. Attys. Lloyd and Reading presented an overview, including tax implications and protection of private/public land. It was agreed that the two attorneys should develop possible options, including advantages and disadvantages, for presentation to both boards at their March 2007 meetings. Regarding the concern that shareholder participation in votes is tenuous, it was acknowledged that the last shareholder vote actually dealt with two questions, one supported and the other defeated. It was also suggested that the transfer of all maintenance buildings to BHV ownership be considered. Mr. Lloyd and Mr. Reading left
VAC Plans-Introduction Mr. Lindstrom stressed that the VAC plans are preliminary and the committee is soliciting input on the “big picture” of the project. He encouraged all present to email him with suggestions concerning details. Mr. Lindstrom reviewed the goals of the committee (to develop a cost effective plan to provide adequate administrative working space and legally acceptable records storage space) and outlined his presentation.
Timing The committee feels that the slow economy of the area provides a window of opportunity and that first-quality contractors may be interested in this small project at a reasonable price. The community should take advantage of this and work towards beginning construction this spring/summer.
Preliminary Plans Landscape consultant Gibb-Randall presented an orientation to the drawings, noting the following:
--The landmark oak tree is the biggest factor in siting the building.
--Results of soil testing indicate the ground water is low so the building can be at the same grade level as the tree.
--The overall concept is to nestle the building into the existing landscape.
--The existing line of trees between the fields can be kept if the construction crew is careful and protective fencing is used.
--Parking has been located behind the tin shed to decrease the impact to the root zone of the landmark oak tree. (It was noted that the drawing has been modified somewhat from the one the BHMC/BHV boards received with their agendas.)
--There is not a drive-in access all the way to the building, due to the desire to limit impact on the tree, preserve the aesthetics of the site, limit the cost of paving and direct water run-off into the field behind the tin shed. The pedestrian walkway is thought to be adequate for ADA and emergency access. (Mr. Lindstrom noted that in his informal discussion with the fire department, he learned that a fire truck would not be driven right up to the building, but would be parked near the maintenance buildings and/or hydrant with hoses taken to the building.)
Architect Ed Wier presented the interior floor plan, noting the following:
--The plan is very similar to the Sylvan Township Hall near Chelsea, except smaller. Mr. Lindstrom added that he had visited that facility and talked with the Township Supervisor, who stated they were quite happy with the building.
--Inactive record storage is provided in two designated rooms with active storage in each of the three offices which are large enough for 4-5 file cabinets, working space and two chairs for visitors to confer with the employee.
--The floor plan is based on the parameters developed by the VAC Committee and includes a covered entryway, pass-through window from the lobby to the Clerk’s office, display case and coat racks in the lobby, meeting room (22’ x 30’) with storage for tables/chairs, ADA compliant restrooms and a separate office space with three offices and a small kitchenette in the hallway.
--The overall dimensions of the building provide about 2000 square feet of space.
--The basement is still being discussed—a slab, a 4’ high space or a full 8/9’ space. The site will accommodate any of these options.
--There is space in the hallway for shared office machines, i.e. copier.
--Swinging doors rather than sliding are planned because of ADA requirements.
--Utilities will be in the basement, or on the main floor if a slab is chosen.
Mr. Lindstrom asked if there was support for the layout as preliminary. There was general agreement among those present.
Regarding the exterior elevations, Mr. Wier stressed that the drawings are very preliminary. The concept is simple to be cost effective, but doesn’t have to be plain, as there are many options for embellishment, such as brick banding, window treatments, etc. Mr. Lindstrom added that the building is functional in size and appearance and not intended to be award-winning in design. The intent is for the building to settle down into the property and maintain an open field of vision, unlike the newer employee home that is more prominent on its lot. Mr. Wier reiterated that the design is based on the desired footprint and more study of the details will follow if the project is moved forward. Comments from those present included:
--A massing study of the structure on the site with surrounding vegetation and views would be very helpful. (Mr. Lindstrom stated this would be the next step if the plan moves forward.)
--A better drawing is needed for presentation to the community—the residents need to think this is a wonderful plan.
--The budget shouldn’t be the primary driving force. A municipal building must be built to municipal standards and that will cost more than residential construction. The land is free; we must accept the cost for what it is and build something that will last and that we will be proud of.
--The BHV Trustees put a cap on the budget so the plan was developed within those parameters.
--We need to find the balance between what is desired and what the community is willing to finance.
--The last plan failed because people thought it was too fancy and expensive. The building could be made a bit more attractive without a lot of expense.
--The general shape of the building is fine. The architect can surely add to the design to make it more interesting.
--It’s unreasonable to think a quality building can be built for the allotted amount.
--Perhaps the plan could be scaled down to stay within the budget.
--We should hear from a reputable contractor to see if the cost is reasonable.
--Maybe the meeting room could be a bit smaller.
--Don’t cut the size of the meeting room. Mr. Boddie & Mrs. MacKrell left
--The building isn’t designed to hold an annual meeting of the residents. The meeting room is very near the size of the current meeting space.
--The committee was given a charge and a financial cap, and has developed a cost effective plan within those boundaries. If the boundaries need to change, the idea should be presented to the BHV Trustees in a formal manner.
--No one has said how much this project will cost per household. Will taxes be raised? How will it be paid for? The BHV Treasurer should produce a breakdown of the cost.
--A financial report is being developed by the BHV Treasurer, but can’t be completed until it is established that this plan is moving forward and more specific numbers are available.
--A breakdown of costs of borrowing money at different levels was produced by the committee.
--I’m not convinced that the plan is cost effective. We should build what we need to build and focus on clearly communicating the needs to the residents.
--We need to put forward the best product the community will accept and complete the project. This has been going on for a long time, and there will not be another chance to start all over. Everyone won’t be happy, but we need to find the balance that will accomplish the goal.
--The BHV Trustees on Monday [February 19, 2007] voted in unanimous support of the committee’s progress to date.
Mr. Lindstrom stated that if strong support was received from the BHMC Board of Directors, the next step would be to send the plans to the residents for their input before final drawings were made. However, the discussion leads him to believe that this action is premature. It appeared that the BHMC Board did not support moving forward with the plans as presented.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 PM.
Jan Esch, Assistant Secretary