Village residents could end up paying less to apply for land use approvals if the Board of Trustees enacts proposed changes to village code that would allow for hardship exemptions in certain cases.
Exemptions could potentially apply to the requirement that residents seeking land use permits are currently required to pay for professional consulting fees incurred by the village during the permitting process.
The board also seeks to foster uniformity among various land use boards, which will be required to use the same professional consultants when reviewing a particular application.
“We’re working on stopping any overlap or duplication of effort for residents who bring an application before multiple boards,” said Trustee Toni Pergola Ryan.
“Better cooperation between boards is always something to be pursued,” said village land use attorney Lester Steinman.
A lively discussion ensued when the board considered the exemption provisions. The proposed law reads: “Where, based on circumstances particular to the income and assets of the applicant, the applicant establishes by clear and convincing proof that compliance would create a significant financial hardship, the Board of Trustees, in its discretion, may grant a partial or total waiver of the escrow and fee reimbursement requirements of this Chapter.”
Mayor Norm Rosenblum questioned the provision’s vague wording. Steinman answered that the law would provide a general framework and not consider individual cases.
Trustee John Hofstetter questioned if a “shell” real estate corporation established to build a project in the village—usually created just to oversee the proposed development and thus showing no assets—would be able to claim a hardship.
“There could be all kinds of games played with this,” he cautioned.