By Howard Packowitz
NORMAL – A controversial plan that includes rezoning for a northeast side fire station in Normal is back on the town council’s agenda Monday night.
This time, Normal town staffers are placing the issue on the council’s “omnibus” agenda, which is considered one of several routine items grouped together and adopted on a single vote.
Each council agenda explains “omnibus” votes this way:
“All items under the Omnibus Vote Agenda are considered to be routine in nature and will be enacted by one motion. There will be no separate discussions of these items unless a Council Member so requests, in which event, the item will be removed from the Omnibus Vote Agenda and considered as the first item after approval of the Omnibus Vote Agenda.”
In January, a half-dozen people, including council member-elect Stan Nord, voiced opposition to the redesigned Blackstone Trails subdivision which includes plans for smaller, higher-density homes. It also allows for construction of a fire station at Hershey and Shepard Roads.
Two council members, Kathleen Lorenz and Scott Preston, voted against the plans after residents complained there would be too much noise, and they would see reduced property values.
The council will now vote on amending the 10-year old annexation agreement, which includes changing the zoning to public use for the fire station, and an “anti-monotony” clause requiring the developer to vary the height and styles of the smaller and higher-density homes.
The council voted last November to buy from the developer nearly two acres of land for the fire station, to be located at 1438 Hershey Rd, at a cost not to exceed $450,000.
Council members who want the fire station located there said it’s needed to improve response times east of Veterans Parkway.
The council Monday night will also vote on a proposal to build an extended stay hotel, called Home 2 Suites by Hilton, in north Normal. It would be built on the northwest part of Constitution Trail Center at Main Street and Raab Road, adjacent to Bradford Lane.
It’s the last meeting for long-time council member Jeff Fritzen, who did not run for re-election, and for R.C. McBride, who was defeated in his bid to win a second council term.
Howard Packowitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org