'Wall' of trees sought by site neighbors

Homeowners behind Ogden Avenue building want plan to include sufficient screening

A residential neighbor of an East Ogden Avenue commercial building being redeveloped are pressing the site’s owners to install landscaping to protect their privacy.

At the Aug. 17 meeting of Hinsdale’s zoning board of appeals, resident Kelly Staver told board members she expects adequate screening between the rear of Dr. Cara VanWormer-Hartman’s new chiropractic clinic at 110 E. Ogden Ave. and her home on Fuller Road to the south.

“(VanWormer) said there would be a wall of arbor vitae planted thick enough where you will not be able to egress between the properties,” Staver said, requesting they be between 15 and 20 feet high to block the new two-story building. “We’re trying to be reasonable.”

The original plan indicated seven-foot trees would be planted. The project was approved last year, but Robb McGinnis, the village’s community development director, said the site owner has been told to submit an application for a major adjustment to the plan to clarify the landscaping intent.

“Staff’s been trying to do some shuttle diplomacy and move some plans back and forth between the Stavers and the 110 folks in order to try and get to a point where everybody’s comfortable going to the (village) board with the major adjustment,” McGinnis said.

Asked this week if there’s been any progress, McGinnis he anticipated a plan “submitted by the 110 folks shortly.”

Board member Gary Moberly inquired whether landscaping materials had been ordered.

“I know we can plant for another 10 weeks, but I don’t think we can trot into a nursery in late August or early September and get the big 10-foot, juicy pine trees that we’re all hoping will go in there,” Moberly said.

McGinnis said he had no information on any orders but estimated that, due on the fact that the second floor of the building had yet to be drywalled, it would be at least another two months before the project would be substantially complete.

Moberly expressed concern about a landscaping resolution following the same timeline.

“My fear is if they wait that long, they’re not going to be able to get any trees and someone’s going to have to make a very tough decision: do we give them the occupancy permit or do we insist on have the landscaping go in first?” he said.

When Staver appeared before village trustees at their May 3 meeting to alert them to the issue, Village President Tom Cauley suggested village officials are committed to reaching a mutually agreeable solution.

“We do have the power to hold back an occupancy permit until we satisfy ourselves that there is adequate screening. And we will do that,” Cauley told Staver.

A motion to continue the case until the ZBA’s Oct. 19 meeting was unanimously approved.

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean