Public weighs in on Vine Street Station


Last updated 10/25/2023 at 2:51pm | View PDF

The Vine Street Station lifestyle housing proposal was the subject of plan commission public hearing earlier this month, the latest stop in a 2 1/2-year effort to convert the old Zion Lutheran School to condos.

Last year Hinsdale trustees approved several ordinances in support of the project to convert the historic two-story building into 12 living units, but several items remained unfinished.

Outdoor spaces was among them, and Drew Mitchell of developer Holladay Properties told commissioners at the Oct. 11 hearing that the site would feature a public pocket park on the west side, a sitting garden on the east side and a space for residents.

“We build transit-oriented developments, and we’re trying to create an opportunity for community,” Mitchell said.

Commissioners signaled support for the plan, but Laurel Haarlow expressed concern over the large TV envisioned for the resident space, as it would be visible from Second Street.

“I’m wondering if it would create a distraction for people who are driving along Second Street,” she said.

Others worried about the sound carrying throughout the neighborhood. Mitchell said a requirement that the TV have volume limits and shut off by dusk would be incorporated into the homeowners’ association rules and regulations.

Project architect Chris Walsh told commissioners that the developer was withdrawing requests to narrow spots in the 25-space parking garage as well as the drive lane after determining the garage could be designed to code. Eliminating a loading space, with village approval, helped with that.

“The reality of it is, once these get sold, people will move in and may never move out,” Walsh said. “We’re really not anticipating a lot of move-ins, move-outs.”

Vine Street resident Tom Heinz praised the project for preserving the building and enhancing the neighborhood. But he also discussed flooding issues the area experiences and urged officials not to make it worse. He also lobbied for a one-way Second Street to be opened to both eastbound and westbound traffic to ease the burden on Vine.

“I think it’s imperative that it become a two-way street now, so that people don’t have to turn right when they come out of there,” Heinz said.

Walsh said efforts have been made to protect vintage architectural elements of the 1931 structure.

“We’re going to preserve the door, we’re going to preserve the sign,” Walsh said. “We’re going to have to manipulate the stonework a little bit, but we’re planning to save everything else.”

Mitchell said the preceding 31 months have been valuable in refining the Vine Street Station plan.

“I think that the output and the outcome of this process is dramatically improved versus what it may have been,” Mitchell told commissioners. “We’re really eager to get started.”

The plan commission is expected to issue a recommendation on the matter at its Nov. 8 meeting.

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean


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