Home Business Village Board Approves Engineering Plans for Upgrades to Happ Road, Including Construction of Roundabout

Village Board Approves Engineering Plans for Upgrades to Happ Road, Including Construction of Roundabout

Village Board Approves Engineering Plans for Upgrades to Happ Road, Including Construction of Roundabout

Northfield trustees have approved a supplemental agreement with the engineering firm working on the long-anticipated second phase of Happ Road improvements.

With the 5-1 approval on the Village Board’s regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 20, trustees and Village staff also addressed concerns from some residents a couple of planned roundabout and fountain centerpiece on Happ Road.

The lone dissenting vote got here from Trustee Barnaby Dinges, who participated within the meeting remotely by telephone. Dinges didn’t participate in any discussion Tuesday and it’s unclear why he voted against the engineering contract.

As previously reported by The Record, the second phase of Happ Road improvements will deal with the portion of the road through downtown Northfield — from Winnetka Avenue to Willow Road. The project is designed to enhance safety for each motorists and pedestrians, along with work corresponding to replacing shoulders and drainage ditches.

The largest planned addition to Happ Road is a roundabout situated on the Orchard Lane intersection. The board has also signaled support for adding a fountain to the middle of that roundabout.

At Tuesday’s meeting, interim Village Manager Tim Frenzer explained that the supplemental agreement is expounded to “various items which have come up” while Patrick Engineering, the firm tasked with the Happ Road project, has continued their engineering work.

Several of those items are related to the proposed fountain, including concepts, water line and sump pump designs, and landscape restoration.

The supplemental agreement to Patrick Engineering’s contract is $107,184.

In his memo to the board, Frenzer said Northfield could be answerable for $79,172 of those costs, while Cook County will reimburse $28,000 per an intergovernmental agreement between the 2 entities.

Frenzer added that the project is anticipated to exit to bid this summer and that the proposed fountain can be bid individually as what he known as an “alternative item.”

Trustees and Frenzer also addressed several questions that got here up during public comment regarding the roundabout and fountain.

Frenzer confirmed that Cook County, which maintains Happ Road, is requiring Northfield to construct a roundabout.

Resident Don Graf asked if the Village could delay the project until more community members are informed about it, while also asking if there may very well be a community survey or referendum.

“Imagine me, there’s a variety of (residents) that had no idea this was about to occur,” he said.

Frenzer responded that he didn’t imagine a survey or referendum would make any difference since Happ Road is a county road and that the Village doesn’t have rather a lot that it may well do to oppose the county’s requirements.

He also called roundabouts “the way in which of the long run” and said, from an engineering perspective, they’re safer types of road travel.

Kim Orth, the wife of Trustee Charles Orth, also questioned the proposal so as to add a fountain and asked if the board had ever discussed it.

Trustee Todd Fowler responded that the trustees discussed the fountain twice — at committee of the entire meetings in May and July 2023 – and said they spent discussing what the best option was for the roundabout’s centerpiece, ultimately giving staff direction to explore the smaller fountain option.

Trustee Tom Whittaker added that no final decision has been made on any fountain.

“It’s just direction,” he said. “And if there’s other costs or things that we feel the necessity to change our focus, we’ve got the flexibility to achieve this.”

Village President Greg Lungmus added that the trustees will know more after the project’s bids come back, which he said will assist in making any decisions a couple of potential fountain.

Recent public comment guidelines approved

Also on Tuesday, trustees unanimously passed amended rules for public commentary during board meetings, including limiting a speaker’s time to 3 minutes.

The changes were discussed on the January committee of the entire meeting, with Frenzer noting that Northfield is the one community in Recent Trier Township that doesn’t have a limit on the time for public comment.

Orth said he heard from concerned residents in regards to the cut-off date and suggested either lengthening the time to 5 minutes or not having a limit in any respect.

“We don’t really have too many people who speak too often for too long,” he said.

Frenzer said that while the brand new rules cap public comments at three minutes, the board also has the discretion to elongate public comment periods. Residents may make longer comments if pre-approved by the board, he said, and the limit doesn’t apply to situations corresponding to public hearings or zoning cases where an “interested party” is speaking.

“Without the rule, it’s just the presiding officer deciding on an ad-hoc basis who gets to talk, how long,” Frenzer said. “At that time, you’re not protecting peoples’ rights.”

After hearing Frenzer’s explanation, Orth said he was satisfied and ultimately voted to approve the changes.

Dispensary opening date planned

Northfield’s first cannabis dispensary is planning to open this spring.

Steve Gutierrez, the Village’s community development director, said he recently spoke to the operator of BLOC Cannabis Dispensary who said the business plans on opening in either late March or early April.

In March 2022, trustees unanimously approved BLOC’s request to open a dispensary at 161 Waukegan Road.

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