Hinsdale Garfield project passes ZBA review
Updated: April 29, 2013 10:01AM
HINSDALE — A two-story commercial building proposed for the southwest corner of First Street and Garfield Avenue will be well-received by residents and retailers, the property owners hope.
So far, so good for the former.
No one spoke against the project, called Garfield Crossings, at the public hearing held Wednesday by Hinsdale’s Zoning Board of Appeals.
Residents had come out against a previous plan, by a different developer, to put a three-story building on the site, because they thought it clashed with the character of the downtown.
At the March 13 Plan Commission, Dennis Jones, chief executive officer of Hinsdale Bank & Trust Co., which is on the north side of First Street directly across from the site, said the development was needed.
“This site has been underperforming for far too long,” Jones said. Hinsdale’s downtown is “too small and too fragile to endure prolonged vacancies.”
“We need the kind of retail space that is proposed here,” Jones said. “Smaller, fresher space is desired.”
The current proposal would have stores on the ground floor and offices on the second floor.
Jones predicted the second floor would be leased before the first.
The plan is to divide the building into stores and offices of from 1,200 to 1,800 square feet. There would be room for up to six tenants at that size.
“We are supplying a product that meets the need of the specialty retail shops that are unique to shopping in Hinsdale,” property owner Clay Naccarato said.
The building would face First and extend all the way to Garfield. The parking lot would be behind, or south, of the building. Drivers would enter the parking lot from Garfield. Trucks would make deliveries via an alley off of First.
The ZBA gave a favorable review to the variances Naccarato needed for his project, including foregoing a landscape buffer and a setback at the rear (west side) of the property. The Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce is directly west of the site and the Chamber does not oppose the variances.
The only variance that was not unanimously accepted was the request for tenants to have signs on the second floor exterior.
ZBA member Robert Neiman said allowing that exception to the zoning code “gives this owner an advantage over everyone else in town who owns a two-story building.”
He predicted other property owners will seek the same variance.
“I can’t envision how different the town would look if everyone had second-floor exterior signs,” Neiman said.
The project next goes before the Plan Commission in April.
Naccarato’s attorney has said they are eager to start construction as soon as the Village Board approves the project.