Response to Inquiries Regarding Library

At the June 8, 2020 meeting of the Helen Plum Library Board, the Board executed a sale agreement with the current property owners of three distinct tracts on land at the southeast corner of Main Street and Hickory Avenues. With these actions underway, the Village of Lombard offers this Frequently Asked Questions below, for residents and interested parties relative to the Village of Lombard’s role in the development process. 

Please note that the Helen Plum Library is a separate and district unit of local government from the Village of Lombard. As such, the selection and purchase of the Subject Properties is not subject to any oversight by the Village. 

June 9, 2020

1. What is being proposed?

The Library has announced its intent to redevelop the former Mr. Z’s grocery store property, undeveloped tract within the Mr. Z’s parking lot, and the existing office building at 425 S. Main Street. The existing buildings on the Subject Properties will be razed, and a new Library will be constructed on the consolidated properties.

2. Wasn’t the new Library going to be located at the existing premises as 110 W. Maple Street?

The Library Board determined that the relocating to the 401 S. Main Street site would best suit their needs. This approach would also allow for the Library construction to be undertaken in a single phase and the existing Library operations would be unaffected during this period.

3. What will actually be constructed on the 401 S. Main property?

Based upon preliminary discussions, a single stand-alone Library would be constructed on the premises. The concept plan would be to provide similar programs functions and resources as the previous concept Library plans that were publicly shared after the Library referendum was passed in 2016. The site would also be improved with a new parking lot, a drive through pick-up//dropoff lane. As of June, 2020, specific land and building plans have not been developed, let alone shared with the Village or the public.

4. What is the Village’s role in the Library development process?

Similar to the proposed Library project at 110 S. Maple Street, the Library will have to seek zoning approval from the Village in order for the project to proceed at the 401 S. Main Street property as well. Requests for zoning entitlements are considered through a public hearing process before the Lombard Plan Commission and final approval by the Village Board. Once a complete petition for a public hearing has been filed by the Library, the Village will review the petition and schedule the requisite public hearing with the Plan Commission. Consideration by the Village Board will follow the Plan Commission hearing. In addition to the Plan Commission public hearing process, the Village strongly encourages neighborhood meetings in advance, or concurrent with, filings for zoning entitlements. Neighborhood meetings would provide the public and the Library with an advance read on issues or concerns that may arise during the public hearing process, and can provide an opportunity to refine concept plans or seek alternatives prior to the public hearing with the Plan Commission.

While the Library would be facilitating neighborhood meetings, Village staff would attend in order to observe and provide information on the Plan Commission public hearing process. Should the Library project ultimately be approved, the Village will also be responsible for reviewing and approving the companion building permits.

5. What does the Library have to undertake this year to advance the project?

The Library development team will need to develop a new Library development and site plan. The multi-disciplinary effort would include consultation with community stakeholders and the Library’s selected consultants (architects, engineers, land planners, etc.). During plan development, Village staff will be available to the Library and its consultants to answer questions and provide feedback on concept plans relative to Village Building and zoning codes and applicable stormwater regulations. Each of these steps are important as they will help ensure that issues that may be raised by the public are addressed.

6. What is the timeline for a public hearing and Village approval of a new library building?

At this point it is difficult to set a defined timeline or deadline for a public hearing with the Plan Commission. Public hearings are scheduled once the Village has received a petition that includes a completed application, refined conceptual plans, and all required supplemental information. The date of the Plan Commission meeting will be a function of the availability of a given meeting date as well as undertaking any interim steps that may need to be necessary (such as traffic analyses, preliminary engineering reviews, neighborhood meetings, etc.) prior to a formal date being set. It may take several months or longer for the Library to develop refined conceptual plans that are ready for a public hearing with the Plan Commission. A longer lead time for plan development has been standard for other projects of similar size and importance. The length of the public hearing process itself may be uncertain due to the complex nature of such an undertaking. The hearing process is quasi-judicial in nature and gives the opportunity for the Library to make a public presentation to the Village and the public relative to why any requested zoning actions are appropriate and warranted. The public hearing also provides the public with a means to comment in support of or in objection to a given petition. The Library project will be a high-profile one, and the Village anticipates that there will be significant engagement during the public hearing process, which may very well require multiple Plan Commission public hearing meetings and at least two Village Board meetings to render a final decision. 

7. Will issues related to funding of the library building be considered by the Village during the public hearing process? 

The Village’s role will be limited to its zoning review and approval authority. The Village is not a party to the sale of the Subject Properties, nor does the Village have any authority relative to the financial aspects of the Library project. Issues related to past referenda, funding, real estate costs, the Library Board’s past and current negotiations, and discussions about site alternatives, do not fall within the statutory role of the Plan Commission or the Village Board. Therefore, these items will not be discussed during the public hearing process conducted by the Plan Commission and Village Board.

8. What additional steps would need to occur before construction starts, should the project be approved?

The Library will also have to undertake the following steps:

  • Close on the Subject Properties
  • Develop final building and engineering plans
  • Apply for and receive building permits from the to raze the existing buildings and structures
  • Apply for and receive building permits for the proposed site improvements and the new Library building

9. What will happen to the current Library building and site?

The ultimate disposition regarding the existing Library site will need to be made by the Library Board. Should any change of land use be sought with that property, the Village would be engaged in any such review efforts.

10. How can I keep informed about this project?

As a taxing body, you are free to contact the Helen Plum Memorial Library directly at (630)627-0316 or www.helenplum.org/contact. If you have questions regarding the Village’s role in the development process, feel free to call (630)620-5749 or communitydevelopment@villageoflombard.org.