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Coal City leaders decline library's permit request

Neighbor asks for landscaping to cut down on light

COAL CITY — A motion to approve a conditional use permit for the Coal City Library District failed to gain village officials' support at their meeting Monday night in Coal City.

In a tie vote broken by Mayor Neal Nelson, the board voted against approving the permit for the library, which would allow the library to proceed with plans to renovate space in a home on its property into additional meeting space.

Village administrator Matt Fritz told the trustees that during a March public hearing for the permit, the library agreed to include construction of a five-foot fence along the northern edge of the alley next to the building to prevent nuisance light from the parking lot from entering neighboring homes.

Bob Hamilton, the neighbor of the library who raised the issue of lights, was also present at the board meeting Monday. He said he wants the problem to be mitigated so that he can be left alone.

"I only have so many years now and I want it nice and peaceful," he said.

Hamilton said he'd prefer additional landscaping to also cut down on light. He estimated a few trees would cost about $1,200.

Library officials countered that the expense of the trees was excessive and noted they already have amended their plans to include the fencing to cut down on the issue of lights. 

Jolene Franciskovich, the library's director, said adding trees is a deal-breaker for the project.

"We feel we've already given some," she said. "We've already done our part."

Trustee Georgette Vota said that the Planning and Zoning Board raised the issue of storm sewers that will be replaced in the future, which could impede planting trees.

"The Planning and Zoning board thought the fence would resolve the issue," she said. 

The board first motioned to deny the permit, a move that failed to gain consensus with only trustees Irving DeWald and Dave Togliatti voting 'yes.'

The second motion to approve the conditional use permit, without additional requirements for the library to plant trees, split the vote among the trustees, with Togliatti, Terry Halliday and Justin Wren voting 'no.'

In order to have approval of the permit, all parties will need to resolve the issue, Fritz said.

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