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Being prepared for buses, corrective mandates for hotels, and welcoming Chick-fil-A – a Village Board summary

A run-down of the January 16 Village Board meetings

LANSING, Ill. (January 17, 2024) – The Lansing Village Board of Trustees held its first meeting of the year on Tuesday, January 16. During the Committee of the Whole meeting, trustees considered a proposed ordinance addressing unscheduled bus drop-offs, a proposed ordinance to help curb police visits to hotels, and requests from Chick-fil-A for special uses and a tax incentive.

Ordinance for unscheduled bus drop-offs

“PROPOSED ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING REGULATIONS FOR UNSCHEDULED INTERCITY BUSES AND DISCHARGE OF PASSENGERS” is how the item appeared on the Committee of the Whole Agenda.

The proposed ordinance, Podgorski explained, is in response to the migrant busing crisis that has affected some Chicago suburbs. Buses full of migrants, mostly from Texas, have arrived in Chicago and surrounding suburbs in recent months, causing some local entities to take action in an attempt to regulate the practice.

Village Attorney Matt Welch said the Village’s proposed ordinance “mirrors” what has been passed by many other municipalities. It would include the following:

  • Five-day notice must be provided to the Chief of Police for any unscheduled intercity bus drop-off.
  • Background checks of every person on the bus over 18 must also be provided.
  • The “head of the public body from which the bus leaves” must have authorized the bus.
  • Bus drop-offs must take place Monday – Friday, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

“In the event a paid bus operator does not comply, we have the ability to fine the bus operator,” Welch said, adding that Lansing most likely won’t face this issue, as the most popular suburban destinations for such buses are communities that have a train station connecting to Chicago.

“The purpose of this is to assist the Village in the event these drop-offs occur, that they can be handled in an orderly fashion to ensure no one is harmed,” Welch said.

Ordinance for “nuisance” hotels and motels

Lansing Police Chief Al Phillips brought a proposal before the Village Board Committee of the Whole that’s aimed at reducing the amount of calls that bring Lansing’s police officers to the Village’s hotels and motels.

Phillips said Lansing’s hotels alone account for roughly 7% of the department’s call volume over the last four years. “We are going to these hotels time and time again,” he said. “And it’s not all of them; some of them are doing it right.”

Village Board
Lansing Police Chief Al Phillips showed a chart detailing the amount police calls to each of Lansing’s hotels. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Phillips shared a chart showing the amount of calls received for each hotel in 2023. The highest numbers are included below:

  • Red Roof Inn: 414 calls in 2023
  • United Motel: 314 calls in 2023
  • Travel Lodge: 305 calls in 2023
  • Pioneer Motel: 163 calls in 2023
  • Sonesta Suites (formerly Extended Stay America): 146 calls in 2023

In total, Lansing Police received 1,658 calls to Lansing’s 10 hotels in 2023, which averages to about 4.5 times per day.

Phillips presented a tiered system of corrective actions for hotels that have more than 10 calls in a month.

  • First violation: Official warning from police chief, opportunities given to enter into an abatement agreement.
  • Second violation: Implementation of permit parking program
  • Third violation: Installation of boundary fencing, barriers to unauthorized entry, and enhanced lighting
  • Fourth violation: Installation of license plate readers
  • Fifth violation: Hiring of Village-approved, licensed, full-time security
  • Sixth violation: Written demand that the hotel immediately address the problem, and a mandatory hearing where the hearing officer may impose a $750 fine for each incident, require additional security measures, force a temporary closure, or revoke the hotel’s business license

Phillips noted that hotels that call the police themselves for an issue would not be counted in the monthly total, nor would premise checks, or traffic stops.

He also said, if approved, LPD will start the program in April, and he will personally meet with a representative at each hotel to explain the details of — and reasons for — the program.

The Chief noted that the goal is voluntary compliance, and held up Holiday Inn Express, Comfort Suites, and Sleep Inn as examples of intentional security being effective.

The trustees will vote at a future meeting to implement the ordinance.

Chick-fil-A

Three Chick-fil-A items appeared on Tuesday night’s Committee of the Whole agenda. The first was a request for a drive-thru facility. The second was a request for outdoor seating.

Joe Vavrina, an engineer with HRGreen, walked the board through Chick-fil-A’s plans and site layout, which will be at 17601 Torrence Avenue, the site of the former Round the Clock. Trustees asked about the drive-thru design, to ensure cars wouldn’t be stacked into traffic.

Joe Vavrina, an engineer with HRGreen, walked the board through Chick-fil-A’s plans and site layout, which will be at 17601 Torrence Avenue, the site of the former Round the Clock. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

“All these minor details are shaping up to be real nice improvements over what’s there,” Village Administrator Dan Podgorski said after Vavrina’s presentation.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our community and we’re excited to see it,” Trustee Saad Abbasy said.

Also on the agenda was a Class 8 Tax Incentive request from Chick-fil-A. Class 8 incentives reduce Cook County property taxes for businesses, and are designed to attract new development.

An attorney representing Chick-fil-A said the finished property would result in about $189,000 per year in property taxes. He said the property currently yields $50,000 to $60,000 in taxes per year.

Additionally, the attorney said Chick-fil-A would bring in an estimated $60,000 per year in sales tax for the Village.

“Even with a Class 8, we’re going to see a huge increase in what taxes will come out of the site. Sales taxes, those are our favorite thing, as they go right into the general fund,” Podgorski said.

Podgorski indicated the three Chick-fil-A requests would appear on the agenda of the first Village Board Meeting in February for final approval.

Additional notes from the Village Board meetings

  • The Board voted in favor of Mayor Patty Eidam’s appointment of Jason Klausner to the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners.
  • The Board approved Ordinance 24-001, “Regarding the Paid Leave for All Workers Act.”
  • The Board approved two feasibility studies related to Tax Increment Financing Redevelopment Project Areas.
  • The Board approved a proposal from Cornerstone Government Affairs, related to government consulting services for economic development.”
  • The Board authorized a proposal from Robinson Engineering regarding “engineering services related to levee topography & property surveys.”
  • Village Trustees, Administrator Podgorski, and Finance Director Brian Hanigan discussed a proposed change to the broker for Village health insurance.
  • Kyle Peabody, from engineering firm Crawford, Murphy, & Tilly, made a presentation regarding the Lansing Municipal Airport Transportation Improvement Program.

Village Board meetings typically occur at 6 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of the month in the Village Courtroom, located at 2710 170th Street. To contact a trustee or Village official, visit VillageofLansing.org.

For more information on Village Board meetings, click below to view The Lansing Journal’s video guide:

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Josh Bootsma
Josh Bootsma
Josh is Managing Editor at The Lansing Journal and believes in the power and purpose of community news. He covers any local topics—from village government to theatre, from business openings to migratory birds.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I was trying to find the 2023 board agendas on the Village website and couldn’t locate them. What is the 24-001 ordinance in regards to the paid leave act?

    • The Village stores meeting agendas and minutes in the Documents folder of their website, which is accessible through an icon under the main image of their home page. From there, it’s helpful to know whether the agenda you are looking for was for a Committee of the Whole meeting or a Board meeting, because that is how they are categorized. I looked in January 2024 and December 2023 but could not easily find any earlier meetings where this ordinance was discussed, but more information is available in this news release we published from the Governor’s Office: https://thelansingjournal.com/2024/01/09/paid-leave-for-all-workers-act-now-in-effect-in-illinois/

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