A consolidation of the Zoning Board of Appeals, Plan Commission and Planned Development Commission into one unit probably is the most significant result of a decision by the Oak Brook Village Board to improve efficiency of commissions in the village.
Village Manager Greg Summers said that following a recent review, village staff identified numerous opportunities to consolidate processes to improve efficiency as well as some commissions that have become defunct.
“At the same time, there is a need to formulate new committees to address issues, such as community engagement, in order to enhance village services,” he said.
That was the logic in approving an amendment to the Village Code to reorganize, consolidate, or restructure the existing commissions in order to institute adjustments for more efficient governmental functions as well as streamline procedural and regulatory processes.
The Zoning Board of Appeals, Plan Commission and Planned Development Commission have been consolidated into a new nine-member Planning and Zoning Commission to streamline petition review and ensure consistent reviews and recommendations.
“This is a trend that has taken root in many other suburbs, many other communities,” Village President Larry Herman said of the move to consolidate those functions. “In my eyes this is a way of making the process more efficient for applicants and for staff. ”“Herman said that the previous process of applicants having to go the Plan Commission and then the Zoning Board of Appeals — and sometimes to the Planned Development Commission — sometimes took three months to complete.
“We want to be friendly, we want to be careful — we want to scrutinize all our applications and make sure everyone meets our standards,” he said. “The three-stage process is a burden on applicants and also a burden on our staff.”
Herman said he is excited about the creation of another group, a Community Engagement Committee, to offer advice and recommendations on communications and events that enhance the resident experience and cohesiveness of the community.
“The whole idea is to really start to find ways to bring all of us together from all the different school districts,” he said. While Butler Elementary District 53 is the only school district located in the village, some Oak Brook residents also attend elementary schools in Downers Grove District 58, Salt Creek District 48, Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills District 181 and Elmhurst Unit District 205. Oak Brook residents also attend high school at Hinsdale Central, York, Downers Grove North and Willowbrook, depending on where they live in the village.
Along with the creation of a Community Engagement Committee and the consolidation of the Zoning Board of Appeals, Plan Commission and Planned Development Commission, the village will be making the following changes:
- Revise the Hotel, Convention, and Visitors Committee to allow the Hotel General Manager to appoint a designee in their stead, if they so choose
- Revise the Foreign Fire Insurance Tax Board to reflect consistency with the state statute and the current board’s make up
- Eliminate the defunct Safety Pathway Committee.
- Eliminate the Community Enhancement Committee, as its role is absorbed by the new Planning and Zoning Commission
- Eliminate the defunct Technology Advisory Committee, as this role has been absorbed by the Village Board, Village Manager’s office and the Information Technology Department.
- Eliminate the defunct Finance Committee, as this role has been absorbed by the Village Board, Village Manager’s office and the Finance Department.
- Revise the Electrical Commission to clarify the appointment term.
Chuck Fieldman is a freelance reporter for Pioneer Press.