Carbondale City Council approves new area for TIF District 2, tables vacation rental proposal | Carbondale

CARBONDALE — A representative of Polco, a Software company in Middleton, Wisconsin, presented their National Community Survey on Tuesday evening to the Carbondale City Council.

City Manager Gary Williams told the council the group is the preferred pollsters of the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants.

Carbondale City Hall and Civic Center on South Illinois Avenue.

The Southern File Photo

Polco will provide a platform to poll the city’s residents to discover their perceptions about city services, such as water, sewer and police. The company has a standard set of questions that make up the National Community Survey.

The survey will give the city scientific data on how residents feel about city services.

The council was told the business is working with several other Illinois towns, including Schaumberg, O’Fallon, Lake Zurich and Peoria.

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Polco will send postcards to residents with instructions on filling out the survey online. Residents who do not go online will be sent a paper copy of the survey. They will follow up with a reminder to fill it out and return it.

Once the data is received, Polco will analyze it and send reports to the city. The process will take between 15 and 20 weeks to complete. If they get started right away, the city could get results before Christmas.

The cost of the survey is estimated between $15,000 and $25,000.

The representatives answered questions and explained their polling process to the council and spectators.

Item 3.7 in the city’s consent agenda was to approve Polco (Policy Confluence, Inc.) conducting the National Community Survey The item was pulled from the consent agenda. After a little more discussion, the council approved Polco conducting the survey at a cost of $23,550.

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The council also discussed vacation rental units. They were considering adopting a resolution to authorize city staff to initiate a text amendment to Title 15 to create a Vacation Rental Unit Overlay District.

The overlay district was of TIF 2 and would limit vacation rental units to 100. Those units would have to conform to certain architectural requirements based on their neighborhood.

A lengthy discussion followed.

Commissioner Lee Fronabarger said if the vacation rentals did not conform to the neighborhood, they could drive residents to live elsewhere, such as Murphysboro or Marion. He is also concerned about the effects that the number of rentals could have on local hotels.

“The hotel industry hovers at 50 percent (occupancy). They have still not received because of COVID,” he said.

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Members of the audience also had comments.

Phillip Holden asked the council to reconsider their requirement that homeowners must live on the property used as a vacation rental.

Jane Adams asked about the council’s plans to include apartment buildings and whether or not they could be used as vacation rentals.

Victor Ludwig, a student at SIU, was concerned about vacation rentals rising the cost of rent in the city.

Steve Quinn, president of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, said 10,000s of people come to Southern Illinois every year.

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“People want to see our area and see its natural beauty. They want to stay at Air BnB when they travel. Most of our surrounding communities are embracing the VRUs,” Quinn said.

John Lenzini, director of Community Development in Carbondale, said there is a lot of vacant property in the city. That vacant property can be used for unscrupulous activity. His department has spent time boarding up vacant buildings to keep people out.

The council decided they would rescind the motion and second. They will look at the issue again at a later date.

The council also passed resolutions to amend Tax Increment Financing District 2.

They approved amending the Illinois University TIF 2 redevelopment plan; added property to Illinois University TIF district 2, and adopted tax increment financing to the amended district of Illinois University TIF District 2.

During the discussion of the amended TIF district, Jane Adams suggested that the city create an advisory committee for each of the three neighborhoods that are included in the amended TIF, which are the Arbor District, northwest and northeast.

The committees could review projects to make sure they fit the neighborhood and its vibe.

The council also approved increasing the police budget by purchasing three new police vehicles from Vogler Ford at a cost of $163,254.

The council tabled a presentation called the Community’s Perception of Conducting Business in the City because of the length of the meeting. It will be presented at a later date.

Carbondale City Council will meet again at 6 pm on Sept. 13.


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