The Wheatland Township highway commissioner said Wednesday the township board is welcome to use his building for meetings, but there's not enough space for the supervisor and assessor offices.
The to the highway department's three-year-old, $3 million building on 103rd Street was broached Tuesday night as residents debated the merits of different solutions for the township's space problems.
Ultimately, the resounding vote was to take no action at the special meeting attended by nearly 200 township residents.
Meanwhile, Supervisor Todd Morse said he questioned the legality of the Tuesday meeting and said he has asked the township's law firm, Ancel Glink, to provide him with an opinion.
In rejecting the other options, which included building a new town hall next to the highway department, buying an existing builiding, leasing space or remodeling the existing town hall on 91st Street, residents also approved a resolution calling for the sale of the two acres on 103rd Street. That was the land on which a new town hall would be built.
The city of Naperville sold the land to the township and a clause in the contract gives it nine months to buy it back, township Trustee Joe Hudetz said. The land is valued at about $350,000.
“We need to give notice to the city and that option period needs to start – that needs to happen right away,” Hudetz said. “All the people who were (at the Tuesday meeting) were very representative of the township and what they want, and we need to respect what they voted for.”
Morse said he won't take any action until the report from Ancel Glink is presented.
“I represent 56,000 taxpayers,” Morse said. “I’ll wait for the report.”
Morse did not attend the Tuesday meeting, opting instead to go to the township planning commission's hearing on plans for a construction debris recycling center proposed for land on 119th Street, near Plainfield High School.
Chicago attorney Doug Ibendahl, who was hired by residents to guide them through the process of voting on the building options, said Tuesday night that the meeting was legal.
Ibendahl was brought into the situation earlier this year when residents feared Ancel Glink was providing legal opinions that supported the township board majority, which wanted to build a new $1.5 million building on the 103rd Street land.
Trustee Karl Karantonis said that once the Ancel Glink report is in hand, the township board will vote on whether to accept the findings. Karantonis has been an outspoken critic of new the building.
At the Wednesday meeting, Karantonis asked Dayton Jarnagin if he would allow the township to hold its meetings in the highway department's conference room. The issue has become more pressing as township meetings draw bigger crowds every month.
“I’ve never been against it,” Jarnagin said. “I told Todd a long time ago we could meet over there, but the supervisor says he wants to meet here (in the existing town hall building).”
That said, Jarnagin said there is not enough room in the highway building to provide permanent office space for a dozen supervisor and assessor employees.
A handful of citizens scolded Morse and Trustee Doug Haddad for not attending the Tuesday meeting. Katherine Havel, of Naperville, complained about the “adversarial attitude” some township officials have toward the people they represent.
Tricia Tillotson praised the work of the volunteers on the space study committee.
“This is something you as a board should have done,” Tillotson said. “Citizens should not have to take time out of their day to do your job.”