Dunkin’s Bait & Switch on Neighborhood Amenities

If You live near any City of Geneva project, never take your eye off the peanut while playing the City of Geneva zoning shell game. (Warning: the game is fixed.)

During the City’s evisceration of its formerly robust Special Use Ordinance during the Dunkin’ application (approved when the mayor broke the tie) at State and Crissey, many forced unlawful conditional kinks were embedded. Only two of these kinks are discussed here as examples: 1) The shell game that omitted the required trees on the parkways, and 2) the shell game surrounding the electrical service that made losers out of the neighbors and winners of the mayor’s friends, the Twisted Kilt franchisers. The two subterfuges are related.

First, parkway trees were required to be planted as part of the development. This streetscape upgrade was ostensibly to improve the appeal of the project and to enhance the neighborhood. The City waived this requirement and belatedly collected a few hundred dollars in lieu of the trees. “Overhead wires” were cited as the justification for this penalization of the neighbors. Not mentioned was the illegal retaining wall abutting the sidewalk and encroaching on the parkway, limiting room for trees. Also not mentioned was the fact that the offending pole and wires were to be removed entirely as part of the electrical plan. If you think the Geneva Plan Commission has its eyes open, think again.

The second electric service shell game was “highlighted” by its total absence from the discussion of the Committee of the Whole meeting of February 22, 2022.

Attention is called to Dawkins’ claim that “no funds had yet been disbursed…” This was not a truthful statement.

The above is a line in the Geneva financial reports. For the reader to follow this $30K peanut under its shell, the actual applicable electrical service plan must be known. What has existed since early 2021 is overhead wires to the pole at the “back” SW corner of the Dunkin site and then down the pole and under the sidewalk to a transformer in the overcrowded encroached parkway, then drilled underground through the LUST site while dumping the removed contaminated soil on the parkway without the IEPA required precautions (or knowledge.) Mr “P,” the payee, was a member of the Dunkin’ team.

The latest publically known plan for the site is that of IDOT from last fall, seen below:

This plan does not accurately describe the electric service provided by the City of Geneva right now, July 11,2022. The note highlighted in yellow in the left lower corner reads: “Upgraded electric service to be installed underground from intersection of Oak and Crissey to transformer.” The “upgrade” was “refunded” to the Tilters. Not even a Fifth Ward Alderman took notice.

So, the City Council approved (years ago now) a Special Use” plan that fails several of the “must” be met nine criteria. Then the mayor’s “professional” minions manipulate the approved plan to reward the tax-scoff developer and apply its “forced unlawful conditional kinks” to illegally screw the neighborhood and taxpayers while sending a check of $30K of laundered refund juice money to the developer. So much for Dawkins’ “designated points of completion.” The “developers’ issues” were all self-inflicted so they could receive “first aide” from the City by taking away property value and amenities from the neighborhood.

Alderman Kilberg should ask again about “legal recourse,” but this time he should ask the Attorney General and the State’s Attorney. He should also demand that no occupancy permit be granted until the electric service is buried from Oak and Crissey as promised.

2 thoughts on “Dunkin’s Bait & Switch on Neighborhood Amenities

  1. Formerly I was rather fond of the coffee served by Dunkin’ Donuts, but in recent years it has not excited my taste buds to the same degree. That may be my the fault of my taste buds – but perhaps not.

    This planned Dunkin’ appears to show an aggressive number of parking spaces for a rather small interior “sitting area”. The parking spaces appear to cramp the space for the driving lanes, especially the outer lane, which appears not to have enough space to clear the inner lane – as Nelson has observed. In fact, that outer lane appears to disappear to practically nothing toward the southwest parking spaces and the undesirable obstruction to the “line of sight”. Also, ought not the Employee parking space be assigned to the north wall – to avoid customers from having to cross the drive lanes to access the interior spaces?

    I wonder if the Geneva City Council would have “gifted” 30k to a local, independent entrepreneur, or if paying it is only justified to give it to a corporation with only 12,000+ existing stores?


    1. These TIF projects distort local markets in a zero sum fashion. A really special draw like Graham’s Chocolates or Joyce Rare Books might increase total sales tax rev. But coffee and donuts shipped in from Bedford Park? This will harm existing competitors but the applicant acknowledges it will not draw new people. This is a dumb location and is badly designed.


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