Mayor disappointed after hotel project voted down
Updated: Sep 5, 2019
By DANNY CIAMPRONE - email@example.com
Aug. 13, 2013
BURR RIDGE – Burr Ridge Mayor Mickey Straub said "it was a golden opportunity missed" after the plan to build two five-story hotels in the vacant lot at 15W150 South Frontage Road was voted down Aug. 5 by the Burr Ridge Plan Commission.
"I'm glad people spoke out and let their voices be heard, but I think a couple of things went array," Straub said. Facing opposition from several residents, Straub said he was disappointed that the final aspects of the project didn't have a chance to get presented by Rachit Dhingra, chief executive officer for the developer Odyssey Hotels, and said the plans were pretty "phenomenal." Mark Thoma of Burr Ridge was one of the residents who opposed the hotel construction and said several others had the same views. Thoma said he and the neighbors he talked to were initially worried about the visual impact, but then started to worry about the impact on flooding as that area is prone to it during storms. “The key intersection at 75th and Drew Avenue, that intersection occasionally goes underwater so the hotel would be backing right up to that," Thoma said.Besides the visual appearance, Thoma said he and others were also not fond of the idea of having a 24-hour business in town.
"We found out that people were really worried about the image of Burr Ridge changing that it would become an overnight stop rather than our quiet little community that has kind of been a hidden gem for all these years," he said. When running for the mayor's office in April, Straub said some of his main goals were to make the Village Center successful and increase revenue for the village. He said the hotels not being built now would be a blow to that and felt part of the reason the hotels did not get approved was politically motivated.
“These hotels would have been a great shot in the arm for the Village Center and the entire downtown," Straub said. “If there is one good thing that came out of this, it is shedding the light on the potential flooding problem the village should look in to.” Thoma said he didn't feel the decision was politically motivated and felt it was based on the overwhelming concerns of the residents. “I wouldn't consider [hotels] the first choice and obviously the planning commission didn't think it was the first choice either after they heard from the residents," Thoma said. Straub said he was disappointed that there was no compromise, such as building one hotel or two four-story hotels, instead of canceling the project all together. If the project had passed the plan commission, the two five-story, three-star hotels' construction would then go to the village board for consideration. “In my opinion we should go back to them [Odyssey] and go, 'Please reconsider our village,'" Straub said. "Please reconsider one four-story hotel and let us work together and make this work.”