Staircase recommended for Glencoe’s Dell Place Beach
"My wife Amy wants (Dell Place beach) closed," Lakeside Terrace resident Ken Wexler told the Street Ends Task Force Monday night, adding that proposed beach access improvements would attract "people to the neighborhood who don't belong." He, or at least his wife, didn't carry the day. |Irv Leavitt~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 21, 2012 11:09AM
Glencoe’s Street Ends Task Force, in a historic, perhaps final, session, recommended Monday a staircase to the bottom of Dell Place beach, lengthening the hours visitors are allowed on the beach, and shoring up a swale that leads from the bluff to the sand.
They reaffirmed the warm-weather parking restrictions on Dell-area streets, already instituted by village authorities, and that the bluff would remain unfenced.
The group also demanded that the fence that had cut off the South Avenue bluff from the public be removed.
The recommendations are likely to be briefly communicated to the village Board at its meeting of Thursday, June 14, and discussed at the July 19 meeting, task force chairman Joel Solomon, a village trustee, said.
If approved by the Board, the staircase, at an estimated cost of $10,500, and the swale work, at $10,000 to $12,000, would be inserted into next year’s budget, and work would likely begin in the spring, he said.
The staircase would start about halfway down the Dell slope, and proceed to the beach, traversing the piles of rip-rap.
Village Attorney Victor Filippini was challenged by members who worried that his conservative view of the Americans With Disabilities Act would preclude a staircase, and the lawyer repeated earlier assurances that the staircase over this portion was unlikely to run afoul of the 1990 law.
Member Jonathan Lippitz, who lives just north of Dell Place beach, still had a problem with the staircase, saying that rowdy visitors would increase if it was easier to get to the beach.
“I’d love to see the staircase,” he said. “But I can’t see that it won’t bring more of the issues” that neighbors decry, such as drinking on the 66-foot-wide beach.
Member Laurie Morse, a leader in the staircase drive, retorted that “I have complete confidence in the Glencoe chief of police and his patrol” to handle enforcement.
Lippitz, however, noted that in recent evenings, Dell Place has often been watched over by a paid-on-call-firefighter, who can radio police, and that enforcement won’t continue.
Others noted that with a new staircase, police could get to the beach much more quickly than now, when the route includes scrambling over boulders.
Member Michael Glass said that more people would go to the beach, and their presence would help keep it safe. He said that in some troublesome public woods, as soon as a disc golf course was added, “illegal users were nowhere to be seen.”
After the debate, members voted 9-0 for the staircase.
Members wouldn’t even consider recommending a code change to formally allow pets on the beach.
“If we allow pets on the beach, it’ll be a beach full of pets,” Lippitz said.
The panel voted 9-0 to recommend changing the hours from the current 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., to 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The longer hours would be in force April 1 through Sept. 30, the same period when area parking is restricted to neighbors and their guests, a point won by the neighbors earlier this year, and already implemented.
More time would bring more opportunity for problems, maintained Lippitz’ neighbor Ken Wexler from the audience.
“Why change it?” he asked.
The change, members said, recognizes the interests of those who wanted to visit before and after work, and the fact that the days are much longer in the summer, when visits are more frequent.
The panel also voted 9-0 to recommend a bike rack on the Dell bluff. After that vote, Wexler said it was wrong-headed because it’d be ugly.
Also, it would attract kids, he said, and kids were the source of most of the problems on the beach.
One of those who defended the vote was Cornell, who noted that he never liked restricting the area parking to neighbors, so the least he could do to make up for that was facilitate visits by bike.
No new task force meetings were set, and Solomon indicated that he didn’t plan to schedule any. Some members noted that issues remain at Harbor and Beach street ends and elsewhere, but they generally agreed to suspend activities at least until the Village Board dealt with the recommendations they’ve made.