Brian DeSalle, P.E., PTOE Begins His Term as a Planning and Zoning Commissioner with the Village of Pingree Grove
Civiltech’s Brian DeSalle, P.E., PTOE was recently appointed to the position of Planning and Zoning Commissioner with the Village of Pingree Grove. As a resident, Brian knew he wanted to give back to the community utilizing his traffic engineering expertise. When he first moved to the pastoral area in 2015, his family’s house was one of the first houses to be built in a newly opened section of the Cambridge Lakes residential development. Since then, he has observed the Village’s exponential growth and has had firsthand experience dealing with the community’s traffic related growing pains and frustrations.
“One morning, after dropping my son off at his school, I counted 12 Amazon vans stacked up at the intersection of IL Route 72 and Reinking Road, travelling west from Elgin to the Huntley-Hampshire area,” Brian mused.
Pingree Grove is part of a rapidly developing region located about 45 miles northwest of Chicago in Kane County and has been experiencing the challenges commonly associated with such growth. When Brian moved to the area in 2015, there were approximately 4,600 residents in the Village, and since then the population has nearly doubled to about 9,000 residents. This rapid growth has resulted in the Village needing to expedite plans for infrastructure improvements ranging from traffic signal installation to wastewater and water treatment plant expansions, as the current infrastructure struggles to keep up. Traffic has also become an issue along the nearby regional roadways of U.S. Route 20, IL Route 72, and IL Route 47.
As one example, the Cambridge Lakes subdivision’s main entrance is located directly off of IL Route 72. Currently, traffic back-ups at this entrance is common since no traffic signal is present at the intersection (although one is currently under construction). Exiting from the subdivision onto the highway and its high rates of speed is a safety hazard and has resulted in frequent accidents in recent years.
An additional challenge of rapid residential growth is a lack of commercial amenities. The nearest “big-box” commercial developments are located in Huntley, which is five miles to the north, or along Randall Road, which is five miles to the east. A latent demand for commercial development can result in poorly executed planning as a result of rushing to satisfy the residents’ needs, as well as to build a municipal sales tax base.
Brian recognized that these challenges provided him the opportunity to be of service to his Village. With traffic issues affecting his own family’s mobility and in observing hastily planned commercial developments in other municipalities creating traffic problems, Brian was inspired to apply for the Planning and Zoning Commissioner position. He realized the Village could benefit from having someone who knows how to study traffic, knows the right questions to ask in the permitting processes, knows how to analyze data presented, and who brings strong technical expertise.
“As a resident, I knew I wanted to help determine what future growth would look like. With my traffic engineering experience, I knew that I could assist in ensuring that the immediate need for commercial development does not sacrifice mobility, long term viability, or overall quality of life and that my skillset can inform discussion and bring knowledge to other board members that may not have the technical background. Sometimes it’s necessary to say, ‘let’s look at the bigger picture and longer term goals.’”
– Brian DeSalle, P.E., PTOE
The Village had two Planning and Zoning positions available. Village President, Steve Wiedmeyer, appointed Brian to one of the positions out of a pool of approximately 15 applicants. Brian and the other applicant, Ronald Johnson were approved by the board on June 15, and on July 1, he officially began his three-year term.
In addition to helping manage the traffic impacts created by the Village’s growth, Brian was also interested in this position as it provides him an opportunity to look at traffic engineering through the lens of the municipality itself. With Civiltech, Brian has served land developers as the client, performing traffic and parking studies, collecting data, and recommending solutions for any resulting traffic and parking impacts. He has also served as an expert consultant for municipal planning and engineering departments, reviewing studies of other consultants and answering questions that assist the municipality in approving or rejecting proposed developments. Therefore, he will now have the experience of utilizing his traffic engineering expertise in all scenarios, adding the municipal official role to his previous roles as private developer representative, and municipal engineering consultant.