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  • Writer's pictureeileenkanute

Why we (The CFRD) support David Pietryla for City Council

In what would normally be an unremarkable race for city council in St. Charles’ Fourth Ward, there is a battle going on that has responsible development at its heart. That part of town, which includes the east side along the river and the Central Historic District, is still smarting from the passage of the River East Lofts apartment complex at Indiana and Riverside Drive and the battle over the redevelopment of the old police station site. Those issues woke up the community and highlighted the absolute necessity for leaders who support responsible development and will not cave in to developers who are used to having their way with the city.

The Citizens for Responsible Development (CFRD) came together to oppose the preposterous and inappropriate Frontier Development proposal that would have walled off the Fox River from the neighboring community and created an existential threat to the east side of town. The CFRD is nothing more than a group of citizens who love St. Charles and are willing to stand up and fight for our town. It is a grass roots movement that believes the voices of residents and taxpayers should have a say in how public land on our riverfront is developed, and that the city should be skeptical of developers who ask for free land, favorable TIF financing and ignore ordinances and codes that are in place to protect our riverfront.

That is why the CFRD supports David Pietryla. David favors responsible development in our town and has voted in favor of development projects that are not offensive and will benefit the community (such as the Munhall Glen project on the east side). He is transparent, listens to the residents of the Fourth Ward, and is not afraid to vote contrary to the wishes of the mayor or influential developers in our city. He was front and center in opposing the Frontier Development riverfront proposal which created more community uproar than any issue in recent memory. In fact, it took months for the city council to be convinced to reject the Frontier Development proposal (and the Murphy Development proposal as well), and David remained steadfast in light of pressure from other city leaders who wanted to keep those proposals in play. That is not being an obstructionist – that is called listening to the voters. And his constituents know this – that is why there are so many campaign signs around town that favor David (approximately 400!). He has proven that he has our backs and will stand up for the Fourth Ward, and he has earned the trust of the residents. And that’s what representative government is all about.

On the flip side, David’s opponent, Laurel Moad, is not being transparent. She has now tried to hijack David’s message of promoting responsible development, protecting river access, and being independent. But the facts speak for themselves:

  • Laurel Moad’s most visible, vocal and aggressive supporter is the owner of Frontier Development. You can see Moad’s campaign signs on property owned by Frontier Development including the Graceful Ordinary, the old Chamber of Commerce building, and the Arcada Theater. The owner of Frontier Development is also ringing doorbells to solicit votes for his favored candidate and labeling David Pietryla as “obstructionist.” That would all be fine except that Frontier Development does quite a bit of business with the city, asks the city for development deals, free land and TIF financing. If that’s not a conflict of interest, that is at least the appearance of impropriety. How can we expect Moad to be independent when this developer is pulling out all the stops to get her elected?

  • Moad has never expressed disapproval of the oversized and inappropriate Frontier Development proposal for the old police station site. That is not a surprise given that the developer of that project is her most ardent supporter.

  • Moad claims to be the only candidate who supports access to the river. Yet the Frontier Development proposal, which she will not condemn, walled off the adjacent community from the river (literally – see the article on this website “Frontier Development Wants to Wall Off the Riverfront”) and replaced an open park-like riverfront area with only a walkway. That is not public access.

  • Moad also has said numerous times during this campaign that there was “misinformation” being peddled about the Frontier Development proposal. She claims the project was only a “concept” that would have been revised and reduced before it was actually built. But for those of us who were actually at the city meeting of the Planning and Development Committee on October 12, 2022, we saw Frontier Development say he intended to build the giant hotel/apartment/restaurant/entertainment complex; he brought his architect from Chicago who told the city council to “just build it”; he brought his finance partner from the Prime Group in Chicago (who claimed he was familiar with St. Charles because he had last visited the city and stayed at Pheasant Run in 1976); and he paid for a hotel study. So when Moad says the community was “misinformed” and “did not understand,” that is simply being tone deaf and tuning out the voters.

  • In connection with the River East Lofts Development, Moad was on the Plan Commission and voted twice in favor of a development plan by Frontier Development that included giving away city-owned green space FREE to the developer and the closure of part of Indiana Avenue. When there was community uproar over the fact that she was a leader of the River Corridor Foundation, which receives financial support from Frontier Development, she recused herself from the third vote in July 2022, a tacit recognition of the conflict of interest in which she found herself.

Based on the facts, it is clear to the CFRD that Laurel Moad is NOT for responsible development. Instead, it is difficult to comprehend how she can ever be independent from Frontier Development when that developer has chosen to openly throw its support behind her. The CFRD are intent on keeping developer money and developer influence out of our elections.

ON APRIL 4, VOTE FOR DAVID PIETRYLA. He is the one Fourth Ward candidate in this election who actually supports responsible development and who will protect the character and soul of St. Charles.

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