by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—Before the Elburn Village Board can vote on the preliminary plan for Elburn Station, it needs more specifics and more discussion. The item on the agenda was tabled until later in February.
Members of the public took the opportunity to voice their opposition to the ShoDeen development at the meeting on Monday. They addressed concerns that the development is not in the best interest of the community; that with the economy in the shape it is in and hundreds of houses for sale, another Mill Creek is not what residents in Elburn want. They asked the board to consider the worst-case scenario, look carefully at the pros and cons and listen to the citizens, who they say the majority of whom do not want this development.
Village President Dave Anderson responded that with all the real estate still available, a developer would move cautiously.
“Realistically, if you’re a developer, you’re not going to build tomorrow. But wouldn’t you want to get your ducks in a row in advance (of the economy improving)?” Anderson said.
As the board discussed options for utility oversizing that would be part of the language of the annexation agreement, board member Bill Grabarek questioned the timeliness of the project itself and the actual cost to the village.
“Have we looked at the true cost? It comes back to the argument of the bridge: are we being held hostage for the bridge to be built?” Grabarek asked. “I don’t like the plan; I don’t like the process. There are other approaches to the bridge.”
He suggested that ShoDeen would not give the county the right of way to the developer’s property unless a sufficient number of rooftops could be built to turn a profit. He said another option the board should consider is to not agree to the plan and let the county take its right of eminent domain. In other words, wait for the bridge to be built and then consider development.
“My direction is that we put everything on hold until the bridge gets built,” Grabarek said. “It’s a great plan, guys, but come back when our Comprehensive Plan is in place. The most logical course for us as a Village Board is to slow down. We’re not ready for an annexation agreement. If everything is shelved until the bridge is built, what is the harm? What could we be losing over the next two years? I don’t know what ShoDeen is bringing to the village other than rooftops. With residential, we’re losing money.”
ShoDeen representative Dave Patzelt responded that the board had not seen the entire plan and that the simple issue of infrastructure options needed for the annexation agreement had been blown out of proportion. Putting in sanitary sewer systems and water mains when the bridge is being constructed is far more cost effective than putting them in later.
Grabarek also pointed out that in 10 years the cost to maintain the Anderson Road and bridge would come back to the village. Anderson verified that the county would build the bridge due to their greater expertise, and that the village would take on the costs after it was built.
“It was a county project to get the bridge built, and after that it becomes a village bridge and road,” Anderson said.