by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—A small crowd at the Elburn Village Board meeting on Monday voiced their concerns about the annexation and planned development agreement between the village and Elburn Station.
The hearing has been open for two months, and prior to Monday, only one person has contributed their opinion. The hearing will remain open and will be continued at the Aug. 6 meeting.
“We’re doing the best we can, but we need your input,” Village President Dave Anderson told the crowd. “The responsibility is on all of us.”
Four people spoke and asked questions of the board. All were opposed to the development. Their concerns centered on the idea that, with businesses missing in downtown, foreclosures abounding in Blackberry Creek and a good portion of the Blackberry Creek subdivision still undeveloped, there was no value in bringing in a large development.
“Do we want to do it again (bring in a development) with fresh property that hasn’t been touched?” one speaker asked.
Others emphasized that the plan to essentially double the population of Elburn and bring in 400 apartment units doesn’t fit with the rural character of the community.
“Is it really in the best interest of the community? There’ll be more people, more traffic, more pedestrians. Where does it add up? I would plead with the board to consider what the people of Elburn want. If it were put to a vote, (it wouldn’t pass),” Elburn resident Ron Rosecky said.
While it is close to being too late to put the question of the development on the ballot in November, board members expressed their frustration that, even though a copy of the plan is available at Village Hall and at the public library, they have received very little feedback.
“In an Elburn Herald poll, the largest response to the question (of whether the public approved of the Elburn Station development) is 52 people,” Anderson said.
Another concern expressed was the $400,000 fee that the village must pay if the Anderson Road extension is approved.
“Do we have that budgeted for next year?” Elburn resident Jim Peterson asked. “It’s asking a lot of citizens to come up with that.”
Village Administrator Erin Willrett said that the money is there. It was collected in a transportation impact fee from the Blackberry Creek subdivision.
Some asked for clarification about the connection between the Anderson Road project and Elburn Station. Anderson explained that Anderson Road is a county project, not a village project. Kane County must first secure a right of way from ShoDeen in order to build the bridge. Whether ShoDeen will do that is not known because, Anderson said, the developer is in negotiations with the county at this time.
“I feel we need this bridge in the village of Elburn more than we need anything. Not everyone is negative,” trustee Jerry Schmidt said. “Are we postponing this project (by not approving the annexation agreement now)? I’m worried we’re going to lose the bridge. Without the bridge, I don’t see how we can get more development.”
Anderson replied that the village has no influence over whether the bridge is built. Trustee Bill Graberek said that the county could take the land by eminent domain. He also said that Dave Patzelt of ShoDeen said in a public meeting that ShoDeen was not going to sign over the land unless there was an annexation agreement.
“I personally won’t vote just to get the land without feeling totally comfortable with the development,” Grabarek said.
Trustee Jeff Walter agreed that the board can only do what’s right for the village.
“If it takes longer, then that’s what it takes,” Walter said.
Anderson encouraged the public to call or email him or Willrett with any questions they might have concerning the proposed plan.
“Everybody on this board has spent hours and hours busting our stones to protect this village,” Anderson said. “What better time to look at this when we’re not under the gun. We’re setting up ordinances and policies for future development.”