Annexation hearing closed

By on September 6, 2012

by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—After hearing a final comment and letter from supporters of the Elburn Station plan, the Elburn Village Board on Tuesday voted to close the public hearing that has been open since May.

Bill Grabarek was the sole trustee to vote against closing it.

Grabarek raised several issues with the development, the first in light of recent news that the Prairie Parkway project is on hold indefinitely and that a full interchange is in the works at Route 47 and I-88.

“Route 47 in the coming years will become a substantial truck route with a substantial amount of traffic over Anderson Road Bridge. We (the village) take over care of the bridge after one year. We haven’t looked at the costs of the care and maintanence,” Grabarek said. “It’s going to be a semi route, with trucks coming off I-88 to get up to I-90. They are going to be coming through town. We’re taking the (financial) load of all the truck traffic.”

Grabarek also pointed out a concern for the number of rental units proposed by Sho-Deen. He referenced the 2010 Census that showed a ratio of owner-occupied properties to renter-occupied properties as 10:1. He said the Sho-Deen ratio of owner to renter properties was closer to 1:1.

“As a matter of policy, as a matter of planning, we should consider more carefully the ratio of owner-occupied to renter-occupied units. We haven’t really talked about this, about what is our vision for Elburn and its growth. We need to look at development not just as rooftops, but as what we want to become in the future. Sho-Deen originally came in with mainly condos. Now that’s shifted to approximately half rental units. Our job here as elected officials is to look at what the village will be down the road,” Grabarek said.

He emphasized that the board should think about whether Elburn can absorb over 1,000 rental units. He asked the board not to approve any development until after the Anderson Bridge is built.

“Let’s slow down, let’s table it, let’s have the bridge built and then talk development. It’s our town, and we can’t just grab development in a precipitous way. (Elburn Station talks) have been percolating for years, and every year it’s changed. Now it’s to apartments and something lesser (than originally proposed). And we’re accepting something lesser. I can’t in good conscious do that,” Grabarek said. “Are we really producing something better, or just bigger?”

Trustee Jerry Schmidt expressed support of the annexation, saying that truck traffic can be controlled and that renters are not necessarily a problem.

“Things are changing. We need to figure out how can we attract young people to the village. I’ve been pro-growth since I moved out here,” Schmidt said.

Trustee Jeff Walter said that his opinion and understanding of the numbers has not changed since he voted against the project in a preliminary vote. He is concerned with the density of the housing and with the number of rental units.

Walter, however, disagreed with Grabarek and Village President Dave Anderson on whether the impact fees are adequate to provide the village with income to off-set development.

“Department heads (at Kaneland School District) put pencil to paper and came up with a number,” Walter said.

Grabarek calls the fee of $25 per unit ear-marked for the pedestrian and bike path “insignificant,” and that the village will end up coming up with the money to build the path or risk splitting the newer and older parts of town.

“How much are we biting off to get rooftops? How meaningful is the money we get from Sho-Deen? The question is, what’s in it for us?” Grabarek said.

“This board downgraded the (original impact fees), and that’s okay, but I think we’re cutting off our noses to spite our face,” Dave Anderson said.

Trustee Ken Anderson cited his work with Kane County as proving that the economy and the markets can change what is initially negotiated with developers.

“It’s not a static piece of paper that won’t change. We have to go by how can we do the best with the information we have,” Ken Anderson said.

A vote may be taken at the Sept. 17 meeting.

“Development is necessary We welcome new people, but also I don’t want to burden the existing community with new folks coming in. I want the bridge done for the existing residents and central Kane County,” Dave Anderson said. “We will make our decision on the best facts and information that we have at the time.”

About Lynn Meredith

2 Comments

  1. OneWhoCares

    September 10, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    “Development is necessary We welcome new people, but also I don’t want to burden the existing community with new folks coming in. I want the bridge done for the existing residents and central Kane County,” Dave Anderson said. “We will make our decision on the best facts and information that we have at the time.”

    Well said ! The fact is the bridge WILL be build if Elburn likes it or not.The land needed will be taken by Kane county for the reason the bridge was,and IS a kane county project.The decision of the future section 8 housing could happen if the rentals are built.
    The people of Elburn flocked the May meeting and were against the build out around the metra station untill the Blackberry division has some sort of a direction to be finished.

    To tell you the truth let Elburn Station development. Sho-Deen representative Dave Patzelt go back to the rat pack with a fee of $12,000.00 per unit or build Elburn a new school with the project. If they don’t like it tell them to go pound sand and try to build somewhere else and let Kane County take the land that is required for the Anderson road overpass by eminent domain.Sure it may cost Elburn money,but a lot less if Sho-Deen get its way. Dang Get Sho-Deen to work of finishing the South side of Kesslienger road. You know that Blackberry thing that was worked out into bankruptcy.
    Then too the infrastructure of our waste water can’t handle what Sho-Deen wants and who’s going to flip the bill…Yes you Elburn Tax Payer’s will prolly add another 10 to 20% onto your city bills.
    Most people in Elburn DON’T WANT Sho-Deen’s Greed driven project to upset our fragile town so Sho-Deen Go somewhere else and will let the county deal with the Anderson Road extension that we were promised 6 years ago

  2. GM

    September 15, 2012 at 5:43 AM

    Based on the recent article in another local county newspaper I would think that any village official that even considers this development should be replaced.
    It was this same borrow from Peter to pay Paul business model that killed B&B when the building boom slowed.

    Let the county handle the bridge and related property issues, but hand Shodeen their walking papers on this development just as other villages are doing.

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