Board attempts consensus on Elburn Station change recommendations
by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—The Elburn Station discussion continued during the Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, with trustees attempting to come to some agreement on a counter-offer to ShoDeen developer Dave Patzelt that would be more in line with how the trustees envision the development.
The trustees’ major concerns include the density of the development, especially the ratio of multi-family housing and rental units to single-family dwellings; the need for additional developer funding to support a pedestrian and bike bridge; and controls to prevent additional areas of the development from being started until the initial phases are built out.
Although the initial discussion of density and type of dwelling units focused on comparing the plan to the current make-up of the village, trustee Ken Anderson suggested that because this is a transit-oriented development, by its nature it will have more density, more mixed use, more townhomes and more rental units.
Anderson said that if the village targeted multi-family housing within Elburn Station at 20 percent of the total of 2,200 units, that number would translate to 400 units, as opposed to the current 800 in the plan.
Trustee Bill Grabarek voiced his concern that the new development could easily overwhelm the current culture of Elburn.
“There’s controlled and carefully managed growth, not cancerous growth,” he said.
Trustee Jerry Schmidt was on the other side of the spectrum, stating his frustration with how long the process was taking.
“It’s been 20 years that we’ve been talking about this. It’s time to move,” he said.
Schmidt was referring to a timeline handed out to trustees during the meeting. The document showed the initial plan for the Anderson Road extension appearing in the 1993 Elburn Land Use Plan.
Kane County Transportation Director Tom Rickert and Kane County Board representative Drew Frasz attended the meeting to provide an update on where things stood on the Anderson Road extension and bridge project.
“The project’s generally on hold since the village’s vote in October (to table discussions regarding the Elburn Station development),” Rickert said. “We’re in a ‘wait and see’ mode while we try to figure out if there’s an opportunity to get back into the process.”
The construction of the Anderson Road extension and bridge and the build-out of the Elburn Station development are each dependent upon the other. ShoDeen owns the property that is needed for the project’s right-of-way, and the annexation agreement states that if the Anderson Road project is not awarded, the annexation and development agreement becomes null and void.
When one of the trustees asked Rickert and Frasz about the possibility of simply taking the property through eminent domain, Frasz said that was really not an option.
“It’s definitely a choice of last resort. We’d be three-to-four years in the process and we’d lose the federal funding,” he said “All of a sudden, you lose $10 million in funding. It pretty much blows the deal up.”
Rickert said the funding for the Anderson Road project is on hold for now, but noted that he couldn’t guarantee how long it will remain that way as long as the development isn’t moving forward.
“We’ve got the troops massed at the border and ready to charge, but there’s a lot of details still to work out,” Frasz said. “We can’t move forward until we get the green light from the village.”
Village President Dave Anderson asked that the trustees get him their ideas by the end of the week so the village can take something back to the developer.
Elburn Station/Anderson Road Background
1993: Elburn Land Use Plan outlines Anderson Road
1999: The village adopts a resolution for Metra and
2000: Plan for Elburn Metra Station adopted;
Metra receives authorization
2002: Kane County Board lists Anderson Road
in its budget
2004: Anderson Road outlined in Kane County’s
2030 transportation plan
2005: Metra builds piers and crash walls for overpass;
Shodeen begins discussions with Elburn staff
on Elburn Station
2006: Phase I engineering begins on Anderson Road
2008: Concept Plan for Elburn Station approved by Elburn
Plan Commission and Village Board
2009: Phase II engineering begins on Anderson Road
2010: Shodeen removes northern portion of Elburn
Station project (north of Route 38) from plan; Plan
Commission votes not to recommend concept plan
to Village Board for approval
2010: Village Board tables vote on concept plan;
village staff begins working with stakeholders
(fire, school, library, county, village departments) to
get input on the plan
2011: Staff/developer modifies concept plan based
on stakeholder, Village Board and
Plan Commission feedback