by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—A round of applause followed the Village Board’s unanimous approval of the Elburn Station agreement on Monday.
“I was 28 when we started this discussion, and now I’m 58,” Village President Dave Anderson said, referring to the fact that the board and ShoDeen developer Dave Patzelt have been talking about the mixed-use development for some time now.
With nothing but “nits” to pick, according to trustee Bill Grabarek, village attorney Bob Britz said he felt confident that Patzelt would agree to the last-minute corrections.
“None of these are substantive changes,” Britz said. “He (Patzelt) agrees with the agreement as it is.”
The 484-acre development, situated around the Elburn Metra train station, will bring 2,215 total units and commercial development to the village over the next 20 years.
Now that the annexation and development agreement, the zoning ordinance and the establishment of a special services area have been approved, the next step is the construction of the Anderson Road extension and bridge.
The bridge project, which will extend Anderson Road from Route 38 to Keslinger Road and over the Union Pacific railroad tracks, must be completed before ShoDeen can begin construction of Elburn Station.
Kane County Board member Drew Frasz and Department of Transportation Director Tom Rickert were on hand on Monday, and gave a thumbnail sketch of the timeline for the bridge project. According to Frasz, the land acquisition and funding process is almost complete, and in the next few months they will be putting together bid packages.
“Our number-one goal is to move earth, hopefully by Sept. 1,” he said.
Construction will begin in 2014, and could be done by late 2014 or early 2015.
“We’re excited,” Frasz said. “Let the dirt fly.”
The road and bridge project was in jeopardy last October, due to the board’s vote to table discussion regarding the development. Frasz and Rickert had been concerned that they could lose the $22 million in federal, state and local funding for the bridge.
Grabarek made the motion to table the discussion, because he was not comfortable with a number of the elements of the plan. He, trustee Jeff Walter and other board members have since brought forward a number of issues. Walter said he has kept track of concerns that residents have brought forward, and has tried to address them.
Changes to the plan within the last few months include limiting the number of multi-family units to 400—plus up to an additional 200 as long as they are designated as senior housing—and requirements for completion of public improvements within the development.
In addition, ShoDeen agreed to share in the cost of a pedestrian bridge that will connect the development with the current downtown area.
The changes remaining on Monday night were minor, but still, Grabarek continued to seek clarification.
Frasz said that he had nothing but admiration for Grabarek and the rest of the board.
“This is the biggest decision that the board will make in decades,” he said. “This will be Bill’s legacy; that it will be done right.”
Patzelt said he is pleased that the Village Board voted for the development, and he looks forward to partnering with the village on the Elburn Station development.
“Now the work begins,” he said.