Tag Archives: Dave Patzelt

Builders in Blackberry Creek obtain reduction in fees

Village sees growth picking up
ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board on Monday approved a reduction in impact fees that several builders had requested for lots within the Blackberry Creek subdivision.

The Village Board earlier this year approved the fee reduction for Blackberry Creek back to 2006 levels, as a way to put the subdivision on equal footing with Shodeen’s Elburn Station development. The board retained the right to approve each request individually.

The fees are meant to cover police, public works, fire, ambulance and library services until the first property taxes for each home are paid. The lag time is between 12 and 18 months.

Shodeen developer Dave Patzelt was among those requesting the reduction in fees. Patzelt has purchased one lot in Blackberry Creek, and is in the process of buying three more.

Joe Segobiano, representing Hudson Burnam and Steve Atchison of Orleans Homes, requested the fee reduction for 45 lots. Hudson Burnam currently owns the lots, and Orleans Homes is scheduled to close on them this week, Elburn Building Commissioner Tom Brennan said.

Devin Dunn of Old Oak Homes requested the reduction in fees for one lot on Dodson Avenue.

“It’s nice to see activity out there,” Brennan said. “It’s good to hear the sounds of construction.”

Village President Dave Anderson agreed.

“My guess is that, after the beginning of the year, we’ll see even more,” he said.

Dave Anderson, Village President

Officials celebrate Anderson bridge groundbreaking

ELBURN—Decades in the planning, construction is set to begin on the Anderson Road bridge as public officials put shovels in the ground on Monday.

The shovels symbolized breaking ground on the project that will provide an overpass to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. Officials from all levels of government, from village to federal, gathered at the construction site near the intersection of Anderson Road and Prairie Valley Street in Elburn for Monday’s ceremony.

Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen said reaching this point in the project is the result of hard work, cooperation, collaboration and compromise, along with a heavy dose of federal, county and state funding.

The project will extend Anderson Road, which currently ends at Prairie Valley Street, to Keslinger Road to the south, as well as build the bridge, which will provide an alternate to crossing the railroad tracks on Route 47 through Elburn.

Elburn Village President Dave Anderson, Lauzen, Kane County Board member/Transportation Committee Chair Drew Frasz and Kane County engineer Carl Shoedel were among those who spoke at the event.

State Rep. Kay Hatcher, ShoDeen Inc. president Dave Patzelt, Kaneland School District Superintendent Jeff Schuler and Elburn trustee Bill Grabarek were among those in attendance.

Elburn Village President Dave Anderson said he could remember when there were no bridges over what was then the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad. There was just a rickety old bridge over Harley Road, he said.

The progress that the Anderson Road bridge exemplifies is the result of the foresight and cooperation of governmental partners, Anderson said.

Kane County Engineer Carl Shoedel earned a round of applause when he said that, while happy to see this progress, he will be even more excited when the road and the bridge is open to traffic, and the project is completed on time and under budget.

Martam Construction, Inc., together with Herlihy Mid-Continent Company, was awarded its $14.4 million bid on the project, approximately 25 percent less than the engineer’s original project estimate of $19.8 million.

Breaking ground this fall will give it time to freeze and thaw throughout the winter, leaving it ready for construction to begin by spring, Frasz said. He anticipates the project to be completed by late 2014 or early spring 2015.

Frasz said that there was a time in the past year when completion of the project was in question. Patzelt owned the property necessary for the right-of-way for the bridge, and annexation of this land for ShoDeen’s Elburn Station development was a prerequisite to the construction of the bridge.

But Frasz said that in the end, Patzelt and the village were able to come to an agreement on the development. He credited village trustees, and Grabarek in particular, for their careful consideration of the details of the project.

Anderson extolled the positive outcomes that will take place as a result of the bridge, including increased connectivity and accessibility to the Metra station, the industrial park and the downtown area, as well as the safety and welfare of the people within the community.

Anderson said that when the bridge is finished, a bike and pedestrian pathway will provide access to county forest preserves Elburn Woods and Johnson’s Mound.

He reflected that the project had involved generations of elected officials.

“It was all of us,” Anderson said, mentioning the Kane County Board, the Transportation Committee with Frasz’s leadership and Jan Carlson before him, former Elburn Village President Jim Willey, as well as former Speaker of the U.S. House Dennis Hastert, who brought the federal dollars home to Kane County.

“This was started before us,” Anderson said. “We were fortunate enough to be a part of it.”

The build-out of the Elburn Station development will begin once the bridge has been completed.

“The bridge will provide for the efficient movement of traffic, and will be a catalyst for positive development of the entire region,” Anderson said.

Twenty years from now, we’ll be astounded how much activity and how much traffic this bridge will have,” he added.


Photos by Patti Wilk

Board unanimously approves Elburn Station

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.

Elburn Station vote set for March 18

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Negotiations on the Elburn Station development are down to the details, and a new date of Monday, March 18, has been set for a Village Board vote regarding the final agreement.

The board will meet on Monday, March 4, but trustee Jerry Schmidt will be absent.

The board came back on Monday with a few modifications to the agreements Village President Dave Anderson, ShoDeen developer Dave Patzelt and attorneys hammered out on Friday.

At trustee Jeff Walter’s suggestion, Village Attorney Bob Britz added the requirement that the single-family housing would be the first to be built.

“My fear is that the apartments will get built first, and apartments cost (the village) more than single-family housing,” Walter said.

Trustee Bill Grabarek said the pedestrian bridge will cost significantly more than the $900,000 estimate Patzelt used to determine his share of the cost, because in order to obtain grant money, it will need to be Americans with Disabilities Act-approved. Although several other trustees agreed with that assessment, Anderson said that was the number they had been using, and the board had agreed to it.

Grabarek also said he was still uncomfortable with sharing any grant money for the pedestrian bridge with the developer, but Anderson said that the way it was set up was a better deal than giving up the village’s share of the recapture fees from future developers, and the $200 per housing unit impact fee.

“I think, your way, the village loses,” Anderson said. “Any grant money over $900,000 goes to pay for the bridge. I’m on that bandwagon.”

Trustee Ethan Hastert said he agreed with Anderson.

“We share everything above $900,000. That’s a better deal,” he said.

Other board members went along with Grabarek’s suggestion of changing the requirement that the pedestrian bridge be finished within three years of completion of the commercial part of the development or the money would go back to ShoDeen. Grabarek said that he would be more comfortable with three years to obtain the contract for the bridge.

However, since the pedestrian bridge will link the new development to the current downtown area, board members said it was in everybody’s best interest to get the bridge built as soon as possible. Anderson and Kane County Board member Drew Frasz have each reached out to local legislators for assistance in obtaining funding for the bridge.

The final total number of housing units for the ShoDeen development around the Elburn train station is set at 2,215, a reduction of 60 from the most recent number of 2,275. The board set a limit on multi-family and/or rental units at 400, with up to an additional 200 allowed, as long those were targeted for residents 55 years and older. The plan will also include mixed use and commercial development.

The Village Board had tabled discussions on the development in October 2012, when several trustees said they were not happy with some parts of the plan. Construction on the Anderson Road bridge has also been on hold since then, as ShoDeen owns the land needed for the bridge’s right of way, and the annexation agreement for the Elburn Station is tied to ShoDeen’s negotiations with Kane County for the bridge.

Frasz, who attended the meeting, said that a few more weeks likely wouldn’t put the federal funding for the bridge in jeopardy.

“Weeks, no. Months, yes,” he said.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, Elburn resident Walter Geisler made a plea to the board to put the brakes on the approval process.

“I love Elburn. I just don’t want it to get out of control,” Geisler said. “It’s a massive project and we can’t even plow our streets. I’m afraid for my kids. They’ll be taxed out of living in Elburn.”

Geisler said that he wanted to bring back the idea of having a public referendum in which the residents could vote on whether or not they want the Elburn Station.

Anderson said he would be happy to have a referendum, but only if everyone who voted had read all of the documents that he and the board members have read. He pointed to the large pile of papers in front of him.

“You have to be educated to make an educated decision,” he said. “We’ll make our decision based on the facts. Everybody here (on the board) is a taxpayer. We were elected to make these decisions.”

Fred Houdek, the next citizen to speak said that he had a great deal of faith in the leaders of the village to make good decisions.

“Let’s get ‘er done,” Houdek said. “You’re down to getting your I’s dotted and your T’s crossed.”

Britz reminded the board that it needs a two-thirds vote, or a total of five board members, to approve the annexation agreement.

“I’ll be there, if they have to carry me here on a stretcher,” Schmidt said.

Village Board to vote on Elburn Station next week

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Elburn Village Board trustees on Tuesday made some final tweaks to changes to the plan they are requesting from Elburn Station developer Dave Patzelt, setting the stage for a vote on the development at a meeting on Monday, Feb. 25. Village President Dave Anderson has designated a special board meeting to address the development’s approval.

Patzelt last week agreed to share the cost of the pedestrian bridge linking Elburn Station to the current downtown area, but said he would contribute half the amount up to a maximum of $450,000, not $500,000. He also wanted to impose a three-year limit on construction of the bridge, or the money would come back to him.

Village trustee Bill Grabarek said that if the village were to build a pedestrian bridge that was ADA-approved, it would cost more than Patzelt’s estimate of $900,000. He also thought the three-year restriction was too limiting.

“This should be a developer contribution, period,” Grabarek said. “Forget the three years.”

Anderson said he wasn’t concerned about the three-year time-frame.

“It’s a village project, and quicker we can get it done on our end, the better,” he said.

Village attorney Bob Britz suggested that the village require Patzelt to set aside bonds for his portion of the bridge at the beginning of phase six, or the commercial area.

Grabarek also was not in favor of the village sharing any grant money with the developer to help pay for the bridge.

“We keep the grant money; he keeps the impact fee,” he said. “It’s cleaner that way.”

Patzelt also agreed to limit the number of rental units from 800 to 400, with up to an additional 200, given they are targeted for people ages 55 and over. The total possible rental units would be limited to 600.

The Village Board on Tuesday clarified that the number of total housing units would have a net decrease of 200, down from 2,275 to 2,075.

The final modification the board wanted was the requirement that 85 percent of the units and 100 percent of public improvements of one phase be completed before moving onto the next one. Patzelt agreed to 80 percent completion of the public improvements, and said that the commercial phase should be an exception.

“We’re close,” Anderson said on Wednesday. “We’ve got a head of steam. Let’s not throw a monkey wrench into it now. The county’s looking over our shoulder.”

The construction of the Anderson Road Bridge, a Kane County project with federal and state funding, is linked to the Elburn Station development. County officials have expressed concerns that the funding would go away if the project became stalled.

Anderson, Britz and Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven are set to meet with Patzelt and his attorney on Friday morning to finalize the agreement. The board will then vote on the agreement on Monday evening.

Village close to agreement on Elburn Station

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—ShoDeen developer Dave Patzelt attended the Village Board Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday to respond to the board’s requests for changes to his plan regarding the Elburn Station development.

Village trustees had asked for three modifications to the plan, including reducing the number of multi-family units within the development from 800 to 400, plus up to an additional 200, given that they are designated as age-restricted or senior housing; paying for half of the cost of a pedestrian bridge linking the development with the current downtown area of Elburn; and requiring 85 percent completion of the housing units and 100 percent of the public improvements and infrastructure of one phase before moving on to the next phase of the development.

Village President Dave Anderson spoke with Patzelt within the past week to outline the changes the board requested. Patzelt came back to the board with mark-ups to the annexation agreement, drawn up in August 2012, addressing their issues.

As Patzelt addressed each item, he described his response as “meeting the board square on” or “pretty straightforward.”

Patzelt said he would limit the number of rental units to 400, with up to an additional 200 more of age-targeted housing to 55 years and older, for a total of 600 rental units.

He agreed to share in the cost of the pedestrian bridge, but said he would pay half of the amount remaining after any potential grant money obtained had been applied to the cost.

“We’re partners; we’re in this together,” he said. “We should share in being successful with obtaining grant money.”

He will pay $200 per housing unit toward the total amount, with the remainder due once the mixed use phase of the development has been completed.

Patzelt said he wanted to add the restriction that, if the village does not build the bridge within three years of the completion of phase six, the money will return to him.

The final restriction addressed issues that the Blackberry Creek subdivision brought up to the village regarding improvements left undone when B&B Enterprises, Inc. walked away from the development. Patzelt agreed to 80 percent
completion of public improvements of one phase prior to construction on a subsequent phase of the development, but said he wanted to exclude commercial development from that restriction.

Board members said they wanted a chance to review the changes before making any decisions. Trustee Jeff Walter was not present at Monday’s meeting, and will not attend the board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 19. As a result, Village President Dave Anderson scheduled a special board meeting for the following Monday, Feb. 25. The Elburn Station vote is expected to take place at that time.

Village Board reaches consensus on Elburn Station plan changes

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Village trustees on Monday came to an agreement on several Elburn Station development items to bring back to ShoDeen developer Dave Patzelt.

The Village Board will ask ShoDeen to pay for half the cost of a pedestrian bridge that will link the development to the main part of the village. With an estimate of $1 million to build the walk way, the cost to ShoDeen would be $500,000. The payment of this amount would be linked to the mixed-use phase to ensure accessibility to the new commercial development.

Although ShoDeen would be asked to pay half of the cost up front, the developer would be able to recapture some of that amount from future developers, who would also benefit from the pedestrian bridge.

Board members also want to add a stipulation in the annexation agreement with ShoDeen, which would require 85 percent completion of the housing units in one phase before moving on to the next phase of the development. In addition, the public improvements and infrastructure would need to be 100 percent complete before beginning the second phase.

Trustees settled on 400 as an acceptable number for multi-family units, as opposed to the current 800 proposed by ShoDeen. Up to an additional 200 could be included, as long as they are identified as age-restricted or senior housing. Also, the single-family home section would need to be completed prior to any multi-family housing.

According to Village President Dave Anderson, most board members have a comfort level with the items discussed and the direction the village is taking.

Anderson said he will call and potentially meet with Patzelt this week to walk him through the modifications outlined by the board. Anderson will then invite him to the Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, Feb. 11, so Patzelt can discuss the changes with board members and give his reaction to the counterproposals.

Village trustees renew Elburn Station development discussion

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Elburn Village Board members on Monday renewed discussions regarding the Elburn Station development.

Village trustees identified their main sticking points with ShoDeen and the development plan. They discussed ways to address concerns that include the density of the development, the ratio of rental units to overall housing, inadequate developer funding toward construction of a footbridge and concerns about the financial viability of the developer.

Although the village still has additional information to gather, its goal is to go back to ShoDeen principal Dave Patzelt with recommendations.

Trustee Ethan Hastert started out the conversation, as he had been the one to suggest they come back to discuss their concerns and how best to deal with them.

“ShoDeen owns that property,” Hastert said. “It makes sense for the village to get the best possible development out of the developer.”

Hastert said he thought there should be a published number of average rental units for a town the size of Elburn, and asked village staff to do the research on the topic.

The current plan for the Elburn Station calls for 800 rental units, many of which had been initially designated as condominiums. This number would create a ratio of 36 percent rental units within the development. The village is currently 84.5 percent owner-occupied and 15.4 percent rental units.

Trustee Bill Grabarek said that he still had concerns about ShoDeen’s financial health, referring back to the company’s loan default on the Tanna Farms Golf Course.

Although Village President Dave Anderson said that the bankers would make that call by deciding whether or not to bond the developer, other trustees were not satisfied with that solution.

Trustee Jeff Walter said he did not want to go through another four-year process to get the promised improvements completed. Four years is how long it took to obtain a response from the bankers holding the bonds on the Blackberry Creek Subdivision regarding improvements left undone by B&B. Elburn has yet to receive that money.

Other trustees suggested that they might place some restrictions on the developers to keep them from starting another phase of the development until the current phase requirements are completed.

“Maybe we can require that the improvements are done, such as roads finished, infrastructure completed, before more units are built,” trustee Ken Anderson said.

Grabarek said he would be happier if some of the rental units were designated as senior housing. He said he would like to see a variety of housing options that would be appropriate for the entire lifetime of a resident “from cradle to grave.”

Although most of the discussion centered around board members’ concerns about the plan, trustee Jerry Schmidt had a different perspective on the matter.

“I have a different mindset than you,” he said. “We need that bridge. The hours that are wasted out here on Route 47 (waiting for a train); we’ve got to get Elburn jump-started.”

The Anderson Road extension and bridge has been tied to the Elburn Station development, with ShoDeen the owner of the property needed for the right-of-way. The extension would be a 2-mile bypass road, around Route 47 through Elburn, that would extend Anderson Road from Keslinger Road to Route 38 and provide a bridge over the railroad tracks.

Approximately $18 million in federal funding was set aside in a 2005 transportation bill to build the bridge, and Kane County officials made building the bridge a priority for the region, providing $3 million of the funding, as well. The Elburn Village Board in October decided to table the vote on Shodeen’s development until the bridge is built.

Schmidt said he wondered how long the federal dollars set aside for the Anderson Road and bridge construction would still be there. Village president Dave Anderson said he would ask someone from the Kane County Transportation Department to come out and give them some input.

The discussion will continue at the Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, Jan. 14. Anderson said the earliest the board could vote on its recommendations would be at the board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

Elburn tables ShoDeen development

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Elburn Village President Dave Anderson on Monday broke a 3-3 tie, tabling the Elburn Station development.

Trustee Bill Grabarek reiterated his concerns about the development, including financial issues raised by the foreclosure of developer ShoDeen’s Tanna Farms Golf Course in Geneva, and the increased number of rental units in the plan.

The current plan calls for 800 rental units, many of which had been designated as condominiums in the initial plan.

Grabarek said that approving the Elburn Station development in light of the golf course issue would be a “moral hazard” for Elburn, and the village could possibly end up in a situation similar to the one in which it currently finds itself with Blackberry Creek. The village is currently in discussions with Blackberry Creek developer B&B Enterprise’s bond company in an attempt to complete infrastructure improvements left undone by B&B.

Grabarek said he thought the rental unit to owner-occupied homes ratio was “out of place” in Elburn. The village is currently 84.5 percent owner-occupied and 15.4 percent rental units. The development would have a ratio of 36 percent rental units.

Grabarek made a motion to table the vote on the Elburn Station development until the Anderson Road Bridge was built. Trustees Jeff Walter and Dave Gualdoni voted with Grabarek; trustees Ken Anderson, Ethan Hastert and Jerry Schmidt voted against tabling it. Village President Dave Anderson added his vote to break the tie, tabling the vote.

“We were hoping to be moving dirt by now (on the Anderson Road bridge),” Kane County Board member Drew Frasz said. “They’re shovel ready.”

The fate of the project to extend Anderson Road from Route 38 to Keslinger Road and build a bridge over the railroad tracks has been connected to the approval of the Elburn Station development.

Grabarek stated that he was not happy about the Anderson Road project being held “hostage” by the development. Anderson Road was to be used as a bypass for Route 47, diverting truck traffic around Main Street in Elburn.

The right-of-way property to the bridge is owned by ShoDeen. Kane County has agreed to pay $3 million of the $22 million project, with the majority of the remaining amount coming from federal and state funding.

Frasz said that the county would have to “pick up the pieces” and “go back to square one” on the plan for the Anderson Road bridge. He added that, should the project go dormant, the federal money might get channeled somewhere else.

“There’s always 10 people waiting for every $1,” Frasz said. “The county will have to look at whether we want to go it alone.”

After the vote, trustee Jeff Walter and some of the other trustees said that they were still interested in considering the development; they just did not want to consider it now or in its current configuration.

After the meeting, Walter said he made the motion to table the vote because there were too many issues he thought should still be negotiated differently with the developer.

In addition to the density of the development and the large number of rental units, Walter said he also would like to see some of the impact fees changed, and to set aside some of the 800 rental units for senior housing.

Trustee Ethan Hastert had some of the same issues with the development, although his vote was not to table it.

“I would rather address the issues than table the vote,” he said.

Hastert said that, although he shared Walter’s opinion about the density of the development, he would rather bring it up now rather than “kick it down the road.”

“Voting it down would’ve been a good thing,” Hastert said. “We would have gone back to the negotiating table. Now, a critical piece of infrastructure (the bridge) is in jeopardy.”

Dave Anderson said that he broke the tie because he wanted to keep the door open for the development to obtain approval.

“I didn’t want to say no, and I didn’t think the annexation agreement would pass. (an annexation agreement needs a super-majority—two-thirds—vote).They still own the land, and we still want to work with them.”

Dave Patzelt, president of ShoDeen, left the meeting without comment.

Public speaks at annexation hearing

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.”

Shodeen development public hearing stays open

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—The Elburn Village Board will keep the public hearing on the Shodeen property annexation open until Monday, June 4. Village President Dave Anderson said he hopes the three remaining issues are resolved by that date.

Anderson said the village is still working with the Kaneland School District on impact fees to arrive at a number acceptable to both the district and Shodeen developer Dave Patzelt.

Officials are also still in negotiations regarding the land/cash fee Shodeen will pay to the schools. The developer has the option to donate land or to pay what the land is worth. At question is the number set by Kane County a several years ago.

That number is $80,000 per acre. However, an appraisal the county obtained of Shodeen’s property for right-of-way to the Anderson Road extension came to $34,000 per acre. Patzelt said he thinks Shodeen’s land/cash payment to the schools should therefore be set at that amount.

The final issue still unresolved is the connection fee for water and sewer. According to Anderson, former village engineer Rempe-Sharpe delivered to the village a factual rationale for the fees. Engineering Enterprises, Inc., the new village engineer, is currently reviewing those fees.

“They’re just double-checking the numbers,” Anderson said.

Anderson said that the School District intergovernmental agreement and the water sewer numbers will probably not make Shodeen developers happy, but he hopes the village and Shodeen can come to an agreement by June 4.

“I know they’re not going to build right away; there’s no market right now,” he said.

However, Anderson said if all parties can get everything set now, things will be in place to begin construction once the economy improves. He said that he and the board just want to get the best deal for the village and the schools.

“I think it’s our duty to protect the interests of the village, as well as the School District,” he said.

Trustee Jerry Schmidt wanted to know if a longer delay on the agreement could impact the funding for the Anderson bridge project.

“It could,” Village Adminstrator Erin Willrett said.

Kane County has agreed to pay $3 million of the $22 million project, with the majority of the remaining amount coming from federal and state funding.

Anderson said that U.S. Senator Dick Durbin told him that Congress has moved consideration of the transportation bill, which includes this funding, to August.

“I think the Anderson Road project is far enough along, but who knows?” he said.

Shodeen said they are moving forward on negotiations on contracts with the county regarding land acquisitions for the road extension and bridge. The land acquisitions and engineering design are the last two remaining steps to be completed before bidding out of the project can take place.

Elburn Station takes 2 steps forward

Village disconnects property; approves agreement with KC
by Susan O’Neill
Elburn—The Elburn Village Board on Monday took two actions to move the Elburn Station development along.

The village disconnected village property that was within the boundaries of the proposed development. In addition, the village approved an intergovernmental agreement with Kane County for the extension of Anderson Road and the bridge.

The Village Board approved the disconnection of approximately 175 acres of previously annexed property north of Keslinger Road, south of the Metra Elburn yard and station, and east of Still Meadows Subdivision. The village and Shodeen Construction President Dave Patzelt had worked out an agreement to disconnect and re-annex these properties so that the entire development would be under the same annexation agreement.

The Village Board on Monday also approved an intergovernmental agreement between the village and the Kane County Department of Transportation. The agreement governs the design and construction of the Anderson Road extension that will run from Route 38 to Keslinger Road, the bridge that will pass over the Metra coach yard, and a pedestrian and bicycle path.

The $22 million project will cost the village $400,000, and because the road and bridge are of regional transportation significance, Kane County has agreed to pick up $3 million of the costs.

The remaining $18.6 million will come from several federal and state funding programs.

The Kane County Board approved the agreement at its board meeting on Tuesday. According to Shodeen developer Dave Patzelt, the Illinois Department of Transportation will bid out the project. Now that the intergovernmental agreement has been approved by both parties, the land acquisition and the engineering design are the two final steps that need to be completed before the bidding can take place.

According to Kane County Department of Transportation Director Carl Schoedel, the engineering is 95 percent complete and the property acquisitions should be completed within the next month or so. Schoedel said that the county’s goal is to open bids in the late summer or early fall, and with the best case scenario, to begin construction in October.

School impact fee agreement delayed

Elburn tweaks agreement, pushing final vote
by Susan O’Neill
Elburn—The Elburn Village Board made further modifications to the intergovernmental agreement between the village and the Kaneland School District regarding fees for the Elburn Station development, pushing the vote out possibly another two weeks.

The Kaneland School Board is scheduled to vote on the agreement at its next regularly scheduled meeting, on Monday, May 14.

This will be the first time, since the dissolution of a district-wide school impact fee agreement, that a municipality in the School District will directly enter into an impact fee agreement with a developer.

Based on discussions between the developer and the School District, the district has agreed to reduce the land/cash fee from $80,000 per acre down to $34,000 per acre. In addition, the district has waived transition fees, which were originally created to cover school expenses for the additional students from residential development until the property taxes began coming in.

The result of these concessions, including a reduction in the impact fees per household, is a 25 percent reduction in the total amount of fees Shodeen will pay compared to those in the previous district-wide agreement. Under the old agreement, for example, the fees on a four-bedroom home valued at $300,000 in 2011 were $10,000. Fees for the same house would now cost Shodeen an estimated $6,240.

Shodeen Construction President Dave Patzelt said he thinks the fee reductions are fair, based on the current overall weak economy. In addition, he said that the current philosophy is that transportation-oriented developments, such as Elburn Station—where there are denser, more walkable neighborhoods—generate fewer children than subdivisions in which the houses are more spread out and have larger yards.

The board on Monday agreed to change the term of the agreement to coincide with the length of the annexation agreement, a time-frame of 20 years, and that it will begin when the first building permit is issued.

In addition, Patzelt asked that the board include in the agreement the option to modify the current fees if, in the future, another municipality within the Kaneland School District negotiates lower fees with the district.

Elburn Station vote tabled: discussions continue

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.

Vote on Elburn Station set for Feb. 6

Feb. 2, 2011 Update: This article initially stated the meeting was Jan. 30, 2012, not the correct date of Feb. 6, 2012. The Herald regrets the error.

Board discusses Elburn Station plan prior to vote
by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—The Village Board will have the opportunity to vote whether or not to approve the Elburn Station development at its next meeting on Monday, Feb. 6. Board members discussed the plan at the Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday before agreeing to place it on the agenda.

The first topic of discussion addressed by the representative from ShoDeen Inc., Dave Patzelt, was water and sewer installations for the development that would tie in to existing infrastructure. Village engineers Rempe-Sharpe recommended oversized pipe, the elimination of two existing lift stations and the construction of a new lift station at Pouley Road. This option would accommodate long-term development, including property north of Route 38 and east and west of Pouley Road, which is beyond the scope of the current ShoDeen project, and would cost the village approximately $600,000.

“Are we going to spend approximately $600,000 on speculation that those properties would develop?” Trustee Bill Grabarek asked. “To consider that in the current economy, how would we finance that?”

Village engineers responded that it would be cheaper to do all the work now rather than piece by piece, and that impact fees from future development could pay for the oversized pipes.

“If the build-out for (the areas not included in ShoDeen’s plan) is 25 years or more, I don’t see the payback (for fronting the costs now),” Trustee Jeff Walter said.

The board agreed that the village does not have the funds at this time to go with the more expensive, long-term option. They agreed that an option that eliminated only one lift station and did not install the over-sized pipes was a better choice at a cost to the village of $261,000.

The next topic of discussion clarified how the Anderson Road project and the ShoDeen development are interwoven. When dirt is being moved to build the bridge, that is the time to create the storm water ponds, put in water mains, sewer, utility sleeves and an access road to the Metra station.

Patzelt said that ShoDeen does not have a signed agreement with Kane County Department of Transportation (KDOT), and that if the bridge does not get built, then ShoDeen would get back the right of way it had granted the county and would change the plans for the development quite substantially.

“We don’t want this plan (the one currently being considered) if we don’t have Anderson Road. We only want this plan if we have Anderson Road,” Patzelt said.

The county is waiting for federal money to come through before they start the bridge work. Grabarek suggested that without federal funds, the bridge by necessity would be much smaller, like other local bridges. He made the comparison between a substantial bridge paid for with federal funds, like the one at Peck Road, with a smaller bridge paid purely with local funds like the one on Harley Road. He suggested that the board make the development plan contingent on a Peck Road-type bridge being built.

“I think we should consider making (approval of the plan) conditional on the federal money being there,” Grabarek said. “Without the federal money, the benefit to Elburn is tenuous.”

Patzelt agreed that a smaller bridge would necessitate a redesign of the land plan.

“A substantial redesign,” Grabarek added.

Additional topics included questions about materials, phasing, multi-family redesignated as retirement, costs to maintain open spaces, and access along South Street to the Metra parking lot.

Walter pointed out that if South Street is used as the connection to Metra, it will become a cut-through street for the large numbers of commuters coming from DeKalb. The street and intersection with Route 47 would need substantial work to accommodate the increased traffic. Those improvements would be at village expense.

Hammering it out

Following series of meetings, Elburn Planning Commission recommends approval of plan for Elburn Station Development
by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—In the final of three meetings that have been stopped due to time and the volume of remaining people with comments, the Planning Commission voted to recommend that the Village Board approve the preliminary plan for Elburn Station on Tuesday. The recommendation passed in a 6-1 vote, with Paul Molitor voting against the recommendation.

At public hearings in December and on Jan. 4, a number of residents spoke on issues small and large that related to the plan. Some, like Realtor Ron Rosecky, questioned the need for a development at all when so many existing homes go unsold or are in foreclosure. Others questioned specifics such as traffic lights and speed limits in the surrounding roadways. Those concerns that immediately impacted the plan itself were addressed by village staff and engineers, and their findings were brought back to the Planning Commission for consideration at Tuesday’s meeting. The Planning Commission approved the recommendation with the following conditions.

Emergency access road
into Still Meadow subdivision

At the request of residents of Still Meadow in unincorporated Kane County east of the proposed development, Sho-Deen agreed to do away with a plan for a through-street from Elburn Station into the subdivision. The Planning Commission came to a consensus that emergency access to the subdivision would be necessary in the likelihood of the fire station changing its location from downtown Elburn. They envision an access road similar to the one on the east end of Kansas Street that has a gate.

“It’s the testimony of the residents that struck me. I’m all for keeping the village of Elburn connected, but they are in Kane County,” Commissioner Susan Filek said.

Landscape buffer
Still Meadow residents also expressed concern that Elburn Station lots backing up to Still Meadow lots were incongruent in size. They pointed out that their one-acre country lots would be adjacent to quarter-acre city lots. They requested either a landscape buffer or larger lot sizes.

Sho-Deen changed the plan to provide a 30-foot easement off the rear property line of the lots that would be landscaped. The landscape would be maintained by the homeowner and would be part of the building requirement, according to Sho-Deen representative Dave Patzelt. Homeowners would not be able to build a structure on the easement, such as a shed or gazebo.

The commission discussed other issues, but ultimately left them as originally conceived.

Rental units
At the Jan. 4 meeting, Commissioners John Krukoff and Paul Molitor objected to the potential number of rental units in the plan. They argued that the plan does not specify the number of units that would be rental or those that would be for purchase, leaving the possibility that all the mixed-use area could all become rental.

“Is that number appropriate for a small rural town?” Commissioner John Krukoff asked.

Patzelt said that those decisions will be market-driven, based on how and when the economy recovers. He defended rental units as an up-scale trend with retiring baby-boomers who are downsizing. He also predicted many changes to the plan over the 23 to 30 years that it will take to develop the property.

“They (rental properties) will come incrementally. There will be lots of changes to the plan over the years. It’s a relationship (between the village and Sho-Deen),” Patzelt said. “We’ll see what the market brings.”

In the discussion on Tuesday, Krukoff acknowledged that the developer would have to have any of his decisions approved by the Village Board, and that therefore the village does have control over what goes in.

“It’s time to get this development going. I take the developer’s word that he’s not going to (put in hundreds of rental units). If he does, he’s going to have to come in and ask,” Krukoff said.

The timing of the phases of development was also discussed. When ground is broken, it is related to construction of the Anderson bridge by Kane County. Sho-Deen plans to start development from the south at Keslinger Road, northward. The only change to that plan would be if a big box-type of commercial development were to come in at the Route 38 end of Anderson Road.

The Elburn Station preliminary plan, called the Design Plan Guidelines, is available for perusal at the front desk of Village Hall.

Elburn Station facts
505.9 acres
2,275 residential units
176.3 acres of open space
22.5 acres of commercial use
17.75 acres of mixed use
9.66 acres of industrial use
The maximum density is
6.61 units per acre

The process
A development around the Metra station has been discussed by officials since the train station and coachyards were built in 2006. The concept plan for the development was approved by the Village Board in October 2010. In this phase of the process, the Planning Commission reviewed a preliminary plan and made a recommendation to the Village Board, who has the sole authority to vote and approve the plans. Discussion by the Village Board will begin at the Tuesday, Jan. 17, meeting.

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Village approves Elburn Station concept plan

by Lynn Meredith
Elburn—Elburn Village Board on Tuesday evening voted 5-1 to approve the Elburn station development’s concept plan. Jeff Walter was the sole vote opposing the plan.

Village Hall was filled with concerned citizens during the meeting in anticipation of the vote on whether to approve the concept plan for Elburn Station.

Sho-deen, Inc. of Geneva has been in talks with the village since 2005 about developing the land around the Metra station, north to Route 38 and south to Keslinger Road along an extended Anderson Road. The plan was originally approved in 2008, but when Sho-deen revised the plan to remove the commercial portion on Route 38 in October 2010, the Planning Commission voted not to recommend approval, and the resolution was tabled.

Citizens voiced concerns ranging from the impact on already devalued housing prices, to how the infrastructure can sustain the influx of new residents, to the intangibles that make a community unique.

“I purchased because of what Elburn is,” said resident Rocky Ruck. “If I wanted Naperville, I would have done that.”

Kane County Association of Realtors President-elect Christopher Tenggren said that housing inventory in Elburn is in the years, not the months, and that the community is still reeling from the Blackberry Creek project developed by B&B.

Others voiced concerns about rentals attracting more transient people to the community and burdening on already over-taxed school system.

“I’m concerned about the number of rentals and the impact on the schools,” said Bonnie White. “They are a financial burden that won’t be bringing in tax dollars.”

On the minds of Kane County and the village is $18 million in federal and state funds that are slated to be used to complete the Anderson Road overpass. Those funds could disappear, according to Catherine Hurlbut, chairman of the Kane County Division of Transportation, if progress is not shown in developing this area around Metra.

Approving the concept plan is step one. The next steps are to approve a preliminary plan and to annex the land surrounding the project. Currently, four property owners, including Sho-deen, would need to be annexed to the village before work on the bridge could continue.

“This concept plan is the bird’s eye view,” said Village Administrator Erin Willrett.

Dave Patzelt, Vice President of Development at Sho-deen, Inc., presented the changes that have been implemented in the plan since October.

“Even though the Planning Commission rejected a version, we took their comments as constructive criticism and made changes,” Patzelt said.

The changes to the original plan include lowering the density by reducing the number of multi-family houses originally proposed, adding additional green space, implementing a lift station, moving the fire station north, mirroring the townhomes on the west of Anderson south of Route 38 with townhomes to the east, changing multi-family houses to mixed-use spaces and providing vehicular access from Metra to downtown.

The number of housing units north of Metra has been reduced from 585 to 416. South of the tracks, the number has changed from 1,920 to 1,865. The increase in commercial space since October is now 70,000 square feet. Both village officials and Patzelt emphasized that the plan will change over the 20 years it will be in development.

“This is a concept plan. That’s all it is. It’s (the plan’s build-out is) 20 years, and it will change,” Anderson said. “We’ve talked to the (Elburn and Countryside) Fire District, the (Kaneland) School District, the (Town and Country Public) Library District, the Kane County Department of Transportation, the Kane County Development Department. Everybody, as of two weeks ago, has signed on.”