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.”