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updated: 5/22/2012 12:22 PM

College of DuPage's revised expansion plan meets opposition

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  • Neighbors continue to oppose a planned expansion of College of DuPage's Glen Ellyn campus, even though the college has revised the proposal. The county's zoning board of appeals next month is expected to make a recommendation on the application.

      Neighbors continue to oppose a planned expansion of College of DuPage's Glen Ellyn campus, even though the college has revised the proposal. The county's zoning board of appeals next month is expected to make a recommendation on the application.

 
 

College of DuPage's decision to scale back a planned expansion of its Glen Ellyn campus hasn't silenced all of the proposal's critics.

A large group of neighbors are continuing to raise concerns about increased traffic, possible flooding, and falling property values in connection with the plan for future structures and improvements at COD's 273-acre campus.

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More than 160 residents attended a Monday night public hearing hosted by DuPage County's zoning board of appeals, which is reviewing COD's planned development application. About 15 of the neighbors urged the zoning panel to recommend that the county board reject the plan.

Neighbor Jim Meyers said components of the college's overall plan should be individually examined to ensure they meet the county's standards.

"Please retain the right to review each proposal and grant approval only on the merits and justification of each proposed expansion," said Meyers, adding the zoning panel shouldn't base its decision on "a conceptual drawing."

COD's plan has changed significantly since it was unveiled two weeks ago. The college has agreed to remove four buildings that were heavily criticized by neighbors. Three of the buildings -- ranging from 69,000 to 153,000 square feet -- taken out of the plan were targeted for the western, southern and eastern borders of the campus. Residents opposed the three-story structures because of their proximity to neighboring houses.

COD attorney Ken Florey said three large buildings still in the plan would provide classroom space -- and not be used as dormitories. He said the height and character of those buildings "would be identical" to existing structures on the campus.

Still, neighbors say they are worried that new buildings might worsen flooding problems in the area. Resident Bill Graham accused the college of taking "a primitive approach" to managing stormwater.

"We would like to see them act like good neighbors," Graham said. "We would like to see them do what people like the (Morton) Arboretum and the forest preserve do."

But Florey stressed that the plan will meet all of the college's parking and water detention needs while complying with the county's ordinances.

Meanwhile, the college within the next five years would like to build a water treatment plant and a water tower in the southwest corner of the campus. Neighbors complain that the structures would be too close to property lines.

Resident Barbara Burns said she's concerned that the water tower, which would be a maximum of 120 feet tall, could lower the value of surrounding properties. "Who would want to buy a house with a water tower behind it?" she said.

COD is exploring the possibility of using well water to meet its long-term water supply needs. While it gets Lake Michigan water through Glen Ellyn, the college could save nearly $1 million annually if it switched to a well-water based system, according to Florey.

The county's zoning panel is expected to make its recommendation on June 7. Then the planned development application will be reviewed by the county board.

DuPage officials are reviewing the plan because of a recent agreement that transferred regulatory control -- including stormwater, building and zoning -- from Glen Ellyn to the county. The county accepted oversight responsibilities to end a bitter legal battle between COD and Glen Ellyn in which the college argued it wasn't under the village's jurisdiction.

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