No Elburn Station vote until bridge is built
Trustees table vote on annexation
Elburn President Dave Anderson
Elburn Trustee William Grabarek led the move to table a vote on the Elburn Station annexation agreement Monday night.
The Elburn village board won't vote on annexing and developing ShoDeen Homes' large Elburn Station project until after the Anderson Road extension and bridge is built.
The board voted 4-3 to table the vote Monday night, with President Dave Anderson casting the tiebreaker.
"We did not have enough votes to pass (the annexation agreement)," said Anderson, who favors the development.
He said annexation agreements need five votes to pass. Trustees Ethan Hastert, Jerry Schmidt and Kenneth Anderson voted against tabling the annexation.
The Elburn Station plan for the 682-acre site called for some commercial and industrial uses, with about 2,000 residential units. It would straddle the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, from Hughes Road on the south to Route 38 on the north.
Initially, many of the multifamily units were to be condominiums, but the most recent version called for 800 to be rentals. That displeased Trustee William Grabarek, who moved to table the vote.
"I don't want to accept a development that I consider to be, as proposed, inconsistent with the character of Elburn," Grabarek said.
He said he had no problem with the quality of product ShoDeen builds and understood the developer's reason for changing to rental units in the struggling housing market. Trustee Jeff Walter said there are impact-fee matters he wants changed, and that he would like to see some senior housing specified in the rentals.
Grabarek also reiterated that he didn't like the Anderson Road project being held "hostage" by the annexation agreement. The developer, Shodeen Inc., has agreed to sell 70 acres to Kane County for the bridge, and in June the county board gave the county chairman the power to execute the contracts for $2.14 million. Elburn will also chip in for the project, and the rest was to be paid for with $18 million from the federal government.
"I'm optimistic" the bridge will still be built, Anderson said.
County board member Drew Frasz, who represents the Elburn area, wasn't so sure. Neither was Hastert, whose father, Dennis, secured the funding when he was speaker of the House.
"We have a critical piece of infrastructure in jeopardy," he said.
The project was in the 2005 surface transportation bill. The 2012 bill approved by Congress this summer was not loaded with local earmarks, unlike the previous bill, which had 6,300 of them.
"The county will just have to move on to Plan B. ... We will have to go back to square 1," said Frasz, who attended the meeting.
If ShoDeen is unwilling to sell, then the county board would have to decide whether to condemn the land.
The county had hoped to build bridge embankments this fall; it is ready to seek construction bids, Frasz said. Anderson Road would become a bypass for truck traffic of state Route 47, village officials hoped, reducing backups at the main railroad crossing downtown.
Shodeen President Dave Patzelt could not be reached for comment, having left quickly after the vote.
Any of the trustees who voted in favor of tabling it may be able to bring the matter up for a vote. Village Attorney Bob Britz is researching Robert's Rules of Order to clarify that point.
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