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updated: 1/12/2013 12:45 PM

Trustees want revamps on Elburn Station project

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Several members of the Elburn village board want to get the tabled Elburn Station development vote going again.

In doing so, trustees are discussing revisions to the plan for 682 acres that includes housing, stores and light industrial uses. Village board sentiment appears strong for limiting the number of rental apartments.

Trustee Ethan Hastert asked to revisit the issue. He was one of three who voted against tabling it in the first place.

"It strikes me that the village does stand to lose a lot if we don't move on this one way or the other, and it is not just Anderson Road (extension)," he said to the board this week. Hastert said the developer, Shodeen Inc., already owns the land, so the village is likely to have to deal with a request to annex and build something on it eventually, even if it is different from the current proposal.

Shodeen proposes stores, light industrial buildings, houses, townhouses and apartments on 682 acres from Route 38 to Hughes Road near the Metra station. An extension of Anderson Road, including a bridge over the railroad, would bisect the project. In October, the board tabled a vote on an annexation agreement until after Kane County builds the Anderson Road extension. The county and Shodeen had an agreement for Shodeen to sell the right of way once Elburn approved an annexation agreement.

Hastert said one of the main issues people disagree on is the number of rental units.

Trustee Jeff Walker agreed.

"The biggest issue was the apartments, and it has always been my issue since the very beginning," he said. "What we need to do is get to a number that we think is a number the village can prosper at." He suggested a percentage comparable to that in Elburn and neighboring towns.

Village President Dave Anderson and the other trustees agreed keeping it comparable to Elburn's current percentage was palatable. About 16 percent of Elburn is rental multifamily housing of four units or more, according to figures Anderson obtained from township assessors' offices. The developer's plan calls for 800 rental units out of nearly 2,000 total, or about 40 percent.

Dave Patzelt, president of Shodeen Inc., said Friday nobody from the village had contacted Shodeen prior to the meeting, but that he would be interested in hearing what the board has to say.

He said the annexation agreement does not specify whether any housing would be rental or owner-occupied.

"I think you get in a precarious situation when municipalities specify what has to be rental and what has to be owner-occupied," Patzelt said. He said that should be determined by the market.

"We have said it could be for sale, for rent, could be condominiums. It is whatever the market really wants," he said, adding that is likely to change over the expected 20-year buildout.

About the Anderson Road extension, Patzelt said Shodeen's position remains unchanged: conveying the rights of way is dependent on the annexation agreement being approved. And Kane County officials in the last few months have not asked the company to sell without the agreement, he said. Elburn Trustee William Grabarek has suggested that the county condemn the land needed, especially since a price has already been agreed on.

"Nothing has changed between us and the county. ...I think they know the answer," Patzelt said.

Grabarek said he would like to see more information about the financial stability of Shodeen Inc., and suggested requiring the developer to complete one phase of construction before being allowed to work on another one. The fear arises from the case of the Blackberry Creek subdivision, where platting of next phases happened before initial phases were finished. During the recession, the neighborhood was left with empty lots when several banks foreclosed on properties in the subdivision owned by developer B & B Enterpirses. The village, meanwhile, had trouble collecting money to finish improving streets and sidewalks.

It also was suggested Shodeen pay more for a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks. The agreement calls for the developer to pay a $25 fee per housing unit, "which would get us about three steps," Walter said. He estimates such a bridge could cost almost $1 million, and suggested a percentage split between the developer and the village, with the village's share coming from any federal, state or private grants it could get.

The board will resume discussing the matter at its committee-of-the-whole meeting at 7 p.m. Monday. Anderson is trying to get a representative of the Kane County Transportation Division to attend and discuss where the contracts stand for the Anderson extension right of way.

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