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Article updated: 1/18/2013 11:08 AM

S. Elgin housing plan moves forward

By Elena Ferrarin

After getting a nod from the South Elgin planning and zoning commission, a plan for a new housing development for low-income and disabled people is expected to go before the village board early next month.

The commission voted 4-2 Wednesday night to approve the plan for Water's Edge of South Elgin, Director of Community Development Steve Super said. The development would be a 50-apartment, three-story building in a vacant industrial area downtown, on the east side of the Fox River.

The Association for Individual Development, whose main office is in Aurora, teamed up with The Burton Foundation of Sterling, Ill., which has about a dozen affordable rental properties across the country, for the estimated $14 million project.

The building would be split between affordable housing and housing for people with disabilities, mental illness and special needs.

The plan was opposed by a group of residents and business owners who gathered more than 900 signatures to that effect; the group cited concerns about walkers' safety and its effects on the Fox River Trail, among others.

Commission member Joe Cluchey, who cast one of the two dissenting votes, said that he supports the project's mission, but not its location.

The parcel is too small to accommodate a high-density development, Cluchey said, while the village's master plan calls for lower-density condos and row houses in that area.

He also said he wasn't happy with having sidewalks on only one side of Center Street leading to the development.

"At the end of the day, this was one of the difficult decisions," he said.

Commission member Leo Metz also voted no, while commission member Tom Kusswurm was absent, Cluchey said.

The proposed location is within a tax-increment financing district, where property taxes going to local governments are frozen at a specific level; tax revenue exceeding that amount is used for improvements within the taxing district.

The village board is expected to tackle the project at its Feb. 4 meeting, Super said.

If the village board gives final approval, the project would be completed by the end of the year, he said.

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