Lombard candidates battle for say in Ken-Loch land use
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Editor's note: This story was updated to correct the amount of campaign contributions Lombard District 3 candidate Zachary Wilson received from Don and Scott Stevens, owners of Donven Homes. The Stevens' contributed a total of $1,000.
The race for District 3 trustee in Lombard provides the chance to participate in discussions about the future of the Ken-Loch Golf Links.
The former golf course lies in an unincorporated area within District 3 on the village's southeast side, and the winner of a three-way race to represent the area can join in talks set to continue in May about future land use at the site.
The talks, spurred by the property owners' intent to sell and the interest of a housing developer, will center on whether the village should amend its comprehensive plan to allow anything other than open space at the site.
The three candidates for the seat -- Reid Foltyniewicz, Muzammil Saeed and incumbent District 3 Trustee Zachary Wilson -- offer varying levels of opposition to housing development on the property, which neighbors want to remain open.
Wilson, a 53-year-old attorney, said he sparked discussions about the site when lawyers for housing developer Donven Homes approached him early last year, saying the company was interested in buying and building residences on Ken-Loch property.
He said he neither supports nor opposes the concept plan the developer gave the village, which calls for 300 residential units, in townhomes and apartments, to be built on 11.5 acres of the site.
He acknowledges Donven Homes' owners, Don and Scott Stevens, gave $1,000 to his 2012 campaign for DuPage County Board.
Since Wilson brought the Donven Homes plan forward, the Lombard plan commission has held at least four meetings about the property. Village staff had a consultant develop a 59-page report studying nine development options including houses, townhouses, offices, retail and a mix of with apartments and a golf course.
In January, the plan commission recommended an option similar to the mixed use, saying the land should remain primarily open space with up to 25 percent of its 30 acres available for development. The village board then postponed further discussion until a new village president and trustees are seated.
Foltyniewicz, a 29-year-old police officer for the village of Oak Brook, said Ken-Loch discussions still seem rushed.
"It felt like it was snuck in ... 'let's make as much money as we can off this and let's just develop," Foltyniewicz said. "Where were the options?'"
He said all options need to be considered, but he would prefer to keep the land open and he is glad the Lombard Park District is studying whether it could buy the site.
"I don't mean just to make it a park," Foltyniewicz said. "Ideally, I would love to keep it a golf course. I've golfed there my whole life."
Saeed, a 39-year-old dentist, said he lives a few houses away from Ken-Loch and sides with neighbors who oppose housing development. He said schools in Lombard Elementary District 44 and Glenbard High School District 87 can ill afford an influx of students, and an increase in residents would strain other village services as well.
"The key word here is no housing development in the area is what we're looking for," Saeed said.
Wilson and Foltyniewicz both said they would like any buyer of the site to help address flooding problems experienced by nearby residents.
Wilson also said the rights of the owners to sell the property must be preserved and he is not sure village taxpayers would be willing to pay more to buy the land.
"The problem is you've got a private property owner who is being dictated to what he can do with his property based on the majority of neighbors who may or not be willing to financially back it," Wilson said. "I am an ardent supporter of private property owners' rights."
The village board is set to address Ken-Loch in May, after voters in the April 9 election choose a new village president and elect trustees in Districts 1, 3 and 6.
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