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Article updated: 4/29/2013 12:41 PM

Algonquin gives initial approval for high-end homes

By Lenore T. Adkins

A preliminary green light has been given for a developer to build a subdivision of 25 high-end homes on 26 acres on North River Road in Algonquin.

The Algonquin village board, meeting in committee, granted the early approval.

But two neighbors question whether the development, called River Ridge Estates, would exacerbate traffic and flooding headaches.

The subdivision would feature 3,000-square-foot houses with at least three-car garages on North River Road; prices would start at $700,000. The developer, A.K. Group, is also proposing to build a river wall between the property and the riverfront to help prevent erosion. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources would need to approve the wall.

The developer previously sought the board's approval in 2008 with a proposal to build 17 homes on 12 acres.

But the board turned it down because the proposal had between 70 and 80 violations of the village's subdivision code, Community Development Director Russ Farnum said. Trustees also complained about the density.

Since then, the village has worked with the developer to create a plan that enhances the village while complying with its standards, Farnum said.

"Once the developer came back and started working with our staff, then we've really been able to make this into a development that's going to add to our community," he said. "It really is a night-and-day difference."

The new proposal is possible because the developer bought 14 additional acres, allowing it to broaden the scope of the project, said Greg Pantos, a managing member of A.K. Group.

"At the end of the day, we resolved all the issues," Pantos said. "We're moving forward."

While Pantos said the development would help alleviate traffic issues by connecting roads to another subdivision that hasn't been built yet, Trustee Debby Sosine is concerned that it would move the traffic problems from one area to another.

So is Sheryl Gafka, who has lived near the property with her husband, Al, since 1996. She said North River Road already is congested, and when it rains, "It just sits there and puddles."

Public Works Director Bob Mitchard said the design won't change the flooding situation. The new subdivision, he said, "would be a virtual drop in the bucket compared to what's going on now."

Pantos plans to make final engineering changes before seeking final village board approval -- likely in 60 to 90 days. He hopes to start construction in spring 2014.

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