Lombard trustees are one step away from clarifying their land use policy for the Ken-Loch Golf Links, indicating they would be open to allowing some type of development on up to 25 percent of the property.
Trustees gave preliminary approval in a 4-2 vote Thursday to a recommendation that would designate the property as primarily open space but allow up to a quarter of its 30 acres for development that would complement the open space use.
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They did so after hearing from Rich Kensinger, who owns the property with his sister and wants to sell it. The Kensingers have been working with a possible buyer, Donven Homes, which has proposed development of a multifamily housing complex with about 300 apartments and for-sale units.
Lombard Community Development Director Bill Heniff said the Donven proposal would occupy about two-thirds or three-quarters of the Ken-Loch land -- more than suggested under the land use recommendation given preliminary approval Thursday.
Selling the land without allowing more of it for development would be challenging if not impossible, Kensinger said.
"It is very difficult to make enough money to justify continuing to operate the property as a golf course," he said about the nine-hole course, which opened for the season in early April. "For years, you have made our property unsellable with your open space designation and you have done nothing to buy it."
Bob Schillerstrom, an attorney for Donven Homes, asked the board for direction as soon as possible about what they would allow on the land.
"Our position is that if the village wants this to be open space, then they should buy it and they should buy it now," Schillerstrom said.
The public entity most likely to buy the property is the Lombard Park District, which is going through a strategic planning process and examining whether buying the land could be feasible.
Village President Keith Giagnorio said his understanding from conversations with Executive Director Paul Friedrichs is the park district would need to ask voters for a tax increase in order to buy the golf course.
Trustees who voted in favor of allowing some development, including Dan Whittington, newly sworn in District 2 Trustee Mike Fugiel, Reid Foltyniewicz and Bill Ware, said they envision construction not of apartments and townhouses but of a clubhouse or banquet hall and a parking lot to support the golf course.
Foltyniewicz, whose district surrounds the unincorporated golf course property, said the area also could be a key answer to flooding problems on residential streets east of the course.
Two residents addressed the board with just those concerns Thursday night, asking for flooding solutions before the village allows any more Ken-Loch land to possibly be paved over.
The land use recommendation allowing up to 25 percent of the site to be developed would need approval once more at the board's next meeting Thursday, June 6, to become official. Any development plan or annexation request, such as Donven Homes' proposal, then could be examined separately.