Lombard trustees voted Thursday night to approve a new land-use designation that allows development on up to 25 percent of the Ken-Loch Golf Links site but calls for the site to remain primarily open space, preferably as a golf course.
The village's comprehensive plan will be updated to reflect the new designation, which says any possible development should complement the golf course or open space use on the 31-acre site.
The vote concluded more than a year of discussions by the plan commission and village board about the property in an unincorporated area near the southwest side of town.
Previously reserved as open space in Lombard planning documents, Ken-Loch Golf Links now will be coded as primarily open space with an option of developing up to 25 percent of the land into something that facilitates preservation of the property, such as a clubhouse or banquet hall and parking lot, said Bill Heniff, community development director.
"That (development) is a catalyst that will be serving as the tool to preserve the remainder of the property as open space," Heniff said earlier this year.
The change to the land-use designation passed 5-1, with trustees who voted in favor of the amendment saying they support preservation of a golf course or another recreational use at the site on Finley Road north of 22nd Street.
"Our main goal is still to keep it as a golf course," Trustee Reid Foltyniewicz said. "(Housing) development shouldn't even be in the picture."
Nearby homeowners have been speaking against a proposed apartment and townhouse development for the past year, citing concerns about flooding, traffic and strain on village services. Four such residents spoke Thursday before the board voted.
"I'm certainly in favor of open space," said Trustee Dan Whittington, who joined Foltyniewicz and trustees Bill Ware, Mike Fugiel and Laura Fitzpatrick in voting for the new land-use designation. "I would never vote for high-density development."
Trustee Peter Breen cast the one dissenting vote, saying it is premature to set a new land-use policy without a plan the community finds acceptable.
Ken-Loch owners Rich and Linda Kensinger would like to sell the property, but Breen said the apartment and townhouse development proposed by prospective buyer Donven Homes is not acceptable to residents. A tax increase likely would be required for a public entity such as the Lombard Park District to buy the land, officials have said.
"I'd rather we find a proposal that gives us flood relief and is acceptable to local residents and then adopt that," Breen said.
The amended comprehensive plan -- suggesting Ken-Loch remain a golf course with up to 25 percent of the site available for complementary development -- will guide anyone who may want to annex the land into the village in the future, Heniff said.
If an annexation proposal comes forward, trustees can analyze whether it fits with the new land-use designation before approving or denying it.