Upscale Hoffman Estates neighborhood plan draws laughs, objections
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Residents of an upscale Hoffman Estates neighborhood are objecting to a developer's plans to builder smaller homes on vacant lots in their subdivision, saying the lesser properties would diminish their community's value and character.
A representative of D.R. Horton/Cambridge Homes appeared before the village board this week to give trustees an informal presentation of what the developer hopes to build on 21 empty lots in Devonshire Woods Estates.
Some residents of the subdivision, which sits south of Shoe Factory Road and east of Rohrssen Road, laughed when Eric Peterson, a D.R. Horton/Cambridge representative, said the company would sell the homes for $300,000 to $400,000. Residents say they paid between $750,000 to over $1 million for their homes when the subdivision first went up in 2008.
"If we go ahead with this plan, we'll lose the neighborhood's value," Devonshire Woods resident Dennis Barot said. "I think it's better to wait than to rush into anything."
Carl Mahr, another resident, said the developer's photos of how the new homes would look show properties that would be "much smaller" and made with lower quality materials than the existing properties.
Mahr said the subdivision will lose its charm if D.R. Horton/Cambridge Homes is allowed to build the homes presented this week. But, he added, the company has built subdivisions in Downers Grove and Woodridge that would fit better in Devonshire Woods.
"Both of those communities are much closer to the type of home that is here," Mahr said.
Hoffman Estates resident Ann Libner said she and her husband recently closed on two lots in Devonshire Woods and have begun landscaping the properties. But if the new proposal is granted approval, the couple will most likely sell the lots, she said.
"What Cambridge was showing looked like nothing but tacky tract houses," Libner added.
D.R. Horton/Cambridge Homes officials did not return calls for comment.
When Devonshire Woods' original developer, Dartmoor Homes, defaulted on its loans in 2009, Oak Brook-based Oxford Bank and Trust took over the properties. Concerned residents were reassured that the subdivision would be built out in the same fashion it was started if a new developer came in, Mahr said.
The informal presentation this week introduced the developer's ideas to village officials. Any further action would require a hearing process and village board approval.
Trustee Karen Mills suggested the developer should start meeting with residents before proceeding further.
"I highly recommend you speak with (current residents) as soon as possible," she said.
If the company requests village board approval, its proposed homes would have to meet a number of conditions for the neighborhood, such as having a brick facade and minimum square footage, Village Manager James Norris said.
Though residents are concerned with the difference in price between their homes and the ones presented, it's the materials and square footage that are better indicators of a home's quality, Norris added.
"Purchase prices prior to the recession are going to be significantly different from now," he said.
Hoffman Estates Director of Planning Peter Gugliotta said there are 18 more residential lots that have not been pursued by a developer since Dartmoor Homes pulled out. If D.R. Horton/Cambridge Homes is granted approval for its proposal, they may be interested in those 18 lots, he said.
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