A proposal to build apartments and townhouses on what's now a golf course near Lombard has picked up a key endorsement from a DuPage County panel.
On Thursday night, the county's zoning board of appeals voted 6-1 to advise county officials to rezone the Ken-Loch Golf Links and approve a planned development for the 31-acre property along Finley Road north of 22nd Street.
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The issue now goes to DuPage's development committee, which will make a recommendation to county board members. The county board then will make the final decision.
Rich and Linda Kensinger, the brother and sister who own the golf course, want DuPage to rezone the land to allow multifamily residential housing. Right now, the county has the property zoned for single-family houses.
While Ken-Loch has been in operation for about 50 years, the Kensingers say it's in jeopardy of closing because of declining numbers of rounds played. So they want to sell the land.
Officials with Donven Homes said the company would purchase the property if the zoning change and planned development are approved.
Donven Homes wants to construct four luxury apartment buildings, a clubhouse and 18 structures with upscale townhouses. The proposed development -- dubbed Woodmoor on Finley Road -- would have 392 dwelling units.
Don Stevens, Donven Homes president, says the development would be "the highest and best use" of the property. He added that it would increase tax revenue for the county and provide an economic benefit to the area.
But the company wasn't able to sell Lombard officials on the idea when it asked the village more than year ago to consider annexing the golf course and rezoning the site.
Instead, Lombard trustees gave the property a new land-use designation calling for 75 percent of the land to remain open space.
Now Lombard has joined neighbors in urging the county to reject the rezoning.
On Thursday night, Thomas Laz was the only zoning board member to vote against the proposal. He sided with the neighbors, who argue the proposed development would increase traffic congestion, cause flooding and put a strain on schools and other local government services.
Zoning board member John Hakim questioned the findings of the developer's traffic study, which claims the development would have little impact the roadway system.
"I find it very hard to understand how 392 homes will produce only 200 cars at peak traffic time," he said.
Still, Hakim said he "reluctantly" supported the proposal because he likes "many of the things" in the developer's site plan.
That site plan, for example, shows a buffer area between the development's buildings and an existing subdivision to the east. The buffer would have open space, including stormwater detention and wetlands.