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updated: 1/7/2014 11:12 PM

Batavia considering 'age-targeted' neighborhood plan

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Batavia aldermen indicated Tuesday they generally favor a developer's idea to build more than 200 "age-targeted" houses and townhouses.

The development, Landmeier Farm, would be at McKee Street and Deerpath Road.

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MI Homes of Naperville sought feedback before deciding whether it is worth spending money to submit formal plans, including a request to annex the 66-acre site.

The neighborhood would have 134 single-family detached houses and 76 townhouses. The single-family houses would be 1.5 stories with two bedrooms and a flexible space that could be turned into a third bedroom. The houses would be marketed to people 55 and older, but it would not be an age-restricted community.

The yards and common spaces would be maintained by a homeowners' association.

"I'll be honest: I'm looking at a large percentage of the buyer profile in this room right now," said Gregg Collins, MI's land acquisition manager. Eleven of the 14 aldermen are over the age of 40, and two of the three in their 30s weren't at the meeting.

The site, to the west of the Randall Road shopping corridor, is where a developer in 2007 wanted to build an age-restricted community called Batavia Reserve. The community development committee approved that development, but the developer withdrew the plan before the city council could vote on it.

Several aldermen indicated they were open to compromising on some items, such as whether garages could be flush with, or extend past, the front of houses. But granting road rights of way narrower than city standards was another matter, as was narrower spaces between the sides of buildings.

In some areas, the developer would want a 50-foot right of way, with narrower parkways and some utility easements behind the sidewalk. The city code calls for 66-foot rights of way, with utilities in an 8-foot-wide parkway. Public works director Gary Holm said different techniques and materials have to be used when digging up sewers or water lines in narrower spaces, costing more money.

Narrow parkways mandate planting smaller trees, he said. And digging up utilities behind the sidewalk irritates residents, he said.

Collins said narrower parkways and side-yard setbacks didn't deter people from buying in similar developments. But Alderman Michael O'Brien said the council has an obligation not to burden the city leaders of the future with increased costs and difficulties when it comes time to repair and replace utilities, or fix drainage issues resulting from the side yard sizes.

"The decisions we make today really do have consequences tomorrow," he said.

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