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updated: 4/14/2014 5:12 PM

Wheaton City Council denies Farnham Lane development

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For a second time, the Wheaton City Council has denied a subdivision proposal that would divide three lots into seven on Farnham Lane.

"Change will come here; I don't think this is the change we want now," Mayor Michael Gresk said before the council voted 6-1 to deny the application.

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Last week, the council heard both from Scott Day, a representative for Cesario Builders, and about a half-dozen frustrated residents who spoke against the development.

Cesario Builders wants to re-subdivide properties at 102, 106 and 108 E. Farnham Lane into seven single-family lots.

The council denied a special use permit for the same request last year. But the proposal again was brought to the council last Monday with a request for two zoning variations. They included a front yard setback of 40 feet for one of the lots instead of the required 100 feet, and a corner side yard setback for another lot of 9.3 feet instead of the required 14 feet.

Day argued that the proposal is in conformity with the city's comprehensive plan.

"We think we will enhance the property values within the district," he said.

At one point, he also brought up the city's approval in 2009 of a re-subdivision of 106, 108 and 110 E. Farnham Lane into 11 single-family lots. That plan, however, fell through after a contract was lost for one of the properties.

"Why is that relevant? That was approved. It didn't happen," said Councilman Phil Suess, adding that changes have occurred since then and people have since bought property on the road with plans to construct new homes in an area where 100-foot setbacks are required. "I think it's important that we maintain the character of the neighborhood."

Residents expressed concerns about safety due to the increased traffic and about whether the development would be compatible with existing homes on the street.

"We love the street that we live on," said Farnham Lane resident Kathleen Lewis. "Farnham is unique, and we'd like to keep it that way."

Joe Morrissey of 108 E. Farnham Lane was the only resident to express support for the development. He said he appreciated the major restorations his neighbors have done to their homes over the past 38 years, when he moved to the area, and asked the board to support the development on his property, where a house would be torn down.

"It's really time to move on. It's time to change, it's time to fit into what is really housing for the way we live," he said. "There's no diminishing of value."

Councilman Todd Scalzo was the only city council member who voted in support of the plan.

"I really think the change would be in keeping with the surrounding area," he said. "Yes, it would be deviation from the way it is now, but it would actually join the rest of the world around it."

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