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updated: 6/10/2014 12:07 PM

St. Charles shuns large west-side development

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A plan to annex 96 acres into St. Charles that would be home to a 285-unit residential development received a sour reception when presented to aldermen Monday night.

Opponents of the Bluffs of St. Charles project say the plan would violate the city's land use plan and create an "island of development" in a rural area. And though no formal vote was taken, aldermen agreed the development isn't the right fit for a rustic area.

The proposed development would be at the southeast corner of Route 38 and Brundige Road in Campton Township. The property, about 2 miles west of Randall Road just south of the Illinois Youth Center, is part of the area once targeted for the 1,200-acre Settlements of La Fox subdivision.

The owners of The Settlements of La Fox, which stalled along with the economy, are willing to sell a 96-acre portion of the land to the Bluffs of St. Charles developers. But the developers, Avanti Properties Group, want access to St. Charles utilities and the ability to have official St. Charles mailing addresses via an annexation.

However, businesses, hobby clubs, neighbors and even Kane County Board members lined up to urge rejecting the project.

Some people didn't like the proposed density, but the main objection came to the idea of turning a space that officials said serves as a rural, "green" buffer into another suburban subdivision.

County board member Drew Frasz told aldermen the development would violate an area the county designated as a "rustic road." That label is similar to a city's historical district except that the county wants development, either commercial or residential, that has only a rural feel to it. A vineyard, an organic farm and a horse rescue all fit that theme and already exist adjacent to the proposed development property.

A plan to build 285 residential units doesn't fit that mold, Frasz said.

"If just this one proposal goes through, it will probably result in the pulling of that designation for rustic roads," Frasz said. "I urge you to reject this proposal. It's an island of development. It violates not only the county land use plan but your own land use plan."

The county's regional plan commission already gave the project a thumbs-down.

Supporters estimated the creation of $4 million in annual property taxes for the city and dozens of temporary construction jobs. But St. Charles aldermen agreed with Frasz's ideology for green, rural development at the site.

Aldermen William Turner and Art Lemke argued the city should still annex the land to make sure it has a say in whatever is eventually built on the site and a cut of the taxes generated.

But Aldermen Ed Bessner and Maureen Lewis, who represent the 5th Ward where the subdivision would be annexed into, said they could see no benefit to including the space on the city's map.

The development team said the 285-unit proposal is not the only acceptable project they can envision on the property. They plan to take the comments into consideration when formulating their next version of the project.

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