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updated: 7/15/2014 5:39 AM

Wheaton residents voice concerns with downtown housing plan

Wheaton residents, officials address developer's revised plans

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  • It's been a decade since Wheaton first granted approval for the Courthouse Square development near Willow Avenue and Naperville Road. So far, 24 townhouses and one 50-unit condominium building have been constructed, and they the buildings are only partially occupied.

       It's been a decade since Wheaton first granted approval for the Courthouse Square development near Willow Avenue and Naperville Road. So far, 24 townhouses and one 50-unit condominium building have been constructed, and they the buildings are only partially occupied.
    SCOTT SANDERS | Staff Photographer

 
 

Residents and city council members spoke their minds Monday in regards to a developer's decision to go back to the original plans for the Courthouse Square condominiums and town homes in downtown Wheaton.

It's been a decade since the city first granted approval for the luxury housing project, located near Willow Avenue and Naperville Road.

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Originally, the proposal was to build 46 townhomes and 206 condominiums in three buildings.

So far, 24 townhouses and one 50-unit condominium building have been constructed and partially occupied. An additional six condominium units are also complete inside the old courthouse building.

In 2012, the developers came back to the city council seeking approval to amend the original plans and build senior housing in lieu of the two remaining condominium buildings that were set to be built.

The proposal angered residents who were already living in the existing condominium building. After the city council approved the senior housing, a group of residents filed a lawsuit.

Now -- under a consent decree that was signed last month by the developer, current Courthouse Square residents and the city in an attempt to settle the lawsuit -- the developer is hoping to complete the community with the construction of two apartment buildings.

"While I can't sincerely say it's a pleasure to be before you this evening, it is a relief," said Henry Stillwell, the attorney for the Courthouse Square property owners, Focus Wheaton Residence LLC. "I can say, without qualification, we are here this evening, my client is here this evening, enthusiastically looking forward to completing the project he initiated 10 years ago."

Some residents, however, still had concerns about the future buildings that they voiced during a public hearing Monday. They included the entrance to a parking garage, materials used in the facade and the height of the new buildings, flooding and guest parking, among other issues.

Barry Tusin, a resident who recently moved in, echoed some of the top concerns his neighbors had. He said he would like to see an underground parking garage entrance added on Reber Street instead of having all access through Liberty Drive.

"It was in the original plan and the plan I saw before I purchased," he said. "It made sense also to me just as a citizen to have two forms of egress when you have 100 plus parking spots. We hope you approve what I think is a reasonable and welcome addition."

Tusin also said he would like to see the developer stick with the same type of facade material that was used on the existing buildings.

Councilwoman Evelyn Pacino Sanguinetti and Councilman John Prendiville said they agreed with the Reber Street entrance and said they would like to see additional masonry on the facade of the new buildings.

"Masonry buildings just seem to be in the character of downtown. I just think that's an important feature here," Prendiville said.

"It's a beautiful development," he added. "It's been done to very high standards. I'd like to complete the development to those same high standards because this is going to be around here for many, many years."

The city still needs to approve the developer's zoning application at a future meeting.

Concerns: Developer plans to finish construction of project with two apartment buildings

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