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updated: 8/11/2017 2:26 PM

Townhouse plan for Geneva factory site gets warm reception

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  • A developer wants to build 10 three-story buildings containing 41 townhouses total on the former Cetron factory site in Geneva.

      A developer wants to build 10 three-story buildings containing 41 townhouses total on the former Cetron factory site in Geneva.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

The height and number of the buildings was incorrect in earlier versions.

A new proposal to redevelop the former Cetron factory site in Geneva met with a much better reception than the last one.

M/I Homes ran a concept for 10 three-story buildings, containing a total of 41 townhouses, past the Geneva Plan Commission Thursday night.

The townhouses would be on about 3 acres near Seventh and State streets.

The units would feature two-car garages, which would be entered from the rear of the buildings.

Hamilton Street would be connected through the site.

The units would contain two or three bedrooms and range in size from 1,780 to 2,300 square feet.

Commissioners hesitated, though, because the developer does not plan to extend Seventh Street from State north on the eastern edge. The city wants that street extended to serve development on the Cetron site, potential redevelopments of a strip mall to the east and possibly the Burgess-Norton factory site. The Cetron site is identified as an opportunity site in the city's Downtown/Station Area Master Plan.

"I'm disappointed that Seventh Street isn't connecting, but it is not the end of the world either," Commissioner Cindy Leidig said.

But Vice Chairman John Mead, in a letter read because he was absent, said he couldn't support the plan because of the lack of the extension.

"We should not approve a site plan which takes that away completely," he wrote. He also said the plan "had no sense of community."

Damir Latinovic, a senior planner for Elgin who lives on Richards, said the site is a gateway to the downtown, and he disagreed with having four or five townhouses facing State. It should be commercial, to extend the downtown west to Anderson Boulevard, he said.

"You guys (the commission) are really too nice. Hold firm on your demands. Hold firm on what you believe in," Latinovic said.

Several residents said not extending Seventh is a positive thing.

The developer now has to decide whether to submit an application to build. If it does, the city will notify people who have signed up for notifications, plus owners of nearby properties whom it is legally obligated to notify. The proposal is also noted on the city's development projects map on its website.

In 2015, another developer had proposed to build a five-story building, containing 219 apartments plus stores and a parking garage. Hundreds of residents spoke out against that plan.

The Cetron factory closed in the 1980s. The vacant building was razed in 2015.

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