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updated: 9/7/2017 5:11 PM

North Naperville neighbors fear townhouse development trend

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  • The Bauer Place development north of Ogden Avenue in Naperville includes 28 townhouses that are built or under construction, and a third phase approved this week will add nine more units.

      The Bauer Place development north of Ogden Avenue in Naperville includes 28 townhouses that are built or under construction, and a third phase approved this week will add nine more units.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • This empty lot at the southwest corner of Bauer Road and East Avenue is where nine more townhouses will be built on roughly an acre adjacent the Bauer Place townhouses in Naperville.

      This empty lot at the southwest corner of Bauer Road and East Avenue is where nine more townhouses will be built on roughly an acre adjacent the Bauer Place townhouses in Naperville.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
 

The addition of nine more units to a townhouse development in Naperville has nearby residents noticing a trend they don't like.

The city council this week rezoned a 1-acre site at the southwest corner of Bauer Road and East Avenue to allow nine more townhouses to be built adjacent Bauer Place, which already includes 28 units that are finished or under construction.

Neighbors opposed Bauer Place for nearly a year before its construction was approved in two phases in May and June 2016. The first phase included 22 units, a number neighbors and city officials convinced the developer to whittle down from 30, while the second added six more units on land that already was zoned appropriately.

When the third phase was proposed, nearby resident Mike Marek said neighbors in the Edgewood subdivision felt approval was "a done deal." He said they don't appreciate the addition of more housing density and traffic in their area, which lies on the city's north side near the busy Ogden Avenue.

"Nine more units on 1 acre is simply too many for that area," Marek said. "It's the continuation of the trend away from single-family homes and toward townhouses."

Some say more variety in housing types is a good thing for Naperville, as it allows residences to be for sale or rent at a variety of prices that more people can afford.

"That development has turned out quite nice," said Mayor Steve Chirico, who supported the additional nine units for Bauer Place, along with seven city council members including everyone on the panel except Rebecca Boyd-Obarski.

But Bauer Place neighbors say the move has them concerned other properties for sale in the area soon could be turned into more townhouses instead of torn down and replaced one house at a time.

"It clearly has redefined that portion of Bauer," said nearby resident Steve Peterson, who opposed Bauer Place's plans last year when he was a member of the city's planning and zoning commission. "It clearly changed the dynamics of the neighborhood."

Concerns with traffic congestion, pedestrian safety and school crowding remain if more townhouses are to be built in an area where neighbors say several lots are for sale.

"They didn't become easier to sell as single-family homes when the townhouses were built," Marek said.

Before approving the additional units, Boyd-Obarski and council member Patty Gustin asked Bauer Place's developer, Oak Creek Capital Partners LLC, to upgrade plans by adding benches or another "amenity" for residents to use as an outdoor gathering place. The project's attorney, Len Monson, said the builder will do just that.

"The idea was we were building a community on this site," Boyd-Obarski said, "and giving people that opportunity to interact with each other in that way, not just putting up townhouses,"

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