Batavia aldermen plan to resume voting Monday on the proposal to put apartments in the former Campana factory building after delaying three weeks to get more information for themselves and for residents of the area.
But some questioned whether the delay had been worth the time and effort at a city council meeting Monday night. City staff spent about 80 hours addressing the 253 questions submitted by the public.
"I only found one thing that I hadn't heard in public testimony," 2nd Ward Alderman Alan Wolff said. "The rest of it has all been in front of us or in front of the plan commission before, asked and answered. I think we have added quite a few hours to this process." He was disappointed no aldermen submitted questions, saying he thought the council had tabled an Oct. 16 vote for that purpose.
But his wardmate, Alderman Marty Callahan, said it was worthwhile to discuss the matter more and that he didn't submit questions because his were the same as the public's.
"It was a good idea to tap the brakes. We were definitely listening to them," 3rd Ward Alderman Dan Chanzit said. But there was little new information presented that would likely change aldermen's minds, he said.
Aldermen voted 9-5 at an Oct. 10 committee meeting in favor of the plan.
The questions raised were largely the same as had been heard at previous hearings and meetings: concerns about traffic safety, the suitability of the building for people to live in, stormwater drainage, the safety of children on the grounds, and the financial effect on surrounding properties of putting in subsidized housing. "Bottom line, you have a terrible site for a great project," Geneva resident Michael Frost said.
Several questions asked whether city officials had considered the effect of a potential boycott of Randall Road businesses in Batavia, including a nearby Trader Joe's, by people who don't like the proposal.
Public comment Monday was limited by the committee to about 40 minutes. Tom Simonian, former Geneva alderman, asked that the public hearing be reopened so that a market study for which he paid could be entered as evidence. He also suggested they consider a Stanford University study that concluded that developments built using federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits revitalize property values in low-income neighborhoods but that values decline in higher-income, lower-minority neighborhoods.
Evergreen Real Estate Group has received an allocation of such credits for its proposal to put in 80 apartments, 64 of which would have subsidized rents. It is also applying for several million dollars of historic-preservation tax credits.