A 16-lot subdivision of single-family homes might be headed to St. Charles' eastern border with West Chicago, according to a concept plan city officials gave positive feedback to this week.
Known as the Uma Prairie Estates, the ranch and two-story homes would cater to empty-nesters and senior lifestyles, according to Wheaton-based developer Vito Miulli. It's because of that focus that Miulli and his attorney, John Antonopoulos, are asking for a few diversions from city code. Some of the proposed lots would run about 280 square feet smaller than allowed. That divergence is reflected in more narrow lots, rear yards about half the minimum size allowed and front yards that run tighter to the cul-de-sac street than seen elsewhere in the city. The road serving the subdivision is also more narrow than city officials typically approve.
Antonopoulos said the older buyers targeted for the homes wouldn't mind those differences.
"The target market is going to be people of a certain age who don't want large lawns they have to maintain," he said. "We think our solution would be quite pleasing to them. And with only 16 houses there isn't going to be much traffic."
A traffic study might help determine the accuracy of that statement. The development team has agreed to change the entrance of the cul-de-sac to ease concerns about the tight turns into the neighborhood envisioned in the original design. They have also added a landscape/berm buffer along Smith Road to prevent neighbors from having the back of the new homes dominate the view from existing housing. Pheasant Run Trails is the neighborhood to the south. West Chicago's Cornerstone Lakes is the neighbor to the north.
To the west is land known as the Petkus property. Aldermen debated a request to annex that parcel earlier this year but rejected it because of a lack of information about what would be built on the property. West Chicago also expressed concerns about the annexation.
Uma Prairie Estates sits in unincorporated DuPage County. It also seeks annexation into St. Charles. And the concept plan reviewed by St. Charles aldermen and West Chicago staff members received only questions about the positioning of the homes, landscaping and the ability of emergency vehicles to travel on the narrow access road. Antonopoulos said the ability to address those concerns is also limited by the somewhat unusual shape of the land involved.
"We've been called upon to think outside the box," Antonopoulos said. "We don't have a box. We have an arrowhead shape to deal with. It's been challenging to fit 16 lots in there. The compromises we've already made, we feel, are to our advantage and the city's advantage."
The development team noted that zoning would allow for three times the number of townhouses if maximizing density and profit were the only concerns. The team will tweak its design and bring it back to St. Charles for formal consideration.