Multiple townhouse developments proposed in Crystal Lake

Almost 180 new townhouses could be coming to Crystal Lake as multiple developers aim to build on the west and east sides of the city.

The Crystal Lake Planning and Zoning Commission approved two townhouse development proposals and discussed a third last week. A total of 178 units are proposed: 48 units at 1201 Bard Road, 55 units at 4900 S. Route 31, and 75 units at 4306 Three Oaks Road.

1201 Bard Road

Planning and zoning commissioners approved a proposal to build 48 owner-occupied townhouses southwest of the intersection of Bard and Huntley roads.

Developer Paul Swanson and his attorney Tom Burney first started working on creating Crystal Pointe Row Homes about three years ago. Developer Ram Prashantha took over the project when Swanson died in January, Burney said.

The 48 units would be two stories tall with 134 parking spaces that include 96 individual garages. Each unit would be 1,800 square feet with selling prices between $350,000 and $390,000, according to city documents.

A dog park, pickleball and basketball courts, playground, gazebo and recreational area are included in the subdivision plan. The density would be 9.08 units per acre, just slightly more than the nine-unit limit set by the city. The vacant property is about 5 acres and already is zoned as multifamily residential.

The city council approved the preliminary plan in November. Multiple residents spoke out against the plan with concerns about traffic and safety. Since then, developers added a connecting road through the property onto Huntley Road, Crystal Lake City Planner Elizabeth Maxwell said.

Nearby resident Jacquline Stinson said lining up the garbage bins along Crabapple Drive is “not acceptable.”

Norman Wentland, a neighboring resident and president of the Wedgewood Townhouse Association, said the combination of the density and the number of garbage bins is a “blueprint for disaster.”

Resident Tim Buckley said even if the density meets the city requirements, it doesn’t mean it works for the area.

“It’s not a cookie-cutter deal,” he said. “Every section of Crystal Lake is different, and to hang your hat on certain density programs isn’t what Crystal Lake is about. It’s about making it right for the people of Crystal Lake.”

The city council will vote on the proposal July 16.

4900 S. Route 31

Developer Lennar Corp. received approval from the commission in a 5-1 vote for its preliminary and final planned unit development of 55 owner-occupied townhouses at the northeast corner of Route 31 and River Birch Boulevard.

Lennar is looking to create an extension of the Woodlore Townes at 4262 Route 176. Those 47 townhouses were approved by the city in September.

The developer aims to create 55 units in 11 buildings. All of the units are three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and have a two-car garage. In total, the property will have 228 parking spaces, including eight guest parking spots. The plan has a density of 6.7 units per acre, which is below the maximum nine units.

The development is on the site of the former Ambutal health care facility, which was torn down in 2016. Ambutal was opened in 1978 by Sherman Hospital. The property, just more than 8 acres, is zoned residential estate and would need to be rezoned to multifamily residential.

Residents raised concerns over the lack of open space and parks in the area. Many neighbors are using the vacant land as an open space park, resident Kris Mose said. Commissioner Bill Gronow said he doesn’t know how realistic it is to add more open space in the for-sale parcel.

“The kids are just running around. They have no place to go,” Mose said. “It would really connect everybody if we put a bike lane and a park there. It would connect the whole community together rather than putting up more homes. We have enough homes.”

Commissioner Kathy Repholz asked Lennar to consider more open space in its plan.

“The highest and best use of it might still be that there is nothing there at all,” Repholz said.

The city council will vote on the proposal July 16.

4306 Three Oaks Road

Developers are looking to build a 75-unit townhouse complex next to the Holiday Inn at the northeast corner of Three Oaks and Sands roads called Forest View of Crystal Lake. The plot of land, just over 18 acres, already is zoned as multifamily residential after a previous proposal to create ranch-style homes in 2006 fell through.

Prashantha, who also is looking to create the townhouses on Bard Road, approached planning and zoning commissioners for a conceptual discussion, and no vote was taken.

The plan calls for 16 two-story buildings with units ranging from two to four bedrooms and including a two-car garage. Each garage would have a driveway to fit two cars for a total of 314 parking spaces, including 14 guest spots. The density is just more than seven units per acre.

There is no access to the property on Three Oaks Road. A traffic light is scheduled to be installed this summer at the intersection of Three Oaks and Sands roads, Crystal Lake Assistant City Planner Katie Rivard said.

The site has more than 1,700 trees, and developers expect to remove about 1,400. The plan has five open-space areas with a 40-foot landscape buffer along Sands Road and a 20-foot landscape buffer along the east lot line, city documents show.

“They just don’t have enough room to replace all the required trees,” Rivard said.

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