Should 30 townhouses replace 3 houses in Naperville?
A small patch of unincorporated land near Naperville now holds three houses, but a proposal that's drawing opposition from neighbors could bring 30 townhouses to the three-acre site.
A plan to build the 30 units in eight townhouse buildings and annex the property just north of Ogden Avenue into the city of Naperville doesn't fit with the surrounding neighborhoods of detached houses, according to more than a dozen homeowners who oppose the development.
"It doesn't seem to belong," resident Mike Marek said as he gathered with others to view the site. "Clearly, a lot of people think this is not the right thing to do."
The proposal for Bauer Place, at the southwest corner of Bauer Road and Charles Street, calls for three-story buildings accessible by two driveways on Charles. The idea is scheduled to go before the planning and zoning commission for the third time July 8 after neighbors raised concerns about density, compatibility, building height and traffic. More than 280 neighbors have signed an online petition opposing the project.
"Bauer is all single-family homes from East Avenue, which is just east of their proposed development, all the way to Mill (Street)," Marek said. "We expressed concerns about having three-story townhouses on a residential street."
Across Charles Street from the proposed development is a string of six townhouses built in the mid-2000s. Neighbors say that development isn't too dense for the space it occupies, but putting in 30 more townhouses across the street would add a dangerous amount of traffic to Bauer Road.
"If they wanted to put six in, I don't think anybody would have a problem with it," Marek said. "We just don't understand how they can rationalize this."
City planners who reviewed the proposal said it is consistent with a plan that guides development along the Ogden Avenue corridor because the plan calls for "residential uses" on the property. Building townhouses along Charles between a gas station and a rental car facility on Ogden and the houses along Bauer could serve as a transitional zone, planner Derek Rockwell said in a memo.
But planning and zoning commission member Carrie Hansen said the Ogden Avenue plan is ambiguous because it doesn't specify the preferred density for residential development near Ogden.
In order for Bauer Place to be built, the land would have to be rezoned into a medium-density residential classification. Neighbors, including David Shang, who owns the property on Bauer immediately west of the proposed development, say the site should not be rezoned because townhouses are not compatible.
"I bought this property based on the fact it was zoned single-family and all the areas around it were also single-family," Shang said.
Len Monson, an attorney representing the developer, said during a June planning and zoning commission hearing that detached houses aren't the best land use next to the rental car facility on Ogden. He said Bauer Place would provide a "large buffer" between the buildings and Bauer Road and there would be no driveway built on Bauer.
Neighbors said representatives of Oak Creek Capital Partners are scheduled to meet with them before the planning and zoning commission next reviews the proposal. That review is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 8 in the council chambers at the municipal center, 400 S. Eagle St.