Neighbors surprised by 6 units added to Naperville townhouse plan
Neighbors who weren't happy when Naperville approved development of 22 townhouses at Charles Street and Bauer Road now are likely to see six more built nearby.
The city last month annexed three acres at the southwest corner of Charles and Bauer, where Oak Creek Capital Partners LLC presented plans for a 22-unit development called Bauer Place.
Annexation and rezoning into a medium-density residential designation came after nearly a year of contested back-and-forth that saw the project shrink from 30 units in eight buildings to 22 units in six buildings.
But council members and residents say never during that year did the developer mention its idea for the property across the street -- at the southeast corner -- where plans were submitted June 14 that call for six more townhouses in two buildings.
"How is it that the actual plans for a highly contested development project were never shown to the residents?" neighbor Mark Marek said. "It is very questionable if this project would have ever gotten as far as it did if the developer had not omitted six units from the plan."
Council member Rebecca Boyd-Obarski, who lives near the site and voted against the annexation and rezoning, said several council members were "really caught off-guard" by the late-breaking addition.
But because the property at the southeast corner across from the main Bauer Place site already is incorporated and zoned appropriately for medium-density residences, the developer was not required to bring it up during annexation proceedings. That's exactly why it was not part of Oak Creek's petition for annexation of the main site, said Len Monson, an attorney who represented the company.
"Even if we had not been able to impact it legally," Boyd-Obarski said about the additional site, "I think putting it on the table would have helped all of us envision what was to come. That is a loss for the city and this neighborhood."
Mayor Steve Chirico said it's not like information about the status of the property across the street from Bauer Place was withheld. One house stands there now, and no one thought to ask how it was zoned, he said. But he also was unaware of plans to build townhouses there until documents were submitted June 14, so he understands why nearby residents are concerned.
"I think it's understandable that they're not happy about it. You want to have all the information," Chirico said. "I certainly understand why the residents feel a little burned by that."
Chirico said knowledge of plans for six more townhouses only would have solidified his vote that this type of housing is the best fit for the area, which transitions between businesses on Ogden to the south and houses to the north and west.
Neighbors said they weren't opposed to townhouses at Charles and Bauer, but they wanted fewer units with shorter heights designed to face the streets instead of one another within the property. Concerns about density, traffic, stormwater and compatibility with what they say is a neighborhood of single-family houses drove their opposition.
"Residents of our area are very upset," Marek said about the addition of more units. "This was an omission of a material fact which would have been highly relevant to the discussion on the compatibility of the overall plan to the area."
City staff members are reviewing designs of the six new units and have not yet determined if they meet all requirements of the zoning code. If the units are compliant, the city council will need to approve a subdivision plat, but that process will not include a public hearing.