Batavia plan panel starts reviewing Campana proposal

Updated 8/31/2017 6:30 AM

The Batavia Plan Commission got its chance Wednesday to dig in to the proposal to put 80 apartments in the former Campana factory building.

After ending a public hearing that took more than eight hours on three nights, commissioners asked the developer about parking, entrances, sidewalks, glass-block windows, traffic safety, parking-lot lighting and more for the site, at Fabyan Parkway and Batavia Avenue (Route 31).


Evergreen Real Estate Group proposes to construct 80 apartments inside the former factory, which is on the Batavia side of the city's border with Geneva.

At least 64 of the units would be designated for publicly subsidized housing. It needs the plan commission's approval of its design and city council approval of its request for a zoning-map amendment and a revised plat of subdivision.

Because the building is a local landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the plan also needs approvals from the city, county and state historic-preservation agencies and the federal government.

The original factory, built in the 1930s, features Art Deco/Bauhaus architecture and is noteworthy for its bands of glass-block windows.

The commission did not discuss the topic of subsidized housing, although speakers from the public again raised the issue.

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A speaker from the Fox River Valley Initiative reiterated that the group supports the idea. But one Geneva resident submitted a report that she said indicated putting subsidized housing near middle-income housing decreases the other properties' values.

Another, Andrew Oswald, said that subsidized housing does not help people become prosperous, and that if it is to be built, it should be built in urban areas, "to help them prosper in the communities where they already are."

Some in the crowd grumbled when commission chairman Tom LaLonde strictly enforced a three-minute limit on comments and questions. He also warned people that if they raised topics had been previously addressed by other speakers, they would be cut off.

Many of them submitted written lists of questions and other documents, and sked the commission to obtain specific answers to those questions.

The commission continued its discussion to its Sept. 6 meeting.

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