Residential zoning granted for part of Nokia property in Naperville

  • The northern 67 acres of the Nokia property have been rezoned for residential use so the company can sell the land to a housing developer.

    The northern 67 acres of the Nokia property have been rezoned for residential use so the company can sell the land to a housing developer. Daily Herald file photo April 2018

Updated 4/8/2020 1:27 PM

Naperville City Council members would rather see houses than industrial buildings on the northern part of the Nokia property at Naperville and Warrenville roads.

That's why the council, in a unanimous vote Tuesday, granted residential zoning for the northern 67 acres of the 175-acre property. The vote was part of a series of moves to allow Nokia to sell the entire property while leasing back the building at 2000 Lucent Lane for its offices and labs.


The plan calls for a five-story building prominent along Warrenville Road to be transformed into a multitenant office center, while land on the property's north side will be sold to a developer who is planning houses and condos.

Neighbors in the unincorporated Fairmeadow subdivision described the northern portion of the Nokia site as "wetland" or "swampland" and said its best use is to remain as green space, especially as it is next to Danada Forest Preserve.

"Please be aware that drainage in this entire very wet area was poorly designed at the beginning and only got worse," Fairmeadow resident Robert Rubens said.

Fairmeadow resident Tim Feldballe said the city should require studies of drainage, wetlands, environmental impact and traffic before granting rezoning. But Bill Novack, director of transportation, engineering and development, said those due diligence steps would not be taken by a housing developer until new zoning is in place.

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Mayor Steve Chirico said the requested R2 zoning is a better fit with nearby homes than the current zoning for office, research or industrial use. Chirico said he's seen several proposals for industrial buildings, with the most recent calling for "two really big industrial buildings and trucking companies."

"When you talk about what's in character with the neighborhood, I think this really falls into the category of 'be careful what you wish for,'" Chirico said. "To me this is a favorable upgrade request in zoning from industrial to residential."

City council member Patrick Kelly said he typically does not like rezoning without a specific development proposal. But in this case, there is an extra layer of city review built in.

The council approved a conditional use to establish a planned unit development for the northern 67 acres. That means a future housing developer will need to undergo full review from the planning and zoning commission as well as the city council.

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