Proposed Route 59 mixed-use development in Warrenville clears first hurdle
Warrenville plan commissioners have endorsed a proposed $73 million mixed-use development along Route 59, despite opposition from neighbors.
M/I Homes of Chicago LLC wants to acquire nearly 33 acres on the east side of Route 59 at Duke Parkway, less than a mile north of I-88.
But M/I Homes first needs permission from the city to construct 89 townhouses on the property and set aside roughly 3.5 acres for commercial development. Atlantic Realty Partners, which is partnering with M/I Homes, would build a 259-unit apartment complex.
The plan commission Thursday night unanimously agreed to recommend that the city council approve the project.
"I'm for this development because what we need in this town, I think, is more people to attract more services and industries," Commissioner Robert Pepple said.
Chairman John Davis said Warrenville's "slow and gradual" population increase hasn't been enough to attract businesses and investment to the city of roughly 13,000.
"This is an appropriate project in an appropriate location," Davis said.
Still, almost all of the roughly 45 residents who attended the more than three-hour meeting voiced strong opposition.
George Wundsam said he and others have concerns about traffic, noise pollution and light pollution.
Neighbors also say the project is too dense for the property, which is next to a residential neighborhood with large wooded lots.
As part of the plan, there would be 17 townhouse buildings and seven three-story apartment buildings. The site also would include detached garages, surface parking and a 7,000-square-foot clubhouse.
Wundsam said he believes the layout is "crammed" and should have fewer apartments. He said Warrenville should try to get more single-family homes and townhouses.
"Think about towns like Downers Grove, Park Ridge and Wheaton," Wundsam said. "They've done a great job. We can do a great job, too. We don't need these apartments."
Some residents raised concerns about falling property values for houses near the site, which is south of Ivan Albright Street and northwest of the Illinois Prairie Path.
But Ronald Mentzer, director of community and economic development, said no one has given the city "factual-based information" showing property values would suffer.
He said the townhouses are projected to sell for roughly $330,000. That's "as high, if not higher, than some of the houses" in that area, Mentzer said.
When it comes to stormwater management, officials say the project would have "an extensive and interconnected" 9-acre system of detention ponds, wetland enhancement and floodplain protection.
In addition, the mixed-use development would create less traffic than a commercial project, they say. Mentzer said an "extremely conservative" commercial development on the property would generate three or four times more traffic.
Still, resident Patricia Joseph said she believes the development would help change Warrenville's "small-town feel."
"It breaks my heart to see the character of this town is changing so dramatically," she said.
While the council isn't expected to review the proposal until Aug. 6, some members already are voicing their opinion.
Alderman Stuart Aschauer said he doesn't support the project because he's opposed to the apartments.
Mayor David Brummel, meanwhile, defended the proposal before the plan commission's vote. "In terms of the long-term best interest of the community, this is a very positive development," he said.