How will 5th Avenue redevelopment move forward in Naperville? Council to consider 5 options.

  • Naperville City Council members are set to discuss the path forward for redeveloping the 5th Avenue area near the downtown Metra station during a meeting at 7 p.m. today in the municipal center at 400 S. Eagle St.

    Naperville City Council members are set to discuss the path forward for redeveloping the 5th Avenue area near the downtown Metra station during a meeting at 7 p.m. today in the municipal center at 400 S. Eagle St. Daily Herald file photo, October 2017

 
 
Updated 11/5/2019 8:41 AM

Naperville City Council members decided not to move forward with a baseline concept for redevelopment of the 5th Avenue area that was presented by developer Ryan Companies after two years of talks and work.

So today, the council is set to take up the question of what comes next for the idea of revamping 13 city-owned acres near the Naperville downtown Metra station.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Discussion during a meeting at 7 tonight in the municipal center at 400 S. Eagle St. is expected to begin with six options that could create a path forward for the project, despite a 6-3 vote last month against progressing with the second round of designs by Ryan Companies as a starting point.

Options include covering the topic during a city council workshop to try to reach consensus on items such as parking, affordable housing, density and financing; considering 5th Avenue during a strategic planning process about overall city priorities in early 2020; and putting the issue to voters with a referendum question.

Three other options -- two devised by residents who have served on a 5th Avenue steering committee that was created to guide development, and one put forward by city council member Patrick Kelly -- also are in play.

Bob Buckman, representing the Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation, has suggested a neighbor-driven planning process in which a group of residents from the four neighborhoods surrounding 5th Avenue get together to share what they'd like to see built and "try to contribute to solving the problem."

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"Let's give the neighbors an opportunity to move forth and to get their opinions heard," Buckman said. "And then let's just see where this will take us."

Jessica Lyzun, a representative of the Pilgrim Addition neighborhood northwest of 5th Avenue, has proposed the city reconvene the steering committee to meet every two weeks while adding a facilitator, changing the way meetings are run and being sure to discuss project costs and trade-offs.

Kelly, who served as a Pilgrim Addition representative on the steering committee before being elected to the city council in April, plans to propose moving forward with the baseline concept Ryan Companies presented in September -- with some changes. The revisions he proposes would reduce density, height and rental housing units; add a stormwater management plan for Pilgrim Addition; and change layouts of a plaza and some parking.

Mayor Steve Chirico said these resident ideas could run parallel with a city council workshop to determine if there is enough agreement to move forward. If desired, a workshop likely would be scheduled for January or later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I don't object to members of the community getting together and brainstorming on what they think is acceptable," Chirico said, "as long as they understand -- and this is important -- as long as they understand that that's one piece of the information that we use to make decisions."

But continuing the planning work that began in February 2017, when the city issued a request for qualifications from developers, now requires committed council buy-in, Chirico said.

That's because to sell or lease the 5th Avenue land to Ryan Companies for construction of potential features, such as parking garages, apartments, row houses, offices and retail space, would require positive votes from seven of the nine council members.

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