Neighbors oppose proposed subdivision near West Chicago
A proposal to build a subdivision of ranch homes on most of the shuttered Planter's Palette garden nursery near West Chicago is facing opposition from residents who say the project would exacerbate traffic problems and harm the character of their neighborhood.
Planter's Palette recently closed after nearly 40 years of business. Now Pulte Homes wants to buy 35 acres of the roughly 40-acre property south of Roosevelt and Garys Mills roads and east of Purnell Road.
But first, Pulte needs permission from DuPage County to construct an 84-home subdivision that would be called Trillium Farm. The county's zoning board of appeals this week started its review of the homebuilder's request for zoning relief.
Russ Whitaker, an attorney for Pulte, says the project would provide more housing options for seniors.
"The underlying concept of this subdivision is to create a low-maintenance, ranch-style community that will help diversify the local housing stock and meet the needs of an aging population," Whitaker said during a Thursday night public hearing.
The houses would have first-floor master bedrooms and an option for second-floor lofts. A homeowners association would handle all landscaping, snow removal and other outdoor maintenance on the lots and common areas.
Trillium Farm wouldn't be an age-restricted community, so it's possible the subdivision would have non-seniors and families.
Still, Whitaker said the project is designed to be "very attractive" to the senior demographic.
He also said Trillium Farm would be "a positive development" for the neighborhood.
But more than 60 people attended Thursday's public hearing, and everyone who spoke during the 2½-hour meeting voiced concerns.
Herb Wigder, president of the West-Win Homeowners' Association, said the association opposes the project.
Pulte is seeking an exception to DuPage's zoning regulations so the project could have lot sizes as small as 6,900 square feet. That's significantly smaller than the minimum lot the county normally allows in that area.
"Such a change is not consistent with nearby lot sizes and would significantly, negatively impact the character and ambience of this neighborhood," Wigder said.
Traffic is another major concern for residents.
Trillium Farm would have two proposed entrances on Purnell Road. But residents say traffic on Purnell already backs up regularly at Winfield Road. Building more homes would only compound the problem, they say.
"Over the years, Purnell Road has become increasingly crowded," said resident Beverly Becker, adding the existing situation has created "a lot of hazards" for drivers and pedestrians.
Pulte's attorneys said there would "only be a minimal increase in traffic from the subdivision on Purnell Road." Still, the zoning board of appeals has directed Pulte to complete a traffic study before the public hearing resumes on Dec. 19.
After the zoning board reviews the proposal, it will make a recommendation to the DuPage County Board, which has final say.
If approved, the houses in the subdivision would have unincorporated DuPage addresses. West Chicago would provide water and sewer utilities.