Palatine turns down affordable housing plan because of traffic, density
It's all but certainly the end of the road for a Wisconsin developer's plan to build an affordable housing building in Palatine that had been widely opposed by residents.
The Palatine village council gave the thumbs-down Monday night to the plan by Northpointe Development for a two-story, 40-unit building on 2.5 acres at 874-920 N. Quentin Road, on the southwest corner with Poplar Street. The project was allocated $15 million in low-income housing tax credits by the Illinois Housing Development Authority.
The "no" votes came from Mayor Jim Schwantz and council members Scott Lamerand, Doug Myslinski, Greg Solberg and Brad Helms. Council members Kollin Kozlowski and Tim Millar were absent.
"The vote this evening is not a referendum on affordable housing," Solberg said. "(The question is): Does this building and this use fit on this parcel? What somebody pays for rent has no bearing on this."
"The bottom line is, if it doesn't fit, it doesn't fit," Helms said.
The building would have had 19 one-bedroom units, 14 two-bedroom units and seven three-bedroom units. The neighborhood consists of single-family homes and townhouses, with an apartment complex farther north.
Village staff members had recommended turning down Northpointe's plan due to concerns about traffic, density, ease of access for emergency vehicles and the lack of a deceleration lane on Quentin Road.
The village chambers were packed for the meeting Monday. Schwantz at one point asked people in the audience to maintain decorum because some were booing and cheering at various points.
About 16 people spoke in opposition of the plan, and dozens sent emails. A petition was presented with 401 signatures against it.
"Find something else to go in this space, please, " resident Vicki Bowman said. "Try to keep our little part of Palatine the quaint little area that it has been, and the safe area, for all of our neighbors."
After the meeting, Andy Dumke, principal with Northpointe Development, said the company was "most likely" going to walk away from the Palatine plan.
"We keep getting hit with a 'Catch 22' with the neighbors to accommodate them, and then that works against us," Dumke said. "But we understand where everyone is coming from and we appreciate the council's and the plan commission's and the staff's time."
This was Northpointe's second attempt at getting approval from the village. The developer withdrew its original plan for a three-story building with 58 units after it got the thumbs-down from the plan commission last summer.
In the new plan, the building was moved closer to Quentin Road to accommodate concerns from neighbors to the west. But that reduced the building's setback from the road to 20 feet, which the village staff said was "inconsistent" with setback distances in the area.
The original plan had an entrance at Poplar Street that was eliminated in the second iteration after complaints from residents who feared too much traffic. But the resulting single point of access on Quentin Road became problematic for village staff members.
The plan commission was split on the plan, with a 3-3 vote in December.
Some plan commission members suggested downsizing the building from 40 to 36 units, so the developer on Dec. 30 submitted yet another revised plan to that effect. However, the company was told the village council couldn't examine a plan that not been reviewed by the plan commission with a public hearing, but the firm could start over and reapply with the revised 36-unit proposal.
Dumke said that, after a year of work, the company was inclined to walk away.