Naperville City Council signals strong support for affordable housing complex
It's not often the Naperville City Council receives a standing ovation.
But it happened Tuesday after a 9-0 vote authorizing pursuit of an affordable housing project on city land southeast of the corner of 103rd Street and Route 59 on Tower Court. As part of the potential agreement for development, a minimum of 60 units would be built for seniors and for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
When the vote finished, more than a dozen audience members clad in red shirts with "I (heart) affordable housing" written on them stood and cheered the decision -- more than a year in the making -- that paves the way for young adults with special needs to live independently.
While there are still hurdles in securing a deal between the city and the developer, Gorman and Co., the vote sent a clear signal that this is a valued project among city leadership.
"For the last year and a quarter that I've been meeting with and hearing from folks in this group, many of whom are in this room today," Councilman Ian Holzhauer said, "what I really learned is how a parent's love for their child comes out when they're fighting for a place for them to live for the rest of their life."
The city staff will negotiate with Gorman on a 99-year lease of the land. After an initial payment to the city of $570,000, an annual amount of $30,000 would be paid. If a lease agreement cannot be reached, a sale of the land to Gorman is possible.
Gorman officials placed three key contingencies on the agreement, including securing $1.9 million in grant money and a reduction in property tax obligations through the COVID-19 Affordable Housing Grant Program Act. The city also needs to provide a variance to reduce the required amount of brick facade.
The city would be responsible for an estimated $850,000 in access improvement at Route 59.
"It's been a long road," Councilwoman Jennifer Bruzan Taylor said. "I'm hopeful that this will be the step that we've been waiting for -- and the vote we've been waiting for -- so that we can continue on this journey."