Des Plaines council backs plan making developers pay for parks

 
 
Updated 4/19/2017 9:29 AM
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  • A proposed four-story, 236-unit apartment complex at 150 N. East River Road named Covington Lexington Woods would be the first to pay impact fees for new parks under a measure that won preliminary approval from the Des Plaines City Council on Monday.

    A proposed four-story, 236-unit apartment complex at 150 N. East River Road named Covington Lexington Woods would be the first to pay impact fees for new parks under a measure that won preliminary approval from the Des Plaines City Council on Monday. Courtesy of Des Plaines

Des Plaines aldermen gave preliminary approval Monday to a measure that would charge residential developers fees to create more park space as the city faces a dwindling supply of open real estate.

With several residential developments sprouting up across the city and more on the way, the city and Des Plaines Park District want builders to either incorporate green space into projects or pay fees to fund new parks.

The plan, unanimously passed Monday in the first of two required votes, applies to developments with 15 or more units. Under the plan, developers must either provide 5.5 acres of land per 1,000 new residents generated, pay a fee in lieu of providing land, or a combination of both. The formula assumes a land value of $200,000 per acre.

The city is below the national average for park space. Park and recreation agencies typically provide about 9.5 acres per 1,000 residents, according to the National Recreation and Park Association. Des Plaines' rate is about 5.5 acres per 1,000 residents. Nearby communities have about 7.3 acres per 1,000 residents, according to the city.

The new fee system will soon be put to the test. In a separate vote Monday, aldermen gave initial approval to a four-story, 236-unit apartment complex at 150 N. East River Road called Covington Lexington Woods.

Under the fee formula, the developer would be required to pay about $488,000. However, the total payment could be reduced to about $400,000 because the apartment complex would get credits for including a swimming pool and bike path connected with the Cook County Forest Preserve District.

Des Plaines would not be the first northwest suburban community to enact land fees. Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Wheeling and Hoffman Estates each have various systems for charging residential developers land impact fees.

Both measures are set to be approved at the next city council meeting May 1.

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