Downtown Arlington Heights apartment project rejected again

  • The latest plans for a 5-story, 80-unit apartment building on Sigwalt Street between Highland and Chestnut avenues were rejected by the Arlington Heights village board Monday night.

    The latest plans for a 5-story, 80-unit apartment building on Sigwalt Street between Highland and Chestnut avenues were rejected by the Arlington Heights village board Monday night. Courtesy of Village of Arlington Heights

 
 
Updated 3/20/2018 6:15 AM

After rejecting an earlier version, the Arlington Heights village board Monday denied the latest plan for an apartment complex on a portion of a long-vacant block downtown.

After 2 hours of deliberation, presentations by the developer and public comment, the board voted 4-4 to deny a proposed 5-story, 80-unit apartment building on Sigwalt Street between Highland and Chestnut avenues.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"A vote against this is going to stop downtown redevelopment, but I also know a vote for it directly affects the neighborhood," said Trustee Thomas Glasgow, who voted "no" along with Robin LaBedz, Mike Sidor and Richard Baldino. "It's not a bad plan in my personal judgment. But I don't think it meets the character and locality."

To pass, the project needed six votes of the nine-member board. Trustee Jim Tinaglia recused himself because his architecture firm is designing plans for a development on the other two-thirds of the vacant block west of the Vail Avenue parking garage.

Mayor Tom Hayes, who voted "yes" with Trustees Carol Blackwood, Bert Rosenberg and John Scaletta, said CA Development improved upon its earlier plans to make the building more aesthetically pleasing and made practical improvements such as a delivery loading zone.

After the board rejected initial plans by an 8-1 tally last October, the developer dropped the number of units to 80 from 88, increased the number of parking spaces to 120 from 110, reduced the building height to 60 feet from 62.5 feet, and had the top floor recede to help soften the building mass when viewed from the street.

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"As a result of your input, this project is the best it can be," Hayes told residents in a crowded village boardroom. "Is it perfect? No. We're never going to get something that will satisfy everyone there."

The village staff supported the developer's rezoning request from single-family residential to multifamily residential and granted 11 variations, and it said the project fit with the village comprehensive and downtown master plans calling for a high-density residential project of 4 to 6 stories.

Neighbors like Keith Allen, who lives across the street on Chestnut, argued the latest plans were still too dense and not harmonious with the surrounding neighborhood.

"It's basically still the same box. It's just wrapped in different wrapping paper," Allen said.

Village officials received petitions on both sides of the issue, with 230 signatures in favor and 453 against.

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