Neighbors oppose mixed-used development in Warrenville

A proposal to build a mixed-use development along Route 59 in Warrenville is facing opposition from residents who say the project would bring traffic and flooding and destroy the character of their neighborhood.

M/I Homes of Chicago LLC wants to acquire nearly 33 acres south of Ivan Albright Street and northwest of the Illinois Prairie Path for the project.

First, though, it needs permission from the city to construct 92 townhouses on the property and set aside roughly 4 acres for commercial development. Atlantic Realty Partners, which is partnering with M/I Homes, would build a 259-unit apartment complex.

"The identity and the face of this area is changing," said Greg Collins of M/I Homes. "I think this will be a nice, attractive gateway for this community."

But more than 50 people attended a plan commission hearing Thursday, and everyone who spoke during the nearly three-hour session voiced concerns.

Several said the project is too dense for the property, which is next to a residential neighborhood with large wooded lots.

"We know that you want to make this project good for our town, but we would like more input," resident Sheila Wakely told plan commissioners. "We're concerned that it's going to change the future of our neighborhood."

Resident Connie Long said her family bought their 2-acre property because they liked the "country feel."

"When we moved here, the city was adamant, telling us, 'You can never subdivide that 2-acre property,'" she said.

Now, three parcels M/I Homes wants to purchase include a single-family residence across the street from her, she said.

As part of the plan, the 92 townhouses would be in 17 buildings starting on the north at Ivan Albright and running down the central core of the development. Each unit would have two or three bedrooms and range from 1,580 square feet to 1,976 square feet. They would sell for more than $300,000 each.

The apartments would be in seven three-story buildings on roughly 11 acres. The site would include detached garages, surface parking and a 7,000-square-foot clubhouse.

The apartments would be marketed to tenants who would pay an anticipated rent of $1,200 to $2,200 a month.

Resident John Gross said he doesn't believe Warrenville needs more apartments. He and others also are concerned about flooding.

"There's already pooling in a lot of places in that farm field," Gross said. "That water is going to have to go somewhere."

As part of the project, 9.6 acres would be set aside for open space and stormwater detention.

The developer said the site is only a small part of a roughly 350-acre watershed.

Other neighbors, including Jennifer O'Malley, said they're concerned about traffic.

She said she understands why the developer wants to build as many units as possible, "but this is just too much."

Meanwhile, it's not clear what could be built on the commercial portion of the development. Collins said M/I Homes isn't actively marketing the site.

The commission made no recommendation and continued the hearing to May 10.

Opposed: Traffic, flooding among neighbors' fears

The 259-unit apartment complex in the proposed development along Route 59 would have seven three-story buildings, a clubhouse, detached garages and surface parking. Courtesy of the city of Warrenville
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