Road requirement complicates request for Naperville subdivision
When 25 neighbors spoke against a proposed residential development in south Naperville, they blasted the developer for planning too many units that could bring too much traffic.
Now several residents are turning their criticism to constraints set by the city, which they say are leading the developer to squeeze too many homes onto available land.
In order to annex 110 acres north of 119th Street and east of Route 59, the city is requiring homebuilder D.R. Horton, Inc. to construct a new segment of Book Road on the property and four blocks to the north, to connect with Wild Timothy Road in the High Meadow subdivision.
Omar Rodriguez-Caballero, division president of D.R. Horton's Chicago division, said in a written statement the company has "worked in cooperation with the city to incorporate road improvements."
Plans for the Polo Club subdivision call for 290 apartments, 226 townhouses, 93 ranch-style townhouses and 93 ranch-style houses for older adults. Apartments would rent for $1,600 a month, with houses and townhouses costing from the upper-$200,000s to the mid-$400,000s.
But residents Fred Harms and Jeff Maxick, who live in the nearby High Meadow and South Pointe subdivisions, say the cost of building Book Road north of the proposed neighborhood is leading D.R. Horton to pack the site.
"The three parties need to collaborate," Maxick said.
Road extension plan
Book Road is an issue because it stops and starts in south Naperville. Between 111th and 119th street, Book Road does not go through -- at least not in a form wide enough for cars. It also tends to flood.
Bill Novack, director of transportation, engineering and development, said the city plans in 2022 to conduct an engineering study of a Book Road extension that would bring the road outside the flood-prone area. The study could cost $271,000, but the city hasn't projected when the road might be built or how much it would cost.
So when officials received D.R. Horton's proposal to turn a site now used as soccer fields and a horse barn into Polo Club, Novack said they saw an opportunity to kick-start the south part of the Book Road connection.
"If you want to annex this property into Naperville," Novack said the city told the developer, "we're telling you as part of your project you've got to build it at least to Wild Timothy."
Novack estimates that stretch of Book Road would cost up to $2 million. But he doubts the cost is driving D.R. Horton's designs.
"They probably would have wanted to build with this density no matter what we asked for," he said. "They build homes. That's their business."
Rodriguez-Caballero said a plan presented June 20 "reflects our efforts thus far" to meet city specifications. The plan will be discussed at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Naperville municipal center.
The problem with the road requirement, nearby resident Harms says, is that it will bring cut-through traffic into his neighborhood. Drivers who head north on the new Book Road will be funneled onto Wild Timothy, where the new Book would end. From there, motorists must drive past his neighbors' homes to Route 59 or 111th Street.
Maxick said the city could alleviate the cut-through concern by building Book Road south from 111th to Wild Timothy at the same time D.R. Horton builds it north from 119th. Otherwise, he said, "you're building this community with literally no infrastructure to support it."
South of the proposed Polo Club homes, Plainfield-area residents such as Beth Quint have a different concern. The only entrance to the Polo Club apartments off 119th would be aligned with the only entrance to her home in Wolf's Creek.
"I can't get out of my subdivision," Quint said. "That's my problem."
Traffic on 119th can back up heading west toward Route 59, and Quint said that only would worsen with more cars from the Polo Club.
She started a petition at change.org, calling on residents to oppose the development on grounds of density, traffic, the burden on Plainfield Unit District 202 schools and environmental effects to a nearby Will County forest preserve. By Monday afternoon, 1,927 people had signed it.
South Pointe resident James Urso created a website, planforus.org, and ordered orange yard signs opposing the high number of housing units.