Will road projects outweigh density concerns about Naperville subdivision?
A developer is offering to pay $4 million to widen and extend roads along with its proposed 702-unit residential development in south Naperville.
But D.R. Horton's proposed Polo Club subdivision of apartments, townhouses and houses -- some of them age-targeted -- advances to the city council for consideration with no recommendation from the planning and zoning commission.
The six members of the commission at Wednesday's meeting cast a split 3-3 vote after hearing multiple presentations from D.R. Horton and listening to the thoughts of 27 nearby residents.
The biggest thing commissioners learned is that D.R. Horton will commit to build a new segment of Book Road all the way from 119th Street to 111th Street, even though much of that stretch is not part of the Polo Club site.
The city originally asked the developer to build Book from 119th to Wild Timothy Road in the High Meadow subdivision as a requirement for annexation of the 110-acre site, which lies north of 119th and east of Route 59 and is used as soccer fields and a horse barn.
But High Meadow residents, including homeowners association President Fred Harms, said ending the new Book segment would bring cut-through traffic past their homes as drivers seek paths to connect to Route 59 or 111th Street.
So at a cost of roughly $4 million, land acquisitioner Danielle Dash said D.R. Horton plans to build the entire segment and widen 119th Street to three lanes, adding a center turn lane to help future residents access their homes.
Some neighbors thanked D.R. Horton for the change on Book Road. Others said they don't want it in their backyard, despite the fact a 100-foot-wide right of way has been planned for the street since the mid-1990s when High Meadow was constructed and the mid-2000s when the South Pointe subdivision was built.
"Putting in this road is going to kill the natural beauty of this treasured space," South Pointe resident Keith Sheffer said about the nearby Riverview Farmstead Forest Preserve in Will County. "Just because it was in the plan 20 years ago doesn't mean it's a good idea today."
Traffic was the top concern for some on the planning and zoning commission, who said a full Book Road connection could go a long way to solve potential problems. But commission President Kamala Martinez said that applies only if the developer agrees to put in the street right away.
"This road is so critical to this development that this road has to be there before the people come in the homes," Martinez said. "Because, otherwise, traffic on 119th is going to be horrific."
The density of Polo Club, at 6.35 units per acre, also worried neighbors and planning and zoning commissioners. Those opposed to the number of residences say the switch from a low-density, single-family zoning designation in High Meadow and South Pointe to a medium-density multifamily designation in Polo Club is too jarring and won't be compatible.
But offering a variety of options for a variety of buyers is exactly what the development aims to do, D.R. Horton leaders say, helping bring more than just large stand-alone houses to an area of south Naperville dominated by that kind of residence.
Karen Courney with the city's senior task force cheered the development for offering senior living in an area that also could be multigenerational, as she said many older adults don't want to live near only those their own age.
Chris Naatz, vice president of city operations for D.R. Horton, painted potential residents as grandparents who want to downsize while living near their children and grandchildren, or young adult sons and daughters of longtime Naperville residents who need to save for a down payment.
"We take the high standard of Naperville very seriously. We planned a community to live up to that standard," Naatz said. "We want to be in Naperville and its surrounding areas for many years to come."
The city council can approve or deny the builder's annexation request.