Plan for 500 homes in south Naperville still raising traffic concerns

Complaints about traffic backups on 119th Street divided members of a Naperville panel reviewing whether a subdivision of 500 homes proposed for unincorporated land should be allowed to be built and added to the city.

Four members of the city's planning and zoning commission said plans for a development called Polo Club on 110 acres north of 119th Street and east of Route 59 are much improved from last summer because of reduced density, added parkland, a longer road extension, removal of apartments, an addition of bike path connections and planned construction of a turn lane.

"Through community meetings and efforts of staff and the petitioner, those priority concerns have been addressed," Commissioner Bruce Hanson said.

But four other members said the project still shouldn't be approved because it doesn't go far enough to address lengthy backups on 119th heading west toward Route 59 and it would add more residents to an already traffic-burdened area with insufficient infrastructure.

"We're just not quite there yet on the traffic piece, which I think is an underlying concern," Commissioner Andrew Margulies said. "Even issues with density come back to traffic."

The impasse at the commission level means the proposal from the Chicago office of national builder D.R. Horton is set to advance toward city council consideration with no recommendation.

Polo Club first riled neighbors in June 2018, when D.R. Horton was proposing 723 units - 290 of them apartments - and an extension of Book Road north from 119th Street only to Wild Timothy Road in the High Meadow subdivision.

Meetings with neighbors pushed the company to change its plans and build Book all the way to 111th Street to prevent cut-through traffic entering the High Meadow area, land acquisitioner Danielle Dash said. Neighbors' concerns also led to addition of a right-turn lane from westbound 119th Street to northbound Route 59, which could help more cars get through going straight during each traffic signal.

"We've come here today with solutions," Dash said.

Polo Club plans now call for four neighborhoods to be built on the property that's currently home to soccer fields and a horse barn.

The project would include 50 houses, 88 age-targeted houses for seniors, 269 three-story townhouses and 93 ranch-style townhouses targeted toward seniors. It also includes 3 acres of parkland dedicated to the Naperville Park District, a 1.25-acre park to be maintained by a homeowners association, 14 acres of naturalized wetlands and a clubhouse.

Despite many changes, neighbors continue to express concerns. A group called "Plan For Us" brought roughly a dozen speakers to Wednesday night's meeting sharing stories of long waits on 119th Street to access Route 59, complaining about the potential of a subdivision more dense than their own, and questioning whether targeting homes toward seniors makes sense in an area with hardly any walkable shopping, dining or transportation connections.

No matter what happens next, Hanson encouraged the residents to keep advocating.

"You have allowed this project to become a better project," he said. "Stay involved because that roadway needs to be improved."

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