Discussion on Elburn Station will wait another week

in Elburn by

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—A number of residents showed up at Tuesday’s Village Board meeting, but those who thought they would witness a discussion regarding the Elburn Station came away disappointed.

Village President Dave Anderson outlined the four issues he said trustees want to see resolved before moving forward with the ShoDeen development, but no discussion took place, as trustee Ethan Hastert was out of the country, and Anderson said it was important that all board members take part in the discussion.

Anderson said the four issues are: the number of apartments, senior housing, financing the development, and the pedestrian bridge.

The current plan for Elburn Station calls for 800 rental units out of 2,200 homes built out over the next 20 years. Many of the apartments had been designated in a previous plan as condominiums. Board members have said repeatedly that they do not want that high of a ratio of apartments to single-family housing.

Trustees have also said that they would like to see some of the rental units turned into senior housing to give residents the option of living in Elburn throughout their lives.

At least some trustees are still concerned about the financing for the development, especially given Elburn’s experience with Blackberry Creek. B&B Enterprises did not complete all of the infrastructure improvements within the subdivision. Four years later, the village is just now obtaining a commitment from the bond company to finance the remaining work.

Board members have made several suggestions for how to mitigate those concerns, including the requirement that one phase of the development be close to complete before allowing work to begin on subsequent phases.

The fourth issue involves funding for the pedestrian bridge. The developer has offered to pay $25 per unit toward the cost of the bridge, which board members say is not enough.

Residents Thomas Gush and Fred Houdek during the meeting expressed their concern about the lack of progress the board has made with the development plan. Houdek said that he did not think there should be such negativity about renters that would live in the ShoDeen development, and that people should not assume renters don’t take care of the property in which they live.

Houdek also expressed concern that if the board did not act soon, the development would pass over Elburn to west of Route 47.

Gush said he understands that there are some issues to resolve with the developer, but he does not think they are insurmountable. He expanded on his concerns after the meeting.

“The city council isn’t doing what they should be doing. I don’t hear any compromise,” Gush said, also noting that “somebody is always absent.”

Gush said he and his wife moved to Elburn nine years ago because he felt the town had a bright future. Nowadays, he is not seeing the progressiveness he had hoped for the village.

“We’re not moving forward,” he said. “There is a sunset provision on this money from the feds (for the Anderson Road extension and bridge). My concern is that we put it off and put it off, and we will lose that money. And then the future of Elburn is finished.”

Anderson said that the discussion will take place at the village’s Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, Jan. 28, 7 p.m. at Village Hall.

“Next week, we’ll bring it forward,” he said. “We’ll come to some consensus and take it to the developer.”

Anderson said there could be a vote by mid-February, and emphasized that there will be some changes.

“We need to think about what we want to look like 20 years from now,” he said.

In the meantime, board members encourage residents to attend the Comprehensive Land Use Open House on Thursday, Jan. 24 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Lions Park.

“We need (the public’s) input,” trustee Bill Grabarek said.