SG voters help Michels keep seat

By on April 9, 2009

Michels defeats Clark in village president race, 957-514
by Susan O’Neill
Incumbent Sugar Grove Village President Sean Michels emerged the winner by a large margin on Tuesday, with 63 percent of the vote. Challenger Perry Clark received 34 percent of the vote.

“It’s a big relief,” Michels said on Wednesday. “You just never know. I didn’t want to get over-confident.”

Michels said he and his family had worked hard on his campaign, walking door-to-door and making phone calls. This is the first time that Michels has been challenged for his position as village president. He said he also received a lot of support from friends old and new during the campaign, and called it a “humbling” experience.

Michels said he sees the results as confirmation from the residents that they like what he and the board have been doing for the village.

“I hope performance is a big indicator,” he said.

He said he thinks the residents are happy with how the town is growing in a controlled way. He also thinks the village needs to keep bringing in a variety of housing, not just “affordable” housing.

“We do need starter homes, but we also need higher-end homes,” he said. “Settler’s Ridge is a good example of that mix.”

He added that Sugar Grove wisely decided not to reduce its developer fees simply to bring in more housing. Michels said the village has always based its impact fees on professional studies of growth.

“I don’t know how to prove to people that the market dictates what type of housing will sell,” he said. “If impact fees alone sold housing, more developments would be full.”

Michels said that with the current housing slow-down, it is a good time for the village to re-evaluate its previous projections for growth and re-adjust fees based on what is needed for the future.

He said he realizes that the lack of infrastructure has been a weakness for Sugar Grove in drawing more commercial development. He said there will be a lot going on in Sugar Grove in the near future, with major resurfacing of roads such as Route 47, 56 and 30. He is excited about HondaJet coming to the Aurora Airport, and he thinks the Municipal Drive and Galena Boulevard extension will put the village in a good position to attract new businesses.

“We just need to get out and sell Sugar Grove over the next four years,” he said.

Although Clark was disappointed with the outcome, he said he was glad he ran and was able to bring his issues before the people of Sugar Grove.

“The results showed me that the community is looking for more of a slow growth-type mode,” Clark said.

Clark called Michels on Tuesday night to congratulate him. He said he backs him and wishes him and the new board well.

“I told him, ‘You’re my village president now,’” he said. “I’m part of a community, not the community,” he said. “I have to support that.”