No vote yet
Elburn Station annexation hearing remains open
by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—There’s still time to make your voice heard concerning the Elburn Station annexation agreement with ShoDeen.
Village trustees decided not to take a vote at the board meeting on Monday, and the hearing, opened nearly three months ago, will remain open. With the absence of vacationing trustee Ken Anderson, the board agreed to put off the vote until Monday, Aug. 20, when all the board members will be present.
During the continued hearing, some community members expressed their views. All were against the development, except for one.
In a letter received by trustee Jerry Schmidt, one family supported the annexation citing the high quality of work ShoDeen has done in other developments.
Two other letters, also read aloud at the meeting, were opposed to the development. One letter with 15 signatures argued that with so many foreclosures and unsold homes, and Blackberry Creek development incomplete, another development did not make sense. Another message talked about choosing to move to Elburn for its rural nature, which would be changed by a large development.
Community members in attendance at the meeting also addressed the board with their concerns. Paul Molitor spoke against the development, reminding the board that during the concept meeting, Village Hall was standing-room-only with people against the project. He told the board that some of the people who came then believed they had done what they could.
When asked if they would come back now that a vote is about to be taken, many said they had already voiced their opinions. Others said that it’s happening anyway and there’s nothing to do to stop it.
Elburn resident Ron Rosecky expressed his lack of understanding that the board has been hearing negative feedback and yet is appearing to go forward.
“I’m bewildered that, on hearing the responses from the general population, I don’t know if it’s going to affect your decision or not,” Rosecky said. “I’ve found out (by hearing other negative responses) that I’m not the only one. There are other people. I don’t know if you’re listening or not.”
Trustee Bill Graberek summarized his concerns with the Elburn Station development. He cited a lack of clarity and form regarding the water and sewer and other parts of the project until the final presentation.
“It’s down to the zero hour, and I still have problems with all this. Like trustee (Jeff) Walter said, we need a time line of how this will play out,” Grabarek said.
Grabarek said he had initially agreed to go forward with the planning under the condition that a bikeway-pedway be built. Now that he has seen the figures, it’s clear that ShoDeen is not paying enough, he said. The developer will pay $25 per unit for the pedestrian bridge—much less than it would cost to build even at total build-out of the development, according to Graberek. He called that amount “insultingly token” and “stingy.”
Another objection Grabarek expressed was that the village is under pressure to approve the development in order to get the Anderson bridge built. He stated that it would be better to let it happen and not tie it to the development.
“That is a pressure we should not have let ourselves get into. We’ve been held hostage to this whole damn thing. The county has been hesitant to take it by eminent domain,” Grabarek said. “We’ve been talking about a bridge for years and years, but I don’t want to be held hostage with a symbolic gun to my head.”
“I suggest we plan on voting on this issue Aug. 20,” Village President Dave Anderson said.