Residents speak: Elburn Station public hearing remains open

By on August 23, 2012

by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—With a village trustee absent again this week, the Elburn Village Board on Monday agreed to keep the Elburn Station public hearing open until all members are present. The board listened to comments from members of the public who lined up on both sides of the issue: whether to annex the Sho-Deen property that is being planned as the Elburn Station development.

Fred Houdak, a franchise business developer and former Chicago resident, spoke in favor of the development.

“I had two expectations when I moved here: one, that the Anderson Road bridge would be built, and two, that Elburn would be growing,” Houdak said. “My expectation was that Elburn was primed and ready to get growing. If you don’t move forward, you are moving backward. If you don’t move forward, you are dying. Let’s get ‘er done.”

Elburn residents Christina and Sean Joy pointed out the problems that Elburn’s Blackberry Creek development has.

“I have a problem with the empty lots. The foreclosures are growing by the day. Do we have enough room in the schools for all the kids that would be coming in? (We’re) inviting so many more people in that we can’t accommodate nicely,” Christina said.

“I’ve seen what happens when a community grows too fast,” Sean said. “I see (Sho-Deen) putting in streets and turning (the land) into an eyesore for 20 to 30 years.”

Houdak rebutted concerns that he hears expressed about the density of the development.

“Get out of Elburn and drive around in the suburbs. You will find areas that are pristine, townhouses with alleys that I would love to live in,” Houdak said. “Whether it’s apartments, condos or homes, you find (this is) the current way of developing – open area, open streets and open development. Chicago is coming out here. DeKalb and Sycamore are coming this way. We’re smack dab in the middle. I see Elburn as the golden spot in the Fox Valley.”

Others stated that they did not move to Elburn to see it become another St. Charles or Batavia. They came for the family orientation and close knit community, not to live in a commuter town.

“We don’t want to be a suburb,” Tanya Miller said. “I want the village and the board to understand that there’s more involved than Sho-Deen pushing and pushing that you need this bridge. We’ve gotten a long fine without it. I guess I’m frustrated and concerned that we’re making the decision off the bridge (coming in).”

Some objected to Houdak’s comments by asking, “Why did you move here?” and “Why do you want to change this town?”

Local realtor Ron Rosecky reiterated his concerns that there are still unresolved issues with the development, making it difficult to vote on what is still unknown. He also noted that Elburn business areas have many vacant stores.

“I feel like we’ve got a broken bone in downtown and we’re looking at a whiplash case over here (bringing in another development),” Rosecky said. “Going forward is not the best step if you’re not prepared. People from the east and west will come regardless whether we have a Sho-Deen development or not.”

The issue fresh on the minds of Elburn residents was brought up.

“Where on Earth are people going to park?” Bill Coglin asked. “I don’t see Sho-Deen buying the (Community Congregational Church’s) parking lot. That would sweeten the deal by saying, ‘Elburn, I’m not going to strangle you. I’m going to help you.’ Growth can be good, or it can clog you up.”

Houdak expressed his confidance that the economy would improve.

“I believe in America, and we’re going to work our way through this. It’s short-sighted to not do anything,” Houdak said.

A vote to close the hearing failed, 1-4, with Jerry Schmidt voting in favor of closing it. Once it’s closed, residents may speak during the public comments portion of the meeting, but their comments will not become part of the Elburn Station record.

The next opportunity to speak is Sept 4.

“This issue is not about us (the board),” Village President Dave Anderson said. “It’s about us (the community).We continue to look at the facts. Not one of us will make this decision based on innuendo or rumor. We don’t take it lightly.

“We’ve kept the hearing open since May. We want to hear what you have to say. Know that we have a vested interest here. We raised our families here. My grandkids go to school here. We may not always make decisions that are pleasing to all of you, but we make it based on the facts. We do listen.”

5 Comments

  1. OneWhoCares

    August 23, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    “Get out of Elburn and drive around in the suburbs. You will find areas that are pristine, townhouses with alleys that I would love to live in,” Houdak said. “Whether it’s apartments, condos or homes, you find (this is) the current way of developing – open area, open streets and open development. Chicago is coming out here. DeKalb and Sycamore are coming this way. We’re smack dab in the middle. I see Elburn as the golden spot in the Fox Valley.”

    —————————-

    Very interesting to say the least. ” townhouses with alleys that I would love to live in,” Houdak said ” Well Sr. Park your car in one of the alleys and set up camp there.
    One thing surely is that if you don’t build it they(Chicago,Dekalb and Sycamore) would have to buy the existing homes in our area to make golden homes out of and build up and on of what we already have.The county will take the right of way for Anderson Rd. by eminent domain so You Mr.Houdak look for a nice place on the North or South side of the bridge. Then too why did you leave Chicago to come out to our pleasant country setting town? If you don’t like the slower ( Better Not Bigger ) town go back to Chicago

    _______________________________________________
    “This issue is not about us (the board),” Village President Dave Anderson said. “It’s about us (the community).We continue to look at the facts. Not one of us will make this decision based on innuendo or rumor. We don’t take it lightly.

    “We’ve kept the hearing open since May. We want to hear what you have to say. Know that we have a vested interest here. We raised our families here. My grand kids go to school here. We may not always make decisions that are pleasing to all of you, but we make it based on the facts. We do listen.”

    Well…the question a lot of folks prolly want to know is back in May when it was standing room only were 4:1 against the huge development yet it keeps getting moved on and on to the point Shodeen is trying to make you and people believe the Anderson Bridge is hinged on approval on their money pit on the backs of Elburn tax payers. Again I say if Shodeen wants to build let them work with Blackberry creek that is more than 1/4 incomplete. To even consider approving more development with all the foreclosures and lack of commercial tax base is insane to go forward.

    The board should have voted it down months ago as per the wishes of most Elburn residents who live here and pay taxes.

  2. rak40

    August 24, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    On several occasions Mr. David Anderson has clearly stated that he and/or the Board would respond to questions asked in person, phone or via email regarding the Elburn Station Project or any other issue for that matter. I’m still waiting for any response to recent questions. I recognize the complexity of the Elburn Station issue, but I’m concerned over what may be a lack of sincerity, dedication or commitment on the part of the Board in serving this community.

  3. rak40

    August 24, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    Upon re-reading my earlier post, I find it improper and unfair. Simply put, I should have said that I expect a response when such promises are made…or I should not have commented at all.

  4. lburnlifer

    August 31, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    To rak40: Did you personally speak with the mayor or any of the Village board on your concerns via e-mail, or one on one? Or are you expecting answers in a public forum? This is a complex issue that none of the people in Elburn take lightly. I can personally remember the same question being brought up before the subdivision was built behind lions park, prairie highlands, and even blackberry creek. With changes you must adapt or get out of the way. Those of us that have lived here our whole lives have gotten use to the fact that change thus far has been good. No one can help the economy. This subdivision wont change the fact that homes are still going to be forclosed or moved out of regardless. Im sure shodeen wont build houses that arent sold or even pre-sold. I look forward to your response.

  5. rak40

    September 2, 2012 at 8:12 AM

    To lburnlifer: Yes, I have spoken one-on-one. No, I don’t necessarily look for an answer in a public forum…just answers. I’m not challenging the project, just trying to improve my understanding. Isn’t that how one develops an informed opinion?