Elburn tables ShoDeen development

By on October 19, 2012

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Elburn Village President Dave Anderson on Monday broke a 3-3 tie, tabling the Elburn Station development.

Trustee Bill Grabarek reiterated his concerns about the development, including financial issues raised by the foreclosure of developer ShoDeen’s Tanna Farms Golf Course in Geneva, and the increased number of rental units in the plan.

The current plan calls for 800 rental units, many of which had been designated as condominiums in the initial plan.

Grabarek said that approving the Elburn Station development in light of the golf course issue would be a “moral hazard” for Elburn, and the village could possibly end up in a situation similar to the one in which it currently finds itself with Blackberry Creek. The village is currently in discussions with Blackberry Creek developer B&B Enterprise’s bond company in an attempt to complete infrastructure improvements left undone by B&B.

Grabarek said he thought the rental unit to owner-occupied homes ratio was “out of place” in Elburn. The village is currently 84.5 percent owner-occupied and 15.4 percent rental units. The development would have a ratio of 36 percent rental units.

Grabarek made a motion to table the vote on the Elburn Station development until the Anderson Road Bridge was built. Trustees Jeff Walter and Dave Gualdoni voted with Grabarek; trustees Ken Anderson, Ethan Hastert and Jerry Schmidt voted against tabling it. Village President Dave Anderson added his vote to break the tie, tabling the vote.

“We were hoping to be moving dirt by now (on the Anderson Road bridge),” Kane County Board member Drew Frasz said. “They’re shovel ready.”

The fate of the project to extend Anderson Road from Route 38 to Keslinger Road and build a bridge over the railroad tracks has been connected to the approval of the Elburn Station development.

Grabarek stated that he was not happy about the Anderson Road project being held “hostage” by the development. Anderson Road was to be used as a bypass for Route 47, diverting truck traffic around Main Street in Elburn.

The right-of-way property to the bridge is owned by ShoDeen. Kane County has agreed to pay $3 million of the $22 million project, with the majority of the remaining amount coming from federal and state funding.

Frasz said that the county would have to “pick up the pieces” and “go back to square one” on the plan for the Anderson Road bridge. He added that, should the project go dormant, the federal money might get channeled somewhere else.

“There’s always 10 people waiting for every $1,” Frasz said. “The county will have to look at whether we want to go it alone.”

After the vote, trustee Jeff Walter and some of the other trustees said that they were still interested in considering the development; they just did not want to consider it now or in its current configuration.

After the meeting, Walter said he made the motion to table the vote because there were too many issues he thought should still be negotiated differently with the developer.

In addition to the density of the development and the large number of rental units, Walter said he also would like to see some of the impact fees changed, and to set aside some of the 800 rental units for senior housing.

Trustee Ethan Hastert had some of the same issues with the development, although his vote was not to table it.

“I would rather address the issues than table the vote,” he said.

Hastert said that, although he shared Walter’s opinion about the density of the development, he would rather bring it up now rather than “kick it down the road.”

“Voting it down would’ve been a good thing,” Hastert said. “We would have gone back to the negotiating table. Now, a critical piece of infrastructure (the bridge) is in jeopardy.”

Dave Anderson said that he broke the tie because he wanted to keep the door open for the development to obtain approval.

“I didn’t want to say no, and I didn’t think the annexation agreement would pass. (an annexation agreement needs a super-majority—two-thirds—vote).They still own the land, and we still want to work with them.”

Dave Patzelt, president of ShoDeen, left the meeting without comment.