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West Chicago

Divided Winfield board repeals Roosevelt Road commercial rezoning

WINFIELD – Although Winfield officials agree areas along Roosevelt Road will likely become commercial in the future, disagreement about how that process should occur led to a recent repeal of a March vote to rezone the area.

The parcels totaling about 24 acres along Roosevelt, Garys Mill, Wynwood and Winfield roads have returned to their original residential zoning after being rezoned for commercial use March 7.

The affected properties belong to several landowners, who petitioned the village to rezone their lands as commercial, Trustees Tim Allen and Tony Reyes said. However, nearby residents whose properties would border any new developments opposed the rezoning and brought a lawsuit against the village after the March vote.

The lawsuit was based on procedural issues that included a lack of a plan commission recommendation before the board's vote and the addition of an amendment that was not reviewed by the commission or presented during the public hearing process, Village President Erik Spande said.

Those were two of the reasons Spande voted against the rezoning in March as a trustee and supported the repeal Aug. 1 as village president, he said.

However, trustees in favor of the rezoning said commissioners refused to make a recommendation after holding multiple public hearings.

"A plan commission can't stop elected officials from doing their job," Reyes said.

Those trustees consulted with legal counsel, who said they could interpret the lack of a recommendation as a "no" and move forward with a village board vote, Allen said.

Despite disagreements over procedure, parties on both sides see the benefits to rezoning and developing Roosevelt Road.

Reyes pointed to the village's financial woes, including a dwindling police force, as evidence of the need for additional revenue.

"The fact of the matter is we need the money," Allen said.

However, the commercial zoning originally pursued would not include enough restrictions on types of developments that could be built, Spande said.

Spande said he would like to see more protections for nearby residents, such as using a less aggressive zoning type or requiring proposed developments to be approved by the village board, regardless of zoning.

"That area of Roosevelt Road will redevelop," he said. "It's a matter of when and how."

Community members can expect to see options for Roosevelt Road from the consultant working on a village comprehensive plan when they are likely made public in September.

A village board vote regarding Roosevelt Road is expected to take place next April, after the plan commission completes the public hearing process and makes a recommendation to the board regarding the comprehensive plan.

"We really need to get some better ideas earlier in the process to maybe heal some wounds," Spande said.

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