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Wheaton City Council rejects proposed Farnham Manor development

WHEATON – A proposed housing development in the 100 block of East Farnham Lane has encountered a major roadblock after the Wheaton City Council unanimously voted to deny its subdivision request during a Dec. 2 meeting.

Cesario Builders of Oakbrook Terrace requested permission to subdivide properties at 102, 106 and 108 East Farnham Lane into seven single family lots across the 5.6 acres of land that would constitute the Farnham Manor project.

The developer planned to raze two existing structures, build five new homes and install a private street.

"The overall design and look and feel of the proposed plan would provide a very nice transition and blend well with the other estate-sized lots in the area," said Tony Cesario, president of Cesario Builders.

Cesario promised new, high-quality houses that would raise property tax collections for the city and add value to the surrounding area.

The city approved a preliminary plat of subdivision in 2009 for 106, 108 and 110 East Farnham Lane. But when the developer lost its contract for the 110 property, the plat expired in 2010, causing major revisions to the plan after the Cesario bought 102 instead.

Because of those changes, city staff said in a memo to the council that the seven proposed lots would not be cohesive with the surrounding properties in terms of size, some of the proposed lots would be too close to Farnham Lane and the private road would be too near neighboring residences – only 10 feet away in the latest plan.

In addition to staff concerns, the city received a petition of complaint signed by at least 50 percent of homeowners within 250 feet of the proposed development.

The council voted that the city attorney draft an ordinance denying the request. Though the city previously approved a similar plan, said council member Evelyn Pacino Sanguinetti, it had an obligation to look out for resident interests.

"I think we should place great weight on the expectation of people who come in and invest with the expectation of what they're going to see on this property," she said.

Many, including council member John Rutledge, expressed disappointment with the situation.

"I have been in been in several of Mr. Cesario's homes, and I think the quality of his construction is wonderful," he said. "I would like very much to see him do something with this, I just have serious problems with the plan."

The final vote to deny the application will take place during the Dec. 16 council meeting.

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