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Woodridge commission recommends approval of subdivision on Ide Tree Farm property

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 1:17 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:49 p.m. CDT

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WOODRIDGE – Darien, Downers Grove and Woodridge residents packed the Woodridge Village Hall Monday for a public hearing on the proposed Timber's Edge subdivision, proposed to be built just off 83rd Street on the Ide Christmas Tree Farm.

During the Woodridge Plan Commission public hearing, Pulte Homes Corporation sought to have the property re-zoned to an R-3 Residential District, as well as a variation to the building height ordinance and an amendment to the comprehensive plan.

Commissioners eventually gave the project a positive recommendation via two separate votes despite opposition from local residents, sending the proposal on to the next phase at the village board level.

The Timber's Edge subdivision is proposed to bring 149 single family homes to the property, home to Ide Christmas Tree Farm for the past 55 years. The owners of the farm have sold the property to Pulte Homes.

Each lot would be an average of 2,779 square feet with the average cost of homes projected at $449,990, according to Peter Tremulis, of Pulte Holmes.

The subdivision would also include a legacy park dedicated to the Ide family, a bike trail, preserved sections of trees and three stormwater management basins, according to Kathleen West, the lawyer representing Pulte Homes Corporation.

"It's a well designed plan," West said. "It's compatible and consistent with the adjacent residential areas in terms of land use and site design."

Residents in the meeting opposed the subdivision for various reasons, including how the project could potentially endanger animals in the area.

Pulte Homes Corporation was required to submit a survey regarding animals in the area, according to Village Planner Jason Zawila. Zawila said so far there has been no indication of endangered wildlife or habitats in the area.

A second concern for the residents was presented by Robert Ytesch. He questioned the proposed project's drainage and stormwater infrastructure.

"My home's [yard] slopes down and then it goes straight up to the tree farm," Ytesch said. "When it rains heavily we have rain coming from the tree farm into our lot."

Chris Morgart, an engineer with Pulte Homes, said the company is in the preliminary planning phase and that stormwater options are still being considered.

"That's been one of the challenges with this site," Morgart said. "I'm confident this will work out in the final plans. ... By law, we cannot worsen the conditions offsite."

Another Woodridge resident, Jim Hoffman, argued that the 30-plus acre tree farm should be preserved as open space.

"We have the opportunity to keep open space for prosperity," Hoffman said. "This is something the whole village should be able to enjoy."

Hoffman said while the Ide family has the right to sell the land, the commission has the ability to reject recommendations.

"Propose it to the people of Woodridge and share with people of Darien... to come up with money to buy this," Hoffman said. "Let's be creative folks."

The proposal is expected to return to the plan commission this spring, according to Village Planner Jason Zawila, before heading to the village board level.

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