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4 TO KNOW: Proposed 56-home subdivision prompts much city action

Published: Thursday, May 1, 2014 6:58 a.m. CDT
Caption
Bryan Rieger, a project manager at V3 Companies (center) described the stormwater management practices Nitti Development plans to implement in the proposed 56-home subdivision. (Mari Grigaliunas - mgrigaliunas@shawmedia.com)

ELMHURST – Nitti Development and Elmhurst Memorial Hospital may have a private deal, but the proposed 56-home subdivision has sparked discussion in three city committees so far.

The subdivision and right-a-way variance request received the Development, Planning and Zoning Committee's recommendation Monday.

The Public Works and Buildings Committee, however, is still considering the developer's request to vacate Avon Road, which would deed the road to the developer.

1. Subdivision plat, variation

Kenneth Florey, Nitti's attorney, explained that without the requested variation for a 50-foot right of way – the distance from sidewalk to sidewalk – instead of the typical 66-foot width, the developer would need to reconfigure the subdivision.

"Probably the most attractive part of this development is that some of the lots are great size lots," Florey said.

The DPZ Committee supported the same recommendations the Zoning and Planning Commission previously agreed on, including an easement that would push the sidewalks back 5 more feet from the curb to make up for lost space in the right of way and create 11-foot parkways.

The DPZ committee has been reviewing the city's single-family residential monotony policy, and asked Nitti how the homes would vary.

"At [750,000] to a million [dollars], we couldn't possibly sell them if they were identical. So they will be individual custom homes," Nitti owner Joe Nitti said.

2. Stormwater

Bryan Rieger, a project manager at V3 Companies, gave the committee and a few interested neighbors of the property an overview of the proposed subdivision's impact on stormwater management in the area.

"Understanding that stormwater is obviously a major concern in Elmhurst, especially in this specific area, we wanted to do what we could to minimize the amount of runoff that was coming off the site," Rieger said.

He explained that the proposed subdivision, including a permeable paver street and individual lot storage for stormwater, will reduce runoff from the current site by 64 percent.

Individual lot storage would take one of two forms – either an underground tank in the backyard or a permeable paver driveway with stone underneath to store the water runoff – depending on which solution works best for each lot or the development as a whole.

The committee kept a restriction added by the commission that each title mention the homeowner is responsible for maintaining the storage system so it remains in working order.

3. Avon Road vacation

Interim Director of Public Works Steven Weinstock said Nitti claims the permeable paver road will cost $255,000 more than putting in a traditional street and the individual lot systems will cost $282,000.

Because of the costs the developer expects to incur by implementing nonrequired stormwater management solutions that will benefit the area, Nitti requested the city vacate Avon Road at no charge.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Than Werner explained the vacation is for 59 feet of the Avon right of way, instead of the entire 66 feet, because the city wants to preserve Avon's west-side sidewalk that connects Schiller and Third streets.

Residents described the neighborhood as a "walking community" during the public hearing and committee meeting. The Avon sidewalk provides a path with limited streets to cross for students walking to Field School from the south.

"We do realize how important that sidewalk is," Werner said.

Following the city's policy for vacating city right of way, the committee started discussions around charging $117,000 for the road because that is 50 percent of the equalized assessed value (EAV) of the property.

The Public Works and Buildings Committee agreed with the concept of vacating Avon Road, but decided to continue discussion about what – if any– fee to charge the developer.

4. School district

The city is also reviewing its current impact fees for new home construction.

The Finance, Council Affairs and Administrative Services Committee is expected to review the current fees established in 2006. The Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 receives $6,500 for every new single-family housing unit, and the park district receives $1,500, according to a city news release.

"There are some concerns from the school district, rightfully so," said Mark Mulliner, DPZ member and Seventh Ward alderman.

He explained the school district expects about 75 new students, of which no one knows how many will go to parochial schools or how their grade levels will break down.

"When you look at the taxation that [District 205 is] going to get out of this, it really doesn't cover the cost of each student," Mulliner said.

Florey pointed out the development will bring the property back into the tax base as the hospital was previously exempt.

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