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‘Cookie-cutter’ ordinance coming for new homes

ELMHURST – The Elmhurst City Council voted in favor of strengthening the city's existing anti-monotony policy for single family homes, by creating an ordnance that can be enforced.

"The point was to make sure that there was some variety in the housing stock that would go into any development like this," said Development, Planning and Zoning Committee Chairman Scott Levin in reference to the 56-home subdivision Nitti Development plans to build on the former Elmhurst Memorial Hospital Berteau campus.

The city already had an existing anti-monotony policy for single family homes that discourages cookie-cutter developments.

"Our concern at the committee level was that it's a policy. It really doesn't have the force of law," Levin said.

He explained with only a policy in place, the city wouldn't have a legal leg to stand on, should a developer choose to build several cookie-cutter homes. The committee decided to recommend an ordinance based on the city's existing policy after looking at similar ordinances in other communities, Levin said.

The same development committee report also recommends creating an Architectural Building Commission to review appeals to the proposed ordinance.

"We felt that there had to be some sort of mechanism for an appeal, in case there was a disagreement with the decision made by the building commissioner," Levin said.

The Architectural Building Commission combines the existing Advisory Architectural Commission and the Building Code Board of Appeals.

While Levin and the committee's vice chairwoman, Third Ward alderman Dannee Polomsky, signed the report, Seventh Ward alderman and committee member Mark Mulliner did not.

"The ABC commission is appropriate. The anti-monotony, I don't agree with," Mulliner said.

He said he believed the existing anti-monotony policy was working and didn't see a reason to create an ordinance.

"The only location where we have a potential for a large subdivision is the Nitti property, and we already know that the Nitti property is not going to build houses that are going to be identical to each other," Mulliner said.

He also said the ordinance takes away some homeowners' rights.

The report passed with an 11-to-1 vote with two aldermen absent.

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