DOWNERS GROVE – Plans to build a 13-unit townhome complex that would feature first-floor master bedrooms on Fairview Avenue south of 59th Street were not well received by the Downers Grove Village Council.
The townhomes would be marketed to the growing aging population that has trouble navigating stairs, according to the development proposal from Kindt & Associates. Townhomes in the upscale complex, called the Villas of Absher Woods, would sell for about $550,000.
The proposal meets a secondary need as well, by providing new construction on a stretch of Fairview Avenue that is not suitable for single-family homes because of traffic safety concerns, the developer said.
Several local real estate agents spoke at the June 12 Village Council meeting in favor of the idea.
Village commissioners, however, were not receptive to the plan. While they agreed there is a need for more housing suitable for seniors, they were adverse to rezoning the parcel to accommodate the townhomes.
The parcel, located on the west side of Fairview between 60th and 61st streets, is zoned for single-family, detached housing. A zoning change would be required for attached housing.
Commissioner Bob Barnett said considerable time and effort went into developing the village's comprehensive plan, and it should not be amended to accommodate a single development.
“There’s a lot about this that is appealing and makes sense,” Barnett said. “There’s a lot of value in what you guys presented that I think is worth considering. Right now, I’m reluctant to think that this is a good situation for which we should vary from the comprehensive plan.”
Commissioner Bill White agreed.
“We really can’t pull out one parcel and make an exception for it,” White said.
Mayor Martin Tully and commissioners Marge Earl and Greg Hose did not attend the meeting.
Residents of the Deer Creek subdivision, which is on the east side of Fairview Avenue, voiced opposition to the plan because of potential flooding issues.
Maggie Maier, a longtime resident of the subdivision, said Fairview Avenue floods near 60th Avenue during heavy rains, and additional development could aggravate the problem.
“I have huge concerns about this location and the impact to surrounding areas,” Maier said. “While the impact may not be felt initially, it will sometime down the road. Building 13 homes where there are currently two is irresponsible.”
William Ponstein, who owns lots near the proposed development, also voiced opposition to the plan.
“This is definitely just spot zoning,” Ponstein said. “This is basically just a way of cramming more houses, more residences on a small piece of property.”