Both sides of the Fairview Village expansion effort have pushed, pulled, and jockeyed for position. On one side is Fairview Village, (history here, and present offerings here) an exceptional senior community that offers a wide variety of housing and care options for residents, and has proven a good neighbor on th east side of Fairview Avenue south of 63rd Street for many years. On the other are the residents of the west side of Fairview, who have looked at the single home residential zoning in their area change to higher density use twice, and are looking at it again.
Click on image for a full sized view. What was to be seven single family homes may now be 32 condos and a clubhouse.
Correction: I had assumed Jim Russ Jr. represented Fairview Village. He does not. Although at the meeting, he is not their attorney. I will say, as I did originally, that Russ knows the turf, and knows the boundaries of the turf that makes up what is acceptable to the Plan Commission and Council, resulting in good success getting projects he represents approved.
Plus, I had enough feedback from elected officials, I went back and found several errors.
Fairview Village, a part of Downers Grove since 1973, held meetings, revised plans, showed some very expensive looking multi unit buildings as an outcome of their earlier efforts to get the campus expansion on the west side of Fairview approved. They’re even using a million+ dollar home as a club house, all in an attempt to fit 32 expensive senior condos into 4 buildings in an area zoned for single family homes.
They are asking for R-5A multifamily zoning where currently R-1 and R-3 zoning predominates. Fairview Village on the east side of Fairview is already zoned R-5A.
The residents are nobody’s fools, and have come back at every public meeting with a coordinated and compelling counter argument. They have cited promises made and broken in the past, of zoning use ignored and changed in the past, of equivocation by the village in the past that they claim reduces the value of their homes, the safety of their neighborhood, and breaks breaches their reasonable expectation for the single family home zoning they were promised when they moved in. These are expensive homes, nicely kept, and they don’t want multifamily high density buildings in their backyards as their neighbors.
Undeniably, the property was platted out as R-3 single family homes, 7 lots.
There was a comparative real estate values study done to corroborate claims that the planned development would not negatively impact the single family home owners in the neighborhood. The one comparison I drove by today, Villa St. Benedict, I’d be hard pressed to tell you where the nearest single family homes are.
Not done at all was a traffic study, something council always looks for. Typically traffic studies are also done by the petitioner.
They The residents who live in the single family home there are white collar, smart people, and they hired Bill White to represent them. Bill White was a very vocal Sandack supporter in the last election, and much of his website Wired Grove was dedicated to supporting Ron.
Bill White, on January 17, 2007, also donated $500 to Sandack’s campaign. Although there is no prohibition of discussing and voting on matters involving parties represented by campaign contributors, and White is not seeking to do business with Downers Grove, Sandack might check in with Village Attorney Petrarca for some legal counsel as this creates a possibly slippery slope, if in appearance only. That might leave six voting council members and the possibility of an unbreakable tie vote.
I have been advised Bill White is also Chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals. My opinion only, but that is either very shrewd on the part of the residents, or maybe Mr. White is carrying a bit too much baggage into this. It remains to be seen.
Council remanded this back to the Plan Commission again anyway, and asked for a traffic study, so members of Fairview and residents opposing will have to mark their calendars again to make sure they are there and are heard.
This is still months from any resolution.