New Lenox eyes regulations to become more developer-friendly
By Erin Gallagher For The Herald-News July 25, 2012 8:22AM
Updated: August 30, 2012 6:09AM
NEW LENOX — In the wake of New Lenox being named as having among Chicagoland’s fewest foreclosures, the village is taking steps towards becoming more developer-friendly.
Mayor Tim Baldermann announced that Crain’s named the village among the top 100 largest Chicago suburbs and the top 10 fewest foreclosures. At the same meeting, the board had a lengthy discussion about releasing developers’ surety before a project is finished.
Since the housing bust, the village has collaborated with builders to streamline policies in order to cut costs without cutting quality, Baldermann said. Monday’s discussion was another example of that.
There was much debate about how much money and for how long developers must reserve funds.
Developer Michael Flaherty said he should not be forever beholding to a 10-year warranty that covers problems that are beyond his control.
“We have to ask that the system is done fairly,” he said.
Historically, lengthy surety was not needed, Administrator Kurt Carroll said. Before the housing boom, subdivisions were broken into much smaller pieces, which were completed in three to four years. Now, it may take 10 years since the slowdown for a project to be completely built out.
Some of the issues discussed at the board meeting that the surety would cover include soil erosion and broken curbs from construction equipment.
“I agree there is a problem, we need to relinquish the surety,” said Trustee David Smith. “But we don’t need to relinquish the surety on the backs of our taxpayers.”
“This is very important to us,” Flaherty told the board. “I think these discussions are very, very beneficial.”
Baldermann said that everyone wants to release as much of the bonds as possible in order for the developers to put that money back into the community. The village staff will be researching ways to do that, Carroll said.