New Lenox again debates senior housing proposal
By Erin Gallagher For The Herald-News April 25, 2012 8:22AM
Updated: June 4, 2012 8:08AM
NEW LENOX — In an ongoing debate about proposed senior housing on Calistoga Drive, developer Bill Bolker told the village board that if it didn’t approve the housing, it may be 15 or 20 years before the property is used.
“In five years, I’ve never had a call on that site,” he said Monday.
Mayor Tim Baldermann disagreed. Home starts have tripled in the fiscal year ending April 30, he said.
So far in 2012, the building permits have increased to 20 single-family homes, and 10 more coming, compared with last year’s eight, Trustee Keith Madsen said.
The 2.79 acres are zoned commercial. In order to allow for senior housing, the board must first amend the annexation agreement to return it to residential zoning.
One question that is before the board is how much of the annexation area would be affected. Owners of any property within the entire 92-acre annexation area that could be impacted by the change would need to approve the amendment, Village Attorney Chris Spesia said.
Bolker said that requirement would kill the project. There are at least seven different owners and 10 banks, some of which have been taken over by the FDIC. There is no way they could orchestrate contacting everyone for approval, he said.
The developer said he hasn’t sold a town home in three years due to tough economic times.
“There are problems out there,” he said. “We are just trying to keep our doors open.”
Several trustees, including the mayor, said that they believed Bolker has a good product and have no objection to the quality of his work. They also said that the board is on the record in support of senior housing, citing Bristol Meadows, which was a much larger parcel that was already zoned residential.
The main question is whether or not to revert a tax-generating commercial property back to residential zoning, Trustee David Smith said.