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DeKalb housing proposal faces vote today

DeKalb aldermen negotiate the final details of the Irongate subdivision

Published: Monday, March 25, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

DeKALB – A 1,273-home Irongate subdivision proposed near DeKalb High School could get the go-ahead today, as DeKalb aldermen negotiate the final details of the development with ShoDeen Construction.

The public will be able to sound off again at a public hearing the DeKalb City Council will hold on the new development, which could be the last chance to do so.

A proposed annexation agreement between the city and the developer is scheduled for a first reading today. Six aldermen must vote to approve the agreement, which could be finalized if they decide to waive a second reading.

“The developer has made significant changes to the land plan in response to the council’s comments,” City Manager Mark Biernacki said. “We will ask if there’s a consensus, at least a supermajority of the council, on this project.”

If approved by the council, ShoDeen plans to build 1,273 homes on about 420 acres north of DeKalb High School, west of First Street. The development will feature a mixture of houses and townhouses, with housing lots ranging between 50 and 80 feet wide.

Biernacki and ShoDeen President Dave Patzelt said all of the council’s requests on the Irongate project have been met. The number of townhouses has dropped to less than 10 percent of the total housing units, and no discounts on any impact fees are offered.

“We’ve listened,” Patzelt said. “Hopefully they’ve agreed that we listened, and hopefully they can favorably support the development plan we’ve put forward.”

Two city aldermen – Kristen Lash and Monica O’Leary, of the Third and Seventh Wards, respectively – have said they will not vote to annex Irongate, regardless of the changes.

Both have said they saw no demand for new development in DeKalb, and would rather focus on redeveloping certain areas. Patzelt said their opposition was unfortunate.

“To do nothing is not a sign of moving forward,” Patzelt said.

The aldermens’ opposition also means that the remaining six council members all must be present and vote to annex the property, or the measure fails.

DeKalb aldermen are concerned that the new development could become filled with rental properties. This is why they pressed Patzelt in limiting how many and when the townhouses and 50-foot-wide houses can be built.

“Any house or apartment or condo or vacant lot could be rental if there’s a market for rental. Their biggest concern was apartment rental – which are totally removed from the plan – and townhouses,” Patzelt said. “I think those are all significant restrictions on this development that others don’t have on their developments.”

OUTBOX:

The Irongate development will feature 1,273 units located south of Bethany Road, west of First Street, and north of DeKalb High School. The development will have:

• 250 50-foot housing lots. These lots will not be built until 200 other lots have been built. • 524 60-foot housing lots • 190 70-foot housing lots • 186 80-foot housing lots • 123 townhouses. These townhouses will not be built until 350 single-family homes have been built. • 12.6 acres for a senior living community • 33.9 acres of parks • 21.6 acres of school property • 1.5 acres of wetlands

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