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DeKalb City Council to revisit Irongate

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

DeKALB – The DeKalb City Council has told its staff to resume working on issues with a proposed 1,273-unit housing development, three weeks after it voted to end staff involvement.

Sixth Ward Alderman Dave Baker brought the issue back before the council at its meeting Monday, but rather than take action on the proposed Irongate subdivision plan, the council voted 6-2 to postpone further discussion until no later than Oct. 14.

In the meantime, city staff has been directed to address problems that the park district and neighbors on the city’s northwest side have with the proposed development and annexation agreement.

“I feel that the motion to reconsider indicates that there is majority position on the council to give further consideration to the Irongate annexation agreement,” Mayor John Rey said Tuesday. “The motion to postpone it last night was done out of concern for closing any remaining issues with the agreement.”

The Irongate proposal includes space for 123 town houses, 350 senior housing units and a variety of different single-family homes to be built on 458 acres of land located between Bethany and Dresser roads. City officials estimate the subdivision would take 20 years to complete.

There also is land set aside for commercial development, parks and a possible elementary school site.

On July 22, the council ended work on the proposal with a 4-4 vote. Annexation agreements require six “yes” votes to win approval. Rey and Aldermen Bill Finucane, Bob Snow and Ron Naylor voted in favor of the agreement. Aldermen David Jacobson, Kristen Lash, Monica O’Leary and Baker voted no.

Baker and other council members said Monday that ShoDeen has addressed problems that had concerned the council.

“The concerns that I had expressed at the last meeting ... have been addressed in a positive manner, and I am satisfied at this time,” 5th Ward Alderman Ron Naylor said Monday.

Baker and others from the council and the community had previously expressed fears that Irongate could become a largely renter-occupied neighborhood, but Baker reversed course.

“I’ve withdrawn my demand that the houses not be rented,” Baker said Monday. “Too many people have expressed how unfair it can be if somebody bought a house for $300,000 and their job transferred them ... and their only option was to rent it.”

Before Rey introduced the motion to postpone, he reaffirmed his personal commitment to the proposal.

“I personally see benefit to the overall community of moderate controlled growth of reasonably designed residential development,” Rey said.

Jacobson supported the postponement because he said he doesn’t want to hear any more piecemeal proposals from ShoDeen.

“We keep bringing this up, but it’s not ready,” he said. “... Either get it done or quit wasting my time. Quit wasting the community’s time. Quit wasting our staff’s time.”

ShoDeen President David Patzelt could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

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