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DeKalb City Council approves Irongate housing development

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

DeKALB – DeKalb Mayor John Rey shook ShoDeen developer Dave Patzelt’s hand Monday after City Council members narrowly passed plans for his massive Irongate housing development.

“I look forward to having your development in our community,” Rey said, thanking Patzelt for his tenacity over five years of discussions.

The council voted, 6-2, to annex 458 acres near DeKalb High School, 501 W. Dresser Road. Third Ward Alderwoman Kristen Lash and 1st Ward Alderman David Jacobson, who have opposed the development in the past, voted against the annexation agreement Monday.

Under the plan, Irongate would include 123 townhomes, 350 senior dwelling units and 1,119 single-family homes north of the high school between Annie Glidden Road and First Street, according to a recent memo city staff wrote to City Council members. The plan includes two church sites, several parks and an elementary school.

The plan includes about 5 acres of commercial property at the southeast corner of the intersection at Annie Glidden and Bethany roads, which would be surrounded by the townhomes, the memo shows. About 11.6 acres would be dedicated to the 350 senior housing units along Bethany Road near the western portion of the development.

None of the townhomes can be built until at least 350 single-family homes are finished, and city officials and the townhome owners association will be able to enforce a ban on townhome owners renting out the townhomes.

ShoDeen expects the community would be built over 20 years, with about 21 units being built in the first year. It expects more units would be built each year, with about 80 units built in the 10th year.

In recent months, the developer removed about 30 proposed housing units and made other adjustments so DeKalb Park District and DeKalb School District 428 leaders would sign off on the design.

While discussing the proposal Monday, 7th Ward Alderwoman Monica O’Leary said the proposed development could provide housing in light of estimated increased demand.

But Jacobson repeated his doubts that the housing was needed in light of empty lots in other DeKalb developments, as well as homeowners in recent new developments seeing foreclosures and property values plumeting to half of the original purchase prices.

“I just don’t think with the empty lots and the amount of nondevelopment in our community, this is the time,” Jacobson said.

Former DeKalb mayor and longtime resident Bessie Chronopoulos questioned whether the developer would follow through with the design promises in the proposal.

“The fear I have is that it will change,” she said. “The flavor of this will change.”

Irongate details • Total of 458 acres • Located north of Dresser Road between North Annie Glidden Road and First Street • 123 townhomes • 1,119 single-family homes • 350 senior dwelling units

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