SYCAMORE – When the DeKalb County Board meets next on April 16, members will consider a resolution to end the county’s involvement in the Evergreen Village project.
Unless the county can reach an agreement before that meeting with owner Frank Santoro to purchase the property on which the Sycamore mobile home park sits, there will not be enough time to negotiate with and relocate all the residents, County Planning Director Paul Miller said.
“There is a great deal of work still to be done,” Miller told the county’s Planning and Zoning Committee on Wednesday. “This project requires Mr. Santoro’s voluntary participation.”
The county has offered Santoro $1.47 million, a figure dictated by a grant from the federal and state emergency management agencies.
“There is no wiggle room here,” Miller said.
Santoro said he just wants fair market value for the property.
“We were never shown the appraisal,” Santoro said.
In February, Santoro provided his own appraisal for $2.6 million. Miller said Santoro’s appraisal has been rejected by the state.
Santoro’s attorney, Colleen Cebula, conceded they received notice that the state had rejected Santoro’s appraisal on March 19 – one day after the county’s deadline to accept the $1.47 million offer on the table.
“We haven’t been able to get any information from the government,” Cebula said. “Just tell us what the rules are.”
Several residents asked about the next step in the process.
“Without Mr. Santoro’s voluntary participation, there is no project,” Miller said, adding that if he refuses to sell, the county cannot work with the park residents. “As long as he owns the park, he can just move new people in and continue business as usual.”
“We still hope for a resolution,” board Chairman Jeff Metzger said.
“This project does not go forward without Mr. Santoro agreeing,” said board member Julia Fauci, D-DeKalb. “Losing this project is the saddest thing ever. You have to believe that.”
The committee voted unanimously to place the resolution to end the project on the agenda for the next County Board meeting at 7:30 p.m. April 16.