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Vote on Irongate subdivision postponed by DeKalb council

DEKALB – The DeKalb City Council postponed another vote on the proposed Irongate subdivision, which would add 1,273 homes on about 458 acres north of DeKalb High School.

The next public hearing and vote on the issue are scheduled for May 28, at which point ShoDeen President Dave Patzelt will present his development plan to a City Council with some new faces, including a new mayor.

Patzelt was largely silent as members of the public railed against his plan at Monday night's meeting. A number of aldermen, including Brendon Gallagher and Tom Teresinski, of the 4th and 2nd Wards, respectively, backed the new development.

"I don't think we can stay neutral," Teresinski said in regard to growing the community. "It's very difficult to stay status quo, you're going up, or you're going back."

But it was 5th Ward Alderman Ron Naylor who sealed the deal Monday by stating he could not vote for the agreement in its current form.

Annexation agreements for developments require six affirmative votes, and with Kristen Lash and Monica O'Leary, of the 3rd and 7th Wards, respectively, already opposed, Irongate would not have been approved Monday.

Naylor said he thought there were issues that still had to be addressed, including concerns about drainage in the area, and he moved to postpone the hearing.

"My concern is that there are a lot of the issues in the development plans," Naylor said.

Former DeKalb Mayor Bessie Chronopoulos has been a fervent opponent of the Irongate agreement, and she restated her position Monday night. Like others who spoke during the public hearing, Chronopoulos said the city should focus on rehabbing existing houses and selling them.

"All you need to do is look at the classifieds and see houses for sale," Chronopoulos said.

But not everyone at the public hearing opposed the project. Laura Boyer, a managing broker for Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell, a real estate firm based in Sycamore, said older houses are not selling, and there is a demand for newer houses. She said she based her findings off of some of her real estate agents.

"The demand will continue to grow. Buyers are finally jumping off the fence and taking advantage of still very low interest rates," Boyer said. "Why not encourage them to jump off the fence and land in our own backyard?"

Editor's Note: This story has been corrected from an earlier version.

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