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Corporate Reserve Developer Withdraws Application

Lexington Club developer has asked the city for more time to consider options before a formal City Council vote.

City officials said Wednesday morning the developer of the Corporate Reserve has withdrawn the application for a zone change to allow the construction of hundreds of apartments on the site of the business park.

Meantime, the developer of the Lexington Club had asked the city to delay further consideration of its application for tax-increment financing, a key component of the funding for that project, whose cost has been estimated at $40 million to $45 million.

The St. Charles City Council, meeting Dec. 10 as the Planning and Development Committee, dealt the two controversial projects significant setbacks. Aldermen voted unanimously to recommend the City Council reject outright the Corporate Reserve application.

Aldermen also voted 7-2 to deny an application for tax increment financing that was being sought by the developer of the Lexington Club, whose land-use plan for the project a City Council committee had approved in the spring.

At the time, city officials had expected to present one or both of the projects for a formal City Council vote during its Dec. 17 meeting, but the items were not on the agenda. St. Charles Patch reported the items were hanging in limbo without a formal City Council vote.

City Administrator Brian Townsend contacted St. Charles Patch on Wednesday to explain. He forwarded a copy of a brief memo from Community Development Director Rita Tungare explaining no action would be required or could be taken on Corporate Reserve because the application had been withdrawn.

It is unclear when the Lexington Club developer will alert the city to its plans. During the Dec. 10 meeting, it was pointed out that because the developer’s land-use plan already had been approved by aldermen in the spring, it might be able to move forward should the developer find an alternative to TIF funding.

The two projects had taken sharp and vocal criticism from residents in their respective neighborhoods. Originally envisioned as a business park, the Corporate Reserve had sought to add apartments to its plan and had asked for a zoning change to accommodate the move. But neighbors feared the impact of the project on the neighborhood, particularly the impact on traffic in the area with the addition of hundreds of apartments.

The Lexington Club also also sparked criticism from its neighbors. While the housing planned for the area was not high-density house like that planned for Corporate Reserve, residents felt too many homes were planned for the site and that alternatives such as assisted living facilities for senior citizens or handicapped people ought to be considered in addition to some homes. Perhaps more controversial was the proposed TIF district to finance the mitigation of hazardous materials on the site, for demolition and site grading.

The City Council next meets Jan. 7, 2013.

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Steve Swanson December 22, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Ted, the Council did not approve the Lexington Club PUD in the spring. The Planning and Development Committee did, but several of the Aldermen who voted for it, at that time, stated that they would vote against it when the PUD came up for a vote before the City Council. So, there is no guarantee that either the Lexington Club PUD or TIF would be approved by the City Council.
Steve Rogers December 22, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Huh? Why does an Aldermen vote for something and say that they are against it? That makes no sense to me at all. I mean, what's the point?
Ted Schnell (Editor) December 22, 2012 at 08:21 PM
OK, I understand that -- the council was meeting as the P&D. Either I misunderstood or someone said council when they meant P&D during the discussion.
Ted Schnell (Editor) December 22, 2012 at 08:27 PM
It does seem kind of convoluted, but it actually does make sense. The council meets as a committee to review something -- basically to give it initial consideration, if you will. I believe it is designated as a committee meeting at this point to help avoid any confusion about formal council action. In communities in other states, as used to be the case and may still be in Wyoming, for example, there is no council committee, but the council must give items initial and secondary approval -- and sometimes, as in the case of the adoption of ordinances, must approval three "readings" of an ordinance before it can be considered formally approved. It may seem kind of long and drawn out, but it is a kind of checks and balances issues to assure something is not approved, or rejected, prematurely. In this kind of situation, it enables the developer to make changes to a project with hopes of winning formal approval later in the process.
Henry James December 23, 2012 at 01:27 AM
The other issue is that when the P&D Committee approved it, it was partially because the developer made some concessions which later changed his mind.
Steve Rogers December 23, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Is the committee made up of all of the Aldermen? If so, I'm wondering why they would vote to approve the project and then vote against it later. It seems that the Aldermen should explain the double talk or the flip-flop,
Steve Swanson December 23, 2012 at 06:40 AM
The Planning & Development Committee is composed of all Aldermen (all ten of them). I think, but I could be wrong, that if they hadn't voted for the PUD back then, that the TIF could not have proceeded. I think that they were also hoping that the developer would be willing to make more changes in its plan. It had dropped the number of units being proposed from 142 to 130, which almost everyone, thought was still too much for the site. There have been times when this precise situation has happened previously. The proposed Shodeen project for the old St. Charles Mall property was approved by the Planning and Development Committee and then turned down by the City Council, which killed the project.
Craig Bobowiec December 23, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Steve, I believe you are right. The Committee felt the PUD was going in circles and that unless they moved forward Lexington and the City wouldn't move forward in TIF details which needed to be done. Just because they passed the PUD at that point many try and point that it meant it was a done deal at a final vote which several Aldermen made very clear at the TIF hearings that they would not support the PUD plan at it stood when it passed Committee. Then a majority also voted against the TIF, as it sounded because of the the dollar amount and the fact some felt Lexington knew their grading costs when they purchased the property and paid accordingly with those costs built in their purchase price, so why should the tax payers be paying for a cost that Lexington likely already deducted in their costs of the property.

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