St. Charles Aldermen Kill Corporate Reserve, Lexington Club

If the St. Charles City Council next week affirms the Planning and Development Committee votes, both projects are dead for at least a year.

Residents opposed to new apartment complexes in parts of St. Charles were able to breathe easier as the St. Charles City Council Planning and Development Committee dealt what likely will be fatal blows to both the Corporate Reserve and the Lexington Club developments.

The full City Council is expected to take up both issues next week. If the aldermen maintain the votes they recorded Monday, neither project could be brought back before the council for a full year, barring a vote to reconsider. It was unclear late Monday what the City Council’s rules are governing the timeframe for a reconsideration vote, however unlikely such a vote might be.

Each proposal has been wending its way through the municipal approval process, and like other projects over the years, each one evolved as the applicants sought to make their developments more palatable to St. Charles officials.

Ultimately, however, public opinion appeared to hold sway Monday — the committee vote comes four months before the April 2013 consolidated general election. Four people already have declared their candidacy for mayor, and five aldermanic seats also are at stake in the race.

The committee voted 9-0 to deny outright a request to allow Corporate Reserve Development LLC to develop about a third of its 37.8-acre site for multifamily residential development.

  • Related: Corporate Reserve Falls in Unanimous Vote

The aldermen were divided in their vote on the Lexington Club, however. That vote may have been influenced as much by the city’s track record on tax increment financing districts as it was by community opposition to another proposal for high-density housing — in this case, about 100 two-story townhomes, as well as 27 single-family detached homes.

A motion to approve the TIF, considered by the developer as a make-or-break key to the financing of the $45 million project, failed on a 7-2 vote — 2nd Ward Alderwoman Rita Anne Payleitner and 5th Ward Alderman Ed Bessner were the only two members of the committee to vote for the Lexington Club TIF; 2nd Ward Alderman Clifford Carrignan had voiced support for the TIF as well, but as chairman of the committee cannot vote except to break a tie.

  • Related: Lexington Club Attorney Blames St. Charles Aldermen for Rejection

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Brian Doyle December 11, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Except that Lexington Club was never a "high-density" residential development proposal. It's a medium density proposal within the bounds of the Comprehensive Plan Amendment. So, did it fall on the grounds of TIF financing or on the basis of the design plan? If the latter is true, it is not at all clear to me the reasons that the plan has been deemed to be fatally flawed--and I'm quite sure it's not clear to the developer. As for Corporate Reserves, I agree. In my opinion, it was never within the bounds of the Comprehensive Plan vision.
Craig Bobowiec December 11, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Recent comments from Alderman sounded like some didn't like either. Brian you keep coming back to Comp Plan Amendment which you were not active in City Politics when the process was done where I was. Back then the City told basically told us residents that was what was going on that property, we weren't offered the option of leaving it as it was so we tried to outline some requirements like size and scale and siding materials but that Amendment was never an open free discussion with residents as for the change in use. In fact we argued against allowing townhouses in a neighborhood where there are zero, we argued it didn't blend and it all fell on deaf ears because as we have now twice heard from the Lexington Atty the City was making promises and guiding them even before they fully purchased the property which was never fair to the residents or City Council when they are now being blamed for not falling in line. Most see the flaw in the plan and that it doesn't work in the neighborhood and the traffic will cripple it as well. Even you Comp Plan Chairman and the Consultant said they didn't feel the plan was right and felt the density should mimick the surrounding neiughborhood which would be about 80 single family homes but didn't want to chime in officially while there was a viable plan on the table. I think now they need to deal with making a decision on this parcel for the new plan and I hope they keep their words.
Craig Bobowiec December 11, 2012 at 01:18 PM
The other item that took place that I was taken back by was when Alderwoman Payleitner seemed to argue what the City's own 2011 Priorities Survey said, especially when she was sitting there holding it in her hands. Mrs Payleitner, on page 3 in the "Methodology" the last line does read "95% confident that answers are representative of the entire population" and on page 13 "The economic development conundrum" the bar charts indeed to seem to count "nuetral" votes in the final results as negative votes against various types of residental and commercial building. Those bar charts clearly support what Ms Malay stated in her speech to the Committee. Whether you agree or not, or like those numbers or not, they are what they are and you and all Alderman must use that data as it was the City's decision to pay to have the survey done and if it's not used, it would be a waste of tax payer money. Then to have an Alderman with Survey in hand waving it and arguing points that they clearly were inaccurate on, well that to me speaks for itself.
Craig Bobowiec December 11, 2012 at 01:20 PM
Anyone who wants to view this City Survey, here is the web link: http://www.stcharlesil.gov/sites/default/files/surveys/presentation.pdf
Phil Krahenbuhl December 11, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Craig- thanks for clarifying the problems of the plan as seen by the surrounding neighborhood. It is fair to say that the original TIF of around 4 million to clean up the property would be fair. Not an additional 2 million since Lexington had to lower their number of units. The taxpayers should not have to "reimburse" Lexington for their poor planning of what was deemable as a viable development for the area. Also, just because it is a pay as you go TIF, that doesn't mean the all taxpayers aren't affected. It just takes the risk off the city (taxpayers).
Phil Krahenbuhl December 11, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Correction. "Deemed as a viable"
Pete Richards December 11, 2012 at 04:52 PM
I am so tired of hearing that the Lexington Club projects conforms to the 2007 Comprehensive Plan Amendment, that it is "your" (the City's) plan when, in point of fact and what is true (if one has bothered to look at what transpired and read the five part letter to the editor in the Patch last spring entitled "Transparency v. Opacity" one would see that the residents of St. Charles never had any meaningful input into the development of the Amendment and that the "consultant" working for the City was also working for and was paid by Lexington Homes. So, Lexington Homes got the Amendment it wanted and the residents of St. Charles got the shaft. It is time that some of these things get rectified. Bravo to the Aldermen who are finally becoming aware of how things have been manipulated and who are standing up for responsible development and not following the philosophy of turning St. Charles into a Naperville-lite.
Henry James December 11, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Glad to see the Council did do the right thing. Now I hope that everyone can come to the table and work on sensible developments for both these properties. I hope this time the developers and City reach out to the residents from the beginning to save time and money for everyone
Brian Doyle December 11, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Pete: Those arguments were never presented during the Plan Commission's recent public hearings on the proposal, which means that the applicant wasn't provided with the opportunity to rebut them. The Patch is not a replacement for a public hearing and posting a blog entry does not constitute entering testimony into evidence. The Plan Commission rendered its recommendation based on that evidence--and I am simply defending the propriety of our decision. Craig: Yes, of course I keep referring to the CPA--precisely because I was not present during the public hearings held 5 years ago. That's the entire point of comprehensive plan documents! Per my comments above regarding those hearings at which I and other commissioners did preside, we have not received any information presented in a proper forum by which we could ethically entertain the suggestion that our official guiding document should be ignored, nullified, or set aside in favor of current opinion--with the possible exception of the Comprehensive Plan Task Force consultant's off-hand comment a few weeks ago. Because we should always listen to what our consultants tell us, right?!
Craig Bobowiec December 12, 2012 at 12:58 PM
You know better Brian, we stood many times and argued against this project and your commission didn't listen to any of it. You go by the finding of fact and would have never have taken the time to actually research the facts of our argument. Look back at Towne Center we provided tons of facts that Shodeen couldn't argue and you guys still passed it along. The Plan Commission really has no power or real impact Brian on the true process Brian. You almost have to pass along everything that comes before you, sort of a big waste of time in the approval process.
Craig Bobowiec December 12, 2012 at 01:37 PM
The other point I refer back to is why also does Mark Armstrong and the Consultant on the Comp Plan group clearly see and feel what Lexington is proposing is all wrong for that property in regards to density just as several Council members? It's because Armstong and the Consultant are experienced in development and trained in land planning and the Council members have seen enough to have taught them as well. For me this evidence and support that the 2007 plan amendment is incorrect and should be changed in this new plan you and the group are working on. You are at the end here and your group must now look at this property and make changes that make sense as those two in the group agree.
Steve Swanson December 12, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Brian, those Plan Commission hearing on the Lexington Club PUD were held in the late Summer and early fall of 2011. The Patch article about the failings of the 2007 Comprehensive Plan Amendment was not published until the late Spring of 2012, and it is my understanding that much of it was based on documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act in 2012 and therefore it could not have come up in testimony before the Plan Commission.


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