Normal Planning Commission endorses 2 housing projects
The Normal Planning Commission has endorsed two new housing developments as community leaders seek to address a housing shortage. One project sailed through without opposition. The other drew criticism from nearly a dozen nearby residents.
The commission voted Thursday to endorse a proposed subdivision on the northwest corner of Parkside Road and Hovey Avenue. The developer, Infinitas Parkside LLC, requested a number of variances to fit a larger number and variety of housing units into the space that will occupy about 400 lots.
While it consists mostly of single-family homes, the development also includes apartment buildings. Nearly a dozen nearby residents sounded off on concerns, including high density, traffic safety, and floodwater management.
“We’d like to see the density not be so dense, there was a lot of concern with the traffic … we were concerned about the students that would be coming into that area going to the Parkside Elementary School, but mostly I think it was the amount of houses,” said resident Lori Hummer, who told the commission there have been multiple traffic crashes near her home.
Commissioners shared concerns regarding the number of requested code variances. While commissioners considered two amendments to the plan, the panel endorsed the plan without alteration by a 4-2 margin.
Commissioners also indicated their role in the process is limited by whether the plans meet town requirements.
The developers now look to regroup and consider modifications.
“(We’re) probably meeting with the town staff to see how they’d like to address it. We’ll take a look at our plans and see what accommodations could be made, and see what that overall impact would be, and how much it would really address the concerns that people had,” said project engineer Jeremy Schreck.
One of the opponents who spoke at the meeting, Jim Bresnahan, told WGLT he and other nearby residents plan to meet to discuss what he considers to be a larger problem of housing development on the town’s west side.
The commission also voted to advance Fairlawn Capital’s plan for Carden Springs, a complex of luxury apartments and amenities to be built at Beech Street and Towanda Avenue and adjacent to Interstate 55 in north Normal.
No one from the public spoke for or against the plan during the public comment portion of the hearing, and the commission passed it on a 6-0 vote. Developers estimated the completion time of Carden Springs at four to five years, with two intermediate stages available before construction is finished.
“What’s clear is that our town is growing and that’s good. We’re bringing employers to town, employers are saying they have two challenges, which is finding people and finding housing for people. So, we’re here hoping to help with at least one of those issues,” said Fairlawn partner Jason Barickman.
Both plans now face consideration by the town council on Jan. 16.
Editor’s note: WGLT general manager R.C. McBride is Normal Planning Commission chair.