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Normal's annexation agreement clears way for nearly 500 new apartments, townhouses at future Carden Springs

The Normal Town Council meets Tuesday, January 17, 2023, in council chambers at Uptown Station.
Michele Steinbacher
The Normal Town Council meets Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, in the council chambers at Uptown Station.

As expected, the Normal Town Council on Tuesday OK'd the annexation agreement of 36 acres for the planned Carden Springs development, making way for nearly 500 new apartments and townhouses, near Interstate 55.

“This is, without question, the largest single (planned unit) development that will be within the community,” Normal inspections director Greg Troemel told the council.

In all, 477 units are planned for Carden Springs, at the northwest corner of Towanda Avenue and Beech Street. The next biggest is Ironwood Gardens, with about 460 units on a smaller, 25-acre site, said Troemel.

Construction should begin later this spring, Fairlawn Capital partner Jason Barickman told WGLT after the council meeting.

“We think it will be done in at least three phases, over a 4-to-5-year period,” he said.

The proposed Carden Springs development in north Normal would include 29 garden-style and townhouse buildings.
The proposed Carden Springs development in north Normal would include 29 garden-style and townhouse buildings.

The council also conditionally approved Fairlawn's final plat to build three homes on Beech Street, as part of the nearby Weldon Reserve subdivision. Work on those homes begins immediately, said Barickman.

The Normal Planning Commission previously recommended the council OK both Fairlawn proposals, and both passed unanimously on Tuesday.

Council member Kevin McCarthy served as mayor pro-tem at the meeting at Uptown Station; Mayor Chris Koos was absent.

McCarthy and several fellow members said the additional housing is much needed, and they praised developers for working with nearby residents of Evergreen Villas and Wintergreen II to find working solutions for the new planned urban development.

For example, while some buildings closer to the interstate will be three stories tall, those constructed near Wintergreen II now are proposed to be limited to two stories.

The Bloomington-Normal area’s housing shortage sees a need for about 4,300 more homes with more commuters traveling as far as an hour to reach jobs here.

A few years down the road, Carden Springs and Weldon Reserve will mean more than 750 new housing units in Normal.

Carden Springs is intended to be a complex of higher-end townhouses and apartments.

“It adds a little diversity to our housing stock,” said Normal town planner Mercy Davison, who told the council the development will offer more green space and amenities than required by code.

Among the development’s planned amenities are a pool, clubhouse, pedestrian trail, and electric vehicle-charging stations.

Davison said after Tuesday’s meeting, the annexation agreement, gives developers a month to close on the property. By mid-March, they'll be expected to bring to the council a proposal for annexing and rezoning the property, as well as a preliminary site plan, she said.

Plans call for it to be rezoned as medium density, multifamily units. It will include three Beech Street access points, and a variety of parking.

The town will charge nearly $1 million in fees, over four years, said Davison.

In other business the council OK’d:

  • A $46,000, one-year contract with Consulting Engineering to survey for possible underground leaks; it is the lower of two bids.
  • Renewing a roughly $28,000 annual contract with McLean County, for jail booking services. 
  • The renewal of an $8,200 agreement with the City of Bloomington, allowing the Normal Police Department to access the city's police shooting range.  
  • The mayor’s two-year reappointment of retired NPD Chief Rick Bleichner to the town’s police pension board.

Michele Steinbacher is a WGLT correspondent. She joined the staff in 2020.
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