More than 200 concerned residents turned out to express their opinions and gather more information about the College of DuPage's long-term development plan, discussed during the DuPage County Zoning Board of Appeals meeting Thursday night.
Numerous representatives from multiple homeowners' associations spoke out against the proposed development Thursday night. Most fear the proposed changes could change the character of their neighborhoods if the long-term planned development is approved, which calls for the addition of approximately 734,000 square feet of new buildings to the 273-acre campus. And many residents feel the college is not being a courteous neighbor by sharing more detail with residents.
"It is clear they have no interest in communicating with us, hearing our opinion or working with us," said Chris Parratore, co-president of the Raintree subdivision homeowners' association.
A chief concern for those living in the surrounding area is the lack of specificity in the plans. The college's application to add the 734,000 square feet of new buildings does not indicate a use for most buildings and COD's attorney Ken Florey said no additional parking will be added despite some neighbor's complaints of overflow parking in their neighborhoods.
A major concern for the Briarcliffe Lakes Manor Homes subdivision is the proposal to add a three-story building that backs up to multiple residences. Residents feel this addition will "commercialize" the residential feel of the neighborhood, which contains 336 units on 40 acres of land located directly west of the campus. And ultimately, many residents that would be impacted by the planned development feel the proximity of the proposed buildings, including more lighted signage will ultimately reduce home values.
Despite the desire to add 734,000 square feet of new buildings, it's only a small part of the college's zoning application. 90 percent of the college's application to the county is asking the board to essentially "legitimize" and create a zoning classification for existing buildings since the college is now under the jurisdiction of the county following an intergovernmental agreement with the Village of Glen Ellyn.
This is a major concern for residents and Glen Ellyn Planning and Development Director Staci Hulseberg, who told ZBA commissioners Thursday some buildings on campus were never permitted properly by the Village of Glen Ellyn. And because of this residents asked commissioners not to "grandfather" these buildings into the county's zoning code since some never went through the full permitting process under Glen Ellyn's watch. Hulseberg also sent ZBA commissioners a list of the college's violations from the village's most recent record. But Hulseberg, who spoke on behalf of the village, told commissioners she's also concerned about the overall lack of detail.
"The proposed planned development does not provide enough specificity to evaluate the potential impact on surrounding properties," said Hulseberg.
Robert Kartholl, chairman of the zoning board of appeals, voiced his opinion Thursday, stating the college needs to "sharpen up the level of detail" on the long-term plans before the board could support or oppose the development. The DuPage County board will ultimately have the final decision on the college's proposed long-term plan, after ZBA commmissioners issue a recommendation and pass it onto the Development Commission.