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Orchard Road Apartments Seek Reduced Impact Fees, Community Responds

Village trustees have said they want more information before they would consider any type of reduction.

How do you feel about a 906-unit apartment complex coming to town?

Village of Oswego trustees heard from multiple residents and a representative from the development regarding just that and the request for reduced fees to build the complex.

The development in question is being called the “Orchard Road Apartments” and would feature a 906-unit complex on 68-acres located just west of Orchard Road north of the railroad tracks on Mill.

The property is owned by Don Morris, who was represented by attorney Richard Guerard at the board meeting.

Guerard addressed the board about reducing impact fees to build from about $16,000 a unit to a little less than $10,000. In exchange, Morris would give the Village 10 acres of land to be used for the Metra Station once the Village got it.

The development had previously approached Oswego 308 school district seeking to waive about $2.6 million worth of fees, but the school board declined to do so.

Clarified by trustee Gail Johnson, the impact fee reduction Morris is requesting would not be taken from the school district, but Village fees like water connection and roadway construction.

“This is an economic engine,” said Guerard of the property. “It will generate more than $4million every year. The impact fee is a one-time thing in the beginning.

“We’re not looking for a handout,” he added.

Residents were firmly in opposition of the Village offering any type of reduction to the apartments

“The Village has no experience in a 906-unit apartment complex. That small of a site [land] with no major roads is a recipe for disaster,” Oswego resident Sam Haldiman addressed the board.

“Why should you give up that $6 million when other developments didn’t get those kinds of concessions?” asked Haldiman.

Fellow resident Maureen Sanchez said that she felt a lot of “mistakes” were made in the Village’s development and it is now up to the current board to fix those bad choices.

“Those numbers are false,” said Sanchez, of the estimates of residents expected to live in the apartments and attend Oswego schools. “This is going to impact everyone. It’s up to you guys to make that choice and you’ll be the board remembered as voting for or against a reduction.”

Trustee Terry Michels expressed concerns as well with the numbers presented and the impact the complex would have on Oswego. “I begin to question the validity of the numbers we’re seeing here,” he said.  He added that the Village is one of the lowest taxing bodies and have not raised them in years.

He also said that although he is in support of Metra it would most likely be “years” until the Village sees a station and said the 10 acres of land would be a “maintenance headache” because there would be no development on it for years.

 

Trustee Johnson said she needed to know more of the facts before the Village could go about making any type of decision. “I want to see I we reduce this fee what impact it is to us in five years, ten years down the road. I know there are no guarantees, but I have to see that before we enter into a negotiation.”

It wasn’t just fee reductions that residents showed up to talk about though. Many expressed a sense of distaste for the units and who would be moving in.

Resident Greg Houk spoke about issues he’d seen at an apartment complex in Naperville that got so bad “they put a police station inside.”

“While you all may be well intended… be careful what you bring to Oswego because your kids are going to pay the price.”

“I’ll pay more in taxes in a month than the low income renting that will be built right outside my door,” commented another Oswego resident Kathy Scaccia.

Johnson said she was “disheartened” about the veiled impact residents were making about people who live in apartments.

“Being poor is not a crime,” said Johnson, who said her brother currently rents an apartment because of a collapse in his job industry.  

“If you have a problem with the project in whole, I’d prefer you speak on that rather than impact fees. I am deeply troubled by the veiled comments. “

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