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Published each Thursday in Oswego, Illinois 60543
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Take a straw poll on apartment fee cut : Editorials : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Take a straw poll on apartment fee cut
12/12/2013

The Oswego Village Board has received a rezoning request and a concept plan to construct a 906 unit apartment complex on a portion of a 68 acre parcel along the west side of Orchard Road, north of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway tracks.

As part of the proposal, the landowner has offered to donate up to 15 acres of the site adjoining the railroad tracks for future parking for a proposed village Metra commuter rail station. (The village's Metra Park-n-Ride facility-designed to accommodate a full-fledged station-is located across the railroad tracks from the proposed apartment complex.)

However, in exchange for the land donation to the village, the landowner has asked the village to reduce the development fees on the project in an effort to make it attractive to a buyer who would then construct the apartment complex. If the board were to approve the project and impose the full fees, the developer would expect to pay just over $16,000 in fees per unit. An attorney for the landowner has advised the board that his client believes prospects for attracting a buyer/developer for the project will be increased if the village agrees to reduce the fees below $10,000 per unit.

Village board members discussed the fee reduction request during a committee meeting last week. Earlier during the session they heard from several village residents who live near the property voice a number of concerns over the proposed apartments and their potential impact on the community, especially the Oswego School District. Board members concluded their discussion by asking village staff to provide them with more information concerning the financial impact a fee reduction would have on the village.

We believe there is a strong possibility that several board members-perhaps a majority-will oppose a fee reduction of any amount. Village President Brian LeClercq should find out by conducting a straw poll of the board on the fee issue as soon as possible.

LeClercq has used straw polls in the past to settle other contentious issues. Back in June of 2009 the board shelved plans for a controversial downtown TIF (Tax Increment Financing) district and ended over a year of debate when a straw poll of the board found a majority of board members were opposed to continuing the TIF study.

If a straw poll finds that a majority of the current board is philosophically opposed to a fee reduction for the apartments it will free up village staff members to focus their valuable time and energy on other vital projects, and the landowner can go back to the drawing board with his plans for his property.




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