Responsible Development

I have spent a significant amount of time working with residents and developers to find compromises that allow the city to grow, but to do so in a responsible way.  A few examples include:

Polo Club

  • Back in 2019, DR Horton initially proposed more than 700 units on the property at 119th and Book Rd., eventually reducing the size of their proposal to about 480 units. Despite many resident concerns about the density still being too great, issues with 119th St. not being sufficiently addressed, a lack of any affordable housing and not enough open space, the developer pushed forward with their plan over the objections of nearby residents.  I voted no to their proposal, and the project fell one vote short of being approved.
  • After DR Horton failed, Pulte expressed an interest in the property, and I coordinated early meetings between Pulte and nearby residents to ensure that residents’ concerns were incorporated into Pulte’s plan from the very beginning.
  • Working collaboratively with surrounding residents, Pulte proposed a plan with more than 15% fewer units, including some smaller single-family homes and townhomes at a more affordable price point, and a more thoughtful approach to open space and the challenges posed by 119th
  • Working directly with residents to ensure that they had a voice at the table, the development was significantly improved, and the final plan is likely to be voted on in early 2023.

Naper Commons at Nokia

  • In this case, I did not see enough compromise between Pulte and the neighbors surrounding the Naper Commons development north of the Nokia campus.
  • I met with neighbors who were concerned about the impact the project would have on a wildlife berm and the adjoining Forest Preserve. While Pulte addressed some concerns, I feel the berm could have been preserved and other concessions could have been made to further improve the project and to protect nearby wildlife to a greater degree.
  • Affordable housing was also not addressed in a meaningful way by this project, and while the project was ultimately approved by City Council, I was and remain very comfortable with my no vote.

Affordable Housing

For years, Naperville has had a shortage of affordable housing, as land and home prices have grown significantly and many older, smaller and more affordable homes continue to be torn down. While growth in value is a testament to the desirability of our community, I believe it is also important to ensure that our seniors can continue to afford to live here and that our city continues to be a place that young people and young families can move to.  To that end, I have:

  • Served as the City Council liaison to the Human Rights and Fair Housing Commission, which has led the way on making recommendations to City Council on how to best address our affordable housing shortage.
  • Worked with a group of local parents to identify a city owned property at Route 59 and 103rd to be developed as housing for adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities combined with affordable housing for seniors.
  • Remained steadfast that large developments such as CityGate West, Polo Club, Naper Commons, etc., should meaningfully address affordable housing needs.
  • Advocated for a city-wide ordinance that would formalize and standardize the way the City addresses affordable housing with regard to new development.
  • Championed the affordable micro-units that were built on Ogden Avenue in place of the old and troubled Ramada Inn. The micro-units were fully rented almost immediately and have been a very positive addition to our community.

Historic Preservation

Historic preservation is very important to me, and I have worked hard to preserve and enhance our history when possible.

  • The Little Friends redevelopment was a difficult process, but in the end, I helped lead the effort to preserve the Kroehler Mansion and to create new park space on the property in the midst of the new townhomes that will be built.
  • Although I was in the minority, I also voted to preserve the Kroehler YMCA building, which I believe could have been repurposed into a modern and thriving development while maintaining the historic charm of our downtown while traveling south on Washington St. into our downtown.
  • The City is currently in the middle of updating our historic preservation code, and I believe it is crucial to have preservation minded council members engaged in that process to ensure that an appropriate balance is struck between preservation, progress and property owners’ rights.

Commercial Development

Part of responsible development is ensuring that quality commercial development continues in our city to offset the property tax burden of residential property owners. New commercial developments I voted on include:

  • The Tartan development at Washington and Gartner. I voted to approve this project after many meetings were held with neighbors and only after the developer agreed to make certain changes to the property to account for some of the nearby residents’ concerns.
  • Cress Creek 7-11. In this proposed project, the developer refused to engage with the surrounding residents to compromise on some relatively minor modifications. With that lack of good faith, I voted against the project, and it fell one vote short of being approved.  Ultimately, the Marathon returned to the parcel and is once again operational.
  • The redevelopment of the Market Meadows shopping center. The center needed some major upgrades, and I helped to facilitate discussions between the developer and the adjacent townhome development to ensure that the townhome association’s concerns regarding noise, screening, etc., were accounted for.  That center is now thriving once again, with happy neighbors.
  • Attracting a second Costco to replace the long dormant Ogden Mall was a major win for the East Ogden Avenue corridor that had struggled for many years. The Costco project has been a major economic success, not only in terms of sales taxes, but it attracted updated and complementary development along the East Ogden corridor.
  • Additional significant commercial developments to open and add to the tax base over the past few years include the Mall of India, two Amazon Fresh grocery stores, and many new businesses and restaurants both around downtown and in south Naperville.