Citizens Group Wary Of Mega-Development In Suburb

Bernie Tafoya
February 13, 2019 - 5:18 pm

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A citizens group is considering suing a developer and the village of Sugar Grove over the handling of a proposed development in the far western suburb.

Carolyn Anderson, one of the leaders of Woods Not Warehouses, said the group won a temporary victory with the announcement this week Crown Community Development had withdrawn its request to have 760 acres rezoned in Sugar Grove.

"We know that there’s still a tremendous battle ahead. It’s not going to end until we have thoughtful development over there," Anderson said.

Mike Coghlan, attorney for Woods Not Warehouses, said he expects Crown to make another attempt at re-zoning in the next 90 days. Coghlan says the property is currently zoned "estate" and "farming.”

Coghlan said he’d meet with the group Wednesday night to talk about possibly suing Crown Community Development and the village of Sugar Grove. 

"The citizens were excluded from the decision-making process while the developer and the village were putting together incorrect information in an advisory report which, basically, started a runaway train which caused 1,000 or so residents to have to mobilize quickly to provide factual information to show why the village advisory report was wrong."

The Crown proposal includes residential and retail. But Coghlan said: "The key was a four to eight million square-foot warehouse in an area that’s all wooded and estate right now, plus an increase of a couple of thousand semi-trucks a day for a small community; plus 350 rental units predicted to have approximately 1,000 new residents, which would have an impact on the school."

Carolyn Anderson does not live in Sugar Grove proper but in neighboring Blackberry Township.

“This particular plan, no matter how it was built by Crown, would devaluate our properties, pollute our water supply, poison our air and it would cause a very, very hazardous situation along Route 47, which is a thoroughfare we all have to use,” Anderson said.

The group would like to see the land developed so that it's "safe, healthy and improves property values,” she said.

Anderson said the group is getting behind write-in village trustee candidates who support its ideas. She said citizens found out too late about the village's plans in order to get candidates for the upcoming municipal elections.

Anderson says she'd like to see some type of sports arena put on the site, along with other revenue generators such as hotels and restaurants. 

Coghlan added that other possibilities would be a medical facility or homes.

WBBM Newsradio has reached out to the Sugar Grove village administrator and Crown Community Development for comment.