Pulte Homes’ Naper Commons development on the former Nokia campus at Naperville and Warrenville Roads got the green light from Naperville City Council at its meeting last night.
Council voted 8-1 in favor of the 227-unit project, despite some concerns from the dais and public speakers over school district generation tables, density, and a lack of affordable housing.
Affordable Housing Concerns
“Pulte, the developer presenting at council tonight, is also the developer of Wagner Farms,” said Mary Beth Nagai of the DuPage Housing Alliance. “If even 10% of the units in these two developments had been set aside as affordable, we could have added 50 new units. Instead, these 500 market-rate houses will decrease the 7.5% affordable stock even more.”
The Illinois Housing Development Authority has twice cited Naperville for not maintaining at least 10% of its housing stock as affordable, most recently in 2019.
Mayor Steve Chirico said that for developers, affordability and density are competing issues.
“To make prices more affordable, oftentimes that requires more density,” he said. “And I know we’re trying to find that right balance.”
Prior Changes to Naper Commons
Working with the Planning and Zoning Commission and city staff, Pulte had already decreased the number of units from 241, as well as addressed ecological concerns from the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. The forest preserve previously opposed the development, but withdrew its opposition after working with Pulte.
Councilman Patrick Kelly, the lone dissenting vote, proposed tabling the topic so Pulte could work with the school districts and adjust based on council’s and the public’s feedback.
“Overall, I do think there is a development worth building, but I think a lot of those issues are things that could be worked on still and I think what we have in front of us tonight could be better,” said Kelly.
But most council members felt it was a project they liked and was too late in the process to send Pulte back to the drawing board.
“Even if I were going to be part of a future decision, this is not the point at which a developer makes the kind of substantial changes that might be requested,” said Councilwoman Judy Brodhead, noting this would be her last council meeting after reaching her term limit.
Construction will begin this year in the hopes of having some homes on the market by mid-2022.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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