Naperville’s Building Boom

Naperville has been growing for decades, but the past few years have seen several major projects started and completed in the city.

5th Avenue, the Polo Club, and Wagner Farm are just three potential residential developments coming to Naperville.

But besides additional residents, the new homes bring plenty of questions as well.

For example, what kinds of homes should be built?

Attainable or affordable housing in Naperville is something Kristen Jungles, a realtor at Jungles Realty Group at Keller Williams said the market is asking for.

“I think it’s really important that we address more affordable housing here in Naperville for two groups of people,” said Jungles. “First we have those recent college grads that grew up in town and want to come back and raise their families and either work here in town or have the accessibility of the Metra line. There’s not a lot of options for that entry level home. And then we also have people that raised their families here and they would prefer to stay in Naperville but would like to downsize.”

Mayor Steve Chirico said keeping Naperville-educated young professionals in the city is a challenge, but attainable housing is something that can help.

“One of the things is housing – having the type of housing that will attract the younger generation, that’s why this 5th Avenue Development is going to be exciting.”

Attainable housing is also included in developer DR Horton’s proposal for the Polo Club subdivision.

But as Naperville continues to develop, space becomes premium. Decades ago, city officials adopted an ordinance to deal with the problem of diminishing greenspace.

“The city adopted an ordinance for land-cash in about the 1970s,” said Naperville’s Deputy Director of TED Allison Laff. “It’s an ordinance that essentially requires a residential development to account for the impact it will have on either the school or the park districts.”

The Land Cash Ordinance requires a developer to donate either land or cash-in-lieu of land to the Naperville Park District.

Not only does that help maintain Naperville’s greenspace, but it also positively affects the real estate market.

“The amount of greenspace is really significant when people are looking at homes,” said Jungles. “They either want to see it right in their backyard or they want the walkability to a nearby park.”

Greenspace is one of Naperville’s defining values, something Mayor Chirico said the city considers when evaluating new developmental proposals.

“We want to make sure we protect our brand. People move to Naperville for great schools, wonderful parks, and safe neighborhoods,” said Chirico. “So we need to protect that brand.”

The struggle going forward is simply finding the right balance between building more housing and maintaining the city’s greenspace, a topic certain to come up in future city council meetings, where these proposals will be discussed.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.

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