PZC Approves Residential Development at Former Nokia Site

Pulte Home’s proposed residential development at the former Nokia site at Naperville and Warrenville Roads got the nod last night at Naperville’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.

Nokia Site May Turn Into Residential Area

Commissioners supported the Naper Commons project because of the revisions made to the proposed development, which include a reduction in residential units from 239 to 227, creating buffer areas between adjacent neighborhoods, an increase in open space, and addressing concerns raised from the Forest Preserve of DuPage County.

The forest preserve concerns for the proposed residential development included storm water runoff, light pollution, the use of sodium chloride and coal tar, native species, trees, and the potential effect Naper Commons’ project could have on bald eagles and great blue herons.

Bird Concerns

“We submitted correspondence directly from Cathy Pollack with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to city staff resolving that there is absolutely no issues or concerns with respect to the bald eagles,” said Pulte Homes Attorney Russ Whitaker. “There is simply no federal or state protections for great blue herons.”

The forest preserve maintained that the development could be detrimental to the nearby heron rookery, but did not oppose the development because all other concerns were alleviated.

Community Concerns

Most community members that spoke at last night’s meeting still worried that the project was too dense.

“I was just disappointed though that the density has really not changed in anything but an nominal way,” said Jenny Banowetz, a board member of the Fairmeadow Neighborhood Association. “I think such a development here, with such a high density, does not fit with the surrounding context.”

Banowetz isn’t alone in her thinking. An online petition against Naper Commons has gathered over 8,000 signatures at the time of this recording.

But Pulte Homes argued their project is now below Naperville’s “medium-density” and just above Naperville’s “low-density” classifications.

Commissioners Vote

Ultimately commissioners sided with the development because of the revisions made to the project since it was presented last year in December, and because the forest preserve did not oppose it.

“I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the things they came back with, they did everything that we asked,” said Commissioner Whitney Robbins. “I think the one thing is they’ve been flexible and good partners to everything that people have thrown at them, including us.”

With a unanimous vote in favor of the project, Pulte Homes proposed residential development will now go to city council for consideration.

Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.

 

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