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St. Charles residents upset by Lexington Club vote

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 3:14 p.m. CDT

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ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles City Council on Monday approved the proposed Lexington Club housing development and related tax increment financing funds in a vote that required a rare tie-breaker decision from Mayor Don DeWitte.

Opponents of the single-family home and townhouse project had brought signs to the meeting, but none were given the chance to talk before the vote. And, when the mayor called for public comment, he adjourned the meeting before one resident could make his way to the podium.

Brian LaVolpe spoke anyway, describing the vote as disgraceful.

After the meeting, LaVolpe noted the 7-2 decision the Planning and Development Committee cast in December against the proposed TIF.

“We have no idea what changed their votes because nobody spoke but the two aldermen who represent me in the 3rd Ward,” LaVolpe said.

In addition to DeWitte, these alderman supported Lexington Club: Jon Monken of the 1st Ward; Cliff Carrignan and Rita Payleitner of the 2nd Ward; Jim Martin of the 4th Ward; and Ed Bessner of the 5th Ward.

These aldermen voted no: Dan Stellato of the 1st Ward; Bill Turner and Ray Rogina of the 3rd Ward; Jo Krieger of the 4th Ward; and Maureen Lewis of the 5th Ward.

Lexington Club is planned for the former Applied Composites site. The property is bordered by State and Dean streets to the south, the Chicago and N.W. Railroad to the north, Fifth Street to the east and 12th Street to the west.

Residents have attended meetings voicing concerns about the TIF financing, number of townhouses and, among other issues, the amount of traffic the development will generate.

Rogina said the neighbors’ concerns are real, and their opinions should guide decisions. He feared supporting Lexington Club would “create a bruise in the community that would remain a long time.”

Turner focused on fiscal aspects, saying this project won’t be free to the city despite assurances otherwise. He doubted taxes generated from the development would equal the money spent on street plowing and emergency services.

“This is not free to the city,” Turner said. “It’s eventually going to cost us money.”

Several residents lingered in the adjacent hallway after the meeting, sharing their disappointment. Fifth Ward alderman candidate Kim Malay said residents were encouraged by last month’s vote, but Monday’s decision reaffirmed some feelings that the City Council will do what it wants to do, not what the residents want.

“This vote tonight shows it’s really true,” she said.

LaVolpe agreed, noting he helped collect 400 signatures against the project.

“We felt disrespected that they didn’t look at us,” he said. “We did what we were asked to do.”

When he and his wife moved to Dean Street, they were told that those who live on Dean Street generally live there until they die.

“With this development coming,” LaVolpe said, “I don’t know if that’s going to be true any more.”

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