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Elburn Station plan wins unanimous approval

After much debate, board gives green light to development

ELBURN – Trustee Bill Grabarek smiled and paused for a second Monday night before signifying that, at last, he was ready to cast his vote to support the Elburn Station annexation agreement.

Board members voted unanimously to approve the plan, which clears the way for the ShoDeen development that is slated to bring 2,215 new homes to the village over 20 years. It also removes an obstacle to the extension of Anderson Road, a project that would create a bridge that would provide a crossing of the train tracks that divide the village. Kane County officials had been concerned that $21.7 million in federal, state and local funding could be lost if the debate over Elburn Station were to continue through the summer.

County Board member Drew Frasz said if all goes well, construction could begin by September. Tom Rickert, the deputy director at the Kane County Division of Transportation, said the bridge could be completed by the end of 2014.

Grabarek’s vote was key. Throughout the months leading up to a vote, Grabarek had brought up point after point, seeking to clarify every detail. He did so again on Monday, and board members brought up nine items to amend before agreeing to the vote. In October 2012, it was Grabarek who introduced a motion to table discussion on the plans.

Frasz said Grabarek deserves credit for playing such a key role in the process. When the vote was complete, Frasz applauded.

“This will be Bill Grabarek’s legacy, that this is done right,” Frasz said.

The plan has seen some changes over the last few months. For instance, the number of multifamily units is restricted to 600, and of that total, 200 must be designated as senior housing. Also, the village worked to split the cost of a planned pedestrian bridge. The changes brought up Monday were characterized as minor by village attorney Bob Britz, who said he expected ShoDeen would approve the changes.

The process also has included comments by residents – both in support and in opposition to the plan. But no residents spoke on Monday night.

After the vote, Grabarek said he was “glad we got this moved.” He said he didn’t think the vote would be accomplished on Monday night. Village President Dave Anderson then made a statement thanking “a number of people involved in this project,” including board members, village officials “and most importantly, the residents of this village.”

Also on Monday, the board approved lifting its ban on video gambling, by a 5-1 vote. Trustee Ken Anderson was opposed to the measure. Before the vote, he asked board members to ask themselves whether it made Elburn a better place. Grabarek acknowledged he previously supported the ban on video gambling, but he said there are more controls in place now than there had been before. In a nod to Ken Anderson, Grabarek suggested that the village could revisit the decision down the road, or ask residents in a referendum.

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