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St. Charles to look at school growth projections, land/cash ordinance

ST. CHARLES – St. Charles officials want to ensure that the city’s land/cash requirement from developers for schools reflects actual future school enrollment from new dwellings.

A city ordinance requires developers of residential subdivisions either to dedicate land based on the acreage of the developed property or pay a fee-in-lieu of land for St. Charles School District 303.

The city’s cash in lieu of land requirements are based on the estimated child population per new dwelling type provided in the past by the Illinois School Consulting Service/Associated Municipal Consultants Inc.

That agency estimated that more children will live in a three bedroom single-family home than in a three-bedroom town home or condominium.

However, with housing trends changing and more families renting apartments and town homes, some city officials believe those estimates may no longer reflect the actual future child population that will impact the schools.

“We do have more children coming out of multifamily,” 1st Ward Alderman Dan Stellato said during the City Council meeting Feb. 5.

Two multifamily developments the city approved last year are Prairie Winds’ 250 planned units at Bricher Road between Randall and Peck roads, and Shodeen Group’s 670 planned apartments on Route 38 just east of Randall Road.

Alderman agreed Feb. 5 that before updating the land/cash ordinance they want to meet with District 303 officials regarding future enrollment estimates.

District 303 is currently examining its enrollment projections before revising school boundaries and possibly closing one or two elementary schools. District 303 schools currently have more than 1,700 empty seats in classrooms.

“Clearly, [District 303 doesn’t] need more schools,” 2nd Ward Alderman Rita Payleitner said, adding that this is another reason the city should re-evaluate the school part of the land/cash ordinance.

Stellato also suggested including the school land/cash requirement in a separate ordinance from the park district land/cash ordinance.

Council OKs appointment

Also on Feb. 5, the City Council approved the appointment of Louis Dries to the Housing Commission. Dries’ term will expire April 30, 2019.

Dries has lived in St. Charles since 1991. He was division vice president of Supply Chain for the Nalco Chemical Co. and retired in 2011 after a 26-year career.

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