Jennifer Konen decided to run as a write-in candidate April 2 for Sugar Grove trustee because she’s concerned that the current village board and administration may have a different vision for Sugar Grove than the residents, she said.
Konen attended the controversial public hearings in January and February about Crown Community Development’s request for flexible, mixed use zoning at its property at the I-88 and IL-47 interchange. During the hearings, she spoke out against the proposal.
Because of massive public opposition, Crown withdrew its request to change the property’s current estate residential zoning in February. But the process spurred Konen’s candidacy and her desire to seek more community involvement in determining future land-use for the village.
Konen believes that involvement should have happened before the village board in April 2018 amended the comprehensive plan— a village guide for future land use. The amendment identified business park use for the Crown property.
Although Konen regrets not seeing the village meeting agenda last year regarding the amendment, she believes the village should have sought community participation in the review process prior to the March 2018 public hearing on the issue.
“In 2005 (when the village revising the comprehensive land-use plan), there was residential involvement,” Konen said. “It appears that the 2018 amendment was done quietly."
Konen feels village officials may have had the best interests of the developer in mind instead of their residents and that the village has work to do to bridge the gap in communication, she said.
A local real estate broker and member of her subdivision’s homeowners association board, Konen understands how to work together to achieve goals and is a great communicator, she said.
“I ask a lot of questions, and I do my own research,” Konen said.
Konen feels a disconnect exists between the village and its residents.
“I believe it is time to reach out to the community and review the comprehensive plan in general — not only the Crown property —and look at how the interchange will affect the rest of Sugar Grove,” Konen said.
Konen said Sugar Grove has “great potential for development.” If elected trustee, she will work with residents and village officials “to bring the right development to town,” she added.
“I have spoken to many residents and they are looking for the same result — diversifying the tax base by developing a downtown area that benefits the local community,” Konen said.
The recently formed advocacy group The Independents for Sugar Grove Village Trustee (ISGVT) endorsed Konen’s candidacy.