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Elburn administrators say Crown Community Development is using village as 'leverage' in negotiations

Crown presented Elburn with ideas about unpopular proposed development in Sugar Grove

Dan Olsem (far right) from Crown Development answers a question from Sugar Grove resident Tim Balles at a Feb. 6, 2019 public hearing at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove.
Dan Olsem (far right) from Crown Development answers a question from Sugar Grove resident Tim Balles at a Feb. 6, 2019 public hearing at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove.

ELBURN – Elburn Village Administrator John Nevenhoven said the village is not going to “play” with Crown Community Development, the company behind the controversial mixed-use development that had been in negotiations with Sugar Grove.

“Crown is trying to negotiate with Sugar Grove,” he said. “Crown is trying to use us as leverage against Sugar Grove, and we’re not going to play that.”

Crown had presented Elburn with documents outlining its ideas for developing the Crossroads Corporate Center in Sugar Grove.

The plans called for the construction of approximately 8 million square feet of warehouse distribution and the allowance of up to 300 units of apartments and 220 single family units. In addition, Crown was seeking TIF incentives to finance the sewer and water improvements needed to service the development.

The village announced nearly a year ago that Crown had withdrawn its proposal. Since then, plans between the company and Sugar Grove remain up in the air.

Sugar Grove Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said Crown continues to explore options, including annexation to Elburn, to help make the development possible.

“It’s our understanding that Crown continues to reach out to various property owners to try to see if they can obtain an annexation corridor, so that Elburn would make that option a little more possible,” he said.

The creation of an annexation corridor would require the property owners between the propsed Crown development and the village of Elburn to annex properties, officials said.

“Elburn has been consistent in saying that they will not give any consideration to the proposed project, unless it was disconnected from Sugar Grove and they submitted it to Elburn,” Eichelberger said.

At the Sugar Grove Village Board’s Jan. 13 meeting, Eichelberger said Elburn officials are not considering amendments to their land use plan.

Elburn officials are in the process of updating their comprehensive plan. At the same time, Nevenhoven said they have not been presented with plans from Crown Community Development to consider building in town.

“You can show up with glossy pictures, but they don’t mean anything,” he said.

Eichelberger said Crown has not approached Sugar Grove about de-annexation from the village, and they hope it doesn’t happen.

Eichelberger refuted some concerns about Crown having leverage over Sugar Grove as it relates to the company’s role in the recent completion of the Route 47 and I-88 interchange.

“Crown helped fund the village’s share of the interchange, but the agreement clearly stated that they were guaranteed nothing based on that contribution,” he said.

Eichelberger said if Crown had gotten approval for a project near the intersection of Route 47 and I-88, the potential agreement asked the company to fund an additional portion of the interchange.

However, the negotiations fell through.

“So far, they don’t have approval to do anything,” he said. “The village board funded this portion out of funds that the village had. That repayment is not in any way an incentive that would drive the village to approve a land use the village wasn’t comfortable with.”

A phone call to the consulting company handling communications for Crown Community Development was not immediately returned.

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