Orland Park committee says no to developer’s 71 townhomes

 

    A proposal to construct a 71-unit townhouse development on the remaining 3.6 acres of the former Colette Highlands Condominiums property appears headed to defeat, after a n Orland Park Village Board committee gave it a unanimous thumbs-down Monday night.

The 3-0 “no” vote by the Development Services, Planning and Engineering Committee came after several nearby residents spoke against the plan. The proposed Park Boulevard Townhomes idea is expected to receive a similar “nay” vote from the full board at its next meeting, set for Jan. 5.

It represented an entirely different direction for the village, after the village’s Plan Commission voted to recommend approval of the townhouses in November.

Builder Tom Cachey, of T.J. Cachey Builders, told The Regional after Monday’s committee meeting that he intends “to come back with a doable plan. It’s a wonderful site, and Orland Park is a good place to build.”

Cachey and village staff had already made a number of modest modifications to the original plan, in an attempt to address neighbors’ concerns and get their buy-in, but it did not appear to be enough.

Complaints by neighbors focused on their claims that a 71-unit townhome development at the northwest corner of Park Station Boulevard and Somer Glen Lane would bring congestion to the immediate area.

“This [proposal] takes the open-lands concept and just destroys it,” Patrick McLaughlin told the committee. “This is going to a catastrophe for this village. We’re taking 10 pounds of potatoes and trying to stick them in a five-pound bag.”

McLaughlin, who moved from Palos Park to a 24-unit condominium building on the site earlier this year, said he was satisfied with the village’s action “up to this point,” but is taking a “wait-and-see” approach.

McLaughlin was one of several neighbors who spoke against Cachey’s plan. In addition to loss of open space and sightlines, neighbors voiced concerns about what they said was a lack of foresight for such issues as snowplowing and access for emergency vehicles.

Dimitrios Delis, owner of a single-family home on the nearby Julie’s Way, complained that the 71-unit plan eliminates the view from his residence.

“What am I going to be able to see when I look out my window?” he asked trustees rhetorically. “A wall—a wall—45 feet tall, right in front of my house.”

Another neighbor claimed that building 71 housing units in a continued shaky housing market would have a negative impact on existing home values in the immediate area.

 

Background

According to briefing materials provided by village staff, the “subdivision of Colette Highlands (condos, single family homes and townhomes altogether) was master planned and approved by the Village Board in 2003. In 2005, ZAUSA Homes took over the condominium part of the project from the original developer of

Colette Highlands (Huguelet), but proposed the same site plan and product as the original Colette Highlands master plan first indicated. The Colette Highlands Condominiums were approved by the Village Board the same year.

“Following the successful completion of the first condominium building at the northwest corner of Somerglen Lane and Park Station Boulevard, the economic downturn of 2007-08 prevented the completion of the project. A second condominium building broke ground shortly before the further downtown in the housing market. As a result, a foundation was installed but the building was never finished and the project went dormant.”

For seven years, the Colette Highlands Condominium property has remained unfinished. In that time, various development proposals were floated to finish the project but none ever reached the point of petition, village officials added.

color page1 3cols-or-2-col-Orland-story-copy

Photo by Tim Hadac

Orland Park resident Patrick McLaughlin (at lectern) offers criticism of the proposed Park Boulevard Townhomes while others in the audience, including builder Tom Cachey (right) listen at Monday night’s meeting.

 

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