Residents raise concern on new Timber Trails plans
Updated: July 15, 2012 6:13AM
Some Western Springs residents say a company’s development plans for their subdivision are not welcome. Unless, of course, that company makes changes to its plan.
The company, K. Hovnanian Homes, presented its vision for the Timber Trails subdivision June 5.
Construction on the Timber Trails subdivision began in 2005 after a company called Dartmoor Homes purchased the former Timber Trails Golf Course. Dartmoor ultimately declared bankruptcy, leaving some plots of land undeveloped and some houses unsold.
Now, Hovnanian wants village permission to build a number of town houses and single-family homes ranging in value from $300,000 to $1 million.
“We were hoping to complete development … very much in the same character and philosophy in mind that Dartmoor Homes started the project with,” said Hovnanian land acquisition manager Scott Barenbrugge.
The challenge, however, is that Hovnanian does not have permission to use the copyrighted designs Dartmoor used.
Barenbrugge presented the Planning and Zoning Committee with drawings and details of the homes they plan to build. They show homes that resemble the existing Timber Trails homes.
Timber Trails resident Ed Fitzpatrick, speaking on behalf of the residents, said the Hovnanian plan would completely alter the character and intent of the subdivision.
“We find after reviewing the plans thoroughly, we find the (proposed homes plan) in its present form to be substantially in variance with the original (annexation agreement),” Fitzpatrick said.
His complaints centered on details such as the quality of building materials, concrete driveways and the allowance of basketball nets in driveways.
Timber Trails resident Cathy Grimes said she is familiar with homes built by Hovnanian in New Jersey.
“I’m from New Jersey. I’m not proud of it,” Grimes said. “Let’s just say I was dismayed when I heard that they were coming to my subdivision because I’d seen what they put up in New Jersey and I didn’t want it here.”
Barenbrugge told residents the company is still in the beginning of planning and wants to hear concerns. He said he would take residents’ comments back to Hovnanian’s corporate office and architects. After the meeting, he spoke with some residents in the hallway.
The Hovnanian development plan will be discussed again at future Planning and Zoning Committee meetings before being sent on to the Plan Commission. If the Plan Commission likes the development it could then recommend the project be approved by the Village Board.
“It goes beyond just approval for the homes,” said Community Development Director Martin Scott.
The annexation agreement also regulates the use of property.
“There’s a myriad of issues that impact it,” Scott said.
Since Hovnanian’s plan will deviate from the original annexation agreement, the village and Timber Trails residents will have to make some compromises. Fitzpatrick agrees, but warns that if the changes to the original annexation agreement are not executed carefully, “they will destroy the community as it was planned.”