St. Charles City Council approves apartment building project after plans revised

Frontier Development on Monday was given the green light to proceed with its proposed River East Lofts apartment project near the Fox River after revising its plans.

Frontier Development on Monday was given the green light to proceed with its proposed River East Lofts apartment project near the Fox River after revising its plans.

The sticking point has been a proposal to vacate portions of South Second Avenue and Indiana Avenue rights of way. The project is proposed to be built at the southeast corner of Illinois and Riverside avenues on the site of the former St. Charles Chamber of Commerce building.

Vacating right of way means transferring all or a portion of public right of way to private ownership of a contiguous parcel of land. Only seven of the 10 alderpersons voted Sept. 6 in support of the proposed vacation of right of way, meaning it lacked the supermajority – the affirmative vote of eight alderpersons – that it would need to move forward.

Following that vote, Frontier agreed to scale back the amount of right of way vacation it was requesting. The south line of the right of way vacation has been shifted northward to near the center line of Indiana Avenue (the north 35.60 feet of Indiana Avenue is proposed to be vacated), St. Charles Community Development Director Russell Colby said.

“The vacated area would include the building footprint and raised patio,” Colby said. “The at-grade patio would be located on city right of way and could only be constructed pursuant to a license agreement approval by the city.”

Fourth Ward Alderperson David Pietryla was happy with the new plans. Pietryla and 4th Ward Alderperson Bryan Wirball represent the ward where the project is located and have been listening to residents about their concerns.

“I am pleased that we’ve come to this reasonable compromise,” Pietryla said before voting for the new plans.

Wirball agreed.

“I think this is a reasonable comprise,” Wirball said. “It keeps the triangle green space city owned, which gives the residents peace of mind in the future.”

Developer Curt Hurst and his son Conrad own Frontier Development, which has been involved in several projects in downtown St. Charles. Previously, the vacation had included a portion of Second Avenue (planned for perpendicular parking) and the full width of Indiana Avenue (60 feet for building footprint, a raised patio and an at-grade patio) south of the development site, Colby said.

Alderpersons unanimously approved the new proposal. In addition, a majority of alderpersons approved an ordinance granting approval of a special use for a planned unit development along with preliminary plans for River East Lofts.

Previous plans had called for the building to be 59 feet, 8 inches tall. The zoning district for the area only allows for a maximum building height of 50 feet.

Current plans show the building would be a maximum of 50 feet tall, so the developer is no longer requesting a variance from the city. The apartments would be located on the building’s upper floors while commercial and retail space would be on the first floor.

In addition, the number of units has been reduced from 43 to 42 and the unit mix has changed from 27 one-bedroom/16 two-bedroom units to 12 one-bedroom/30 two-bedroom units. Revised architectural plans have been submitted.