Kaneville, Sugar Grove both benefit from boundary agreement

KANEVILLE – The poet Robert Frost observed that good fences make good neighbors. Likewise, municipal boundary agreements make for good relations between neighboring communities.

That’s been the experience for Kaneville, where residents want to maintain the small town character of their village, which sits at the intersection of Main Street and Harter Road, west of Route 47.

The community took a major step toward controlling its own destiny in 2006, when residents voted to incorporate as a village.

With no staff, it should be no surprise that a telephone call to the village hall one day was answered directly by village President David Kovach, who had stopped by to get some official paperwork done.

“We like Kaneville the way it is and don’t want to be consumed, so we wanted an official boundary to protect that,” Kovach said.

Just over a year ago the village entered into a boundary agreement with Sugar Grove, also a village but a community on a much different development path.

The 2010 Census counted 484 residents in Kaneville, an increase of just 44 people since the 2000 tally. The 2020 count is expected to show little change from a decade ago, Kovach said.

Sugar Grove, meanwhile, has seen a dramatic increase in residential development, climbing from 3,909 residents in the 2000 Census to 8,997 people in the 2010 count.

According to Sugar Grove Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger, the community’s population is expected to stand at nearly 10,000 when the 2020 Census figures are released.

The boundary line between Kaneland and Sugar Grove is at a considerable distance between what most people would regard as the outskirts of each village.

“The agreement doesn’t mean there is an intention of going all the way to that line,” Eichelberger said.

The jagged boundary line cuts a path through unincorporated areas.

The line follows Route 47 through Blackberry Township, with the unincorporated Nottingham Woods subdivision on the west side of the highway falling within Kaneville’s zone of influence.

At Seavey Road, the boundary line takes a hard turn to the west before shifting to a northwest axis along the I-88 corridor.

At a point just south of Main Street, the line turns again, running directly south along the border between Blackberry and Kaneville townships, before taking one more turn to the west along the Kaneville-Big Rock township line.

“Boundary agreements are an important part of long-term planning,” said Eichelberger, noting that Sugar Grove has seven such deals with neighboring communities.

At its core, a boundary agreement guarantees that a municipality will not attempt to annex land or entertain development proposals that are not on its side of the line.

Boundary agreements ensure that developers seeking zoning variances or other concessions are not able to play off one municipality against each other in order to negotiate a more favorable deal, Eichelberger said.

The Kaneville-Sugar Grove deal is “a hard line,” Eichelberger said, which cannot be crossed without negotiating an entirely new agreement.