312 apartments proposed for downtown Crystal Lake rejected by zoning commission

Crystal Lake City Council will give a final vote on the project April 16

The 15 two-story buildings will hold 312 apartments with a mix of one, two and three bedroom units at 295, 345 and 395 Pathway Court. The complex also proposes to have a clubhouse with an outdoor pool, fitness area, community room and a dog run.

Developers want to build an apartment complex with more than 300 apartments across 15 buildings at the former Immanuel Lutheran Church site in downtown Crystal Lake, but the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission gave the project a thumbs down. .

The commission voted 4-2 against recommending the rezoning request Wednesday. The Crystal Lake City Council will have the final say at a meeting April 16.

The 15 two-story buildings would hold 312 apartments with a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units at 295, 345 and 395 Pathway Court, according to commission documents. The proposal also includes a clubhouse with an outdoor pool, fitness area, community room and dog run. More than 600 parking spots would be available through detached and attached garages plus open parking spaces.

Rents would range from $1,750 to $2,000 a month, Three Leaf Development Chief Development Officer John Ford said.

The property, north of the Crystal Lake Jewel-Osco, is owned by Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Congregation. Ford said their team is “mission-based” meaning they typically work with faith-based organizations to “further their mission.”

Developers requested the 24-acre site to be rezoned from R-2 single-family residential to R-3B multifamily. They also requested a density variance from the maximum of nine units per acre to 13.1 units per acre and to extend the maximum length allowed for a building to 210 feet for the 20-unit buildings and 238 feet for the 23-unit buildings from 200 feet for both.

“The 13.1 [density] is somewhat in line with a lot of the projects we approved recently like the apartments over on Congress,” Crystal Lake City Planner Elizabeth Maxwell said at the meeting Wednesday.

Many commissioners said the density was their biggest concern. Commissioner Bill Gronow said the city already approved many apartments, including the 99-unit Enclave downtown development.

Commissioner Kathy Repholz said the development is “impeccably designed” but she cannot support it because she sees the current single-family residential zoning as the most appropriate for the area.

“I think there’s a lot of richness around homeownership,” she said.

The Planning and Zoning Commission first looked at preliminary plans for this project in December. Commissioners had mixed feedback at the time with concerns about high density.

Since that meeting, developers tweaked the plan by adding a pedestrian path that would connect to the Prairie Path, a fire lane access point and detached garages, Sigma Group Vice President and engineer Chris Carr said.

Some residents in a neighboring subdivision spoke at the meeting Wednesday to express concerns about the density and traffic impacts. Crystal Lake resident Sara Joswiak said the project may be too dense for the area, especially being next to an older subdivision.

“If there’s 312 apartments, two people in each. That’s about 600 people they’re adding to that 24 acres,” Joswiak said. “How will that not become a congestion and a traffic issue?”

A traffic study was completed and determined the development wouldn’t create a significant impact on traffic, Ford said.

“Everybody is coming and going at different times,” he said. “People are working at different times, people are working from home, so the traffic patterns are complimentary, so to speak.”

Joseph Shulfer, a Lakewood resident and president of Crystal Lake-based farm equipment manufacturer Mathews Company, said he saw the development as an opportunity to bring in more workers to the area.

“We continue to struggle to find good people to come work for us,” he said.

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