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S. Elgin eyes apartment revisions

Updated: March 7, 2013 6:30AM

SOUTH ELGIN — Developers of the proposed Water’s Edge apartment development have been asked to take a second look at the building’s water side before village board members vote next month on the controversial plan.

The developer, the Sterling-based Burton Foundation, already has updated the building’s western face based on suggestions made by village residents during public hearings but also was willing to look at additional changes, foundation representatives said.

The Burton Foundation is working with the Association for Individual Development to bring a 50-unit apartment complex to South Elgin’s riverfront. The 3.3 acre parcel of land is on the far end of Center Street, north of the South Elgin dam.

Plans are to set aside half of the one-, two- and three-bedroom units for AID clients in need of housing, and half for income-eligible residents, said Tracy Manning of the Burton Foundation.

Rents would cost between $700 and $1,085, Manning said.

The planning and zoning commission put its stamp of approval on the project on Jan. 16, following two public hearings held at Kenyon Woods Middle School to accommodate the number of residents in attendance before the final meeting at village hall.

Opponents, including some nearby residents, have said they are not against having the building in the village, just not where it is proposed. They said the apartment complex would not fit in with the village’s 2007 master downtown plan, which calls for retail/restaurants, townhomes or condominiums — not apartments — in that area.

While the village ordinances require building facades facing public right of way to meet visual standards, village trustees indicated that for them, the view from the river and State Street bridge is just as important.

“With the traffic on the bike path … more people will see that side than the front of the building,” said Village President Jim Hansen.

“We don’t want to short the aesthetics facing the river. I don’t want to minimize the decor of a building facing the river.”

Several changes already have been made to that western view, including adding brick to the outside walls, said Eric Pepa of Allen Pepa Architects, the South Elgin company that designed the buildings.

Right now, the building is wrapped in 68 percent brick — a number village board members said they’d like to see a little higher.

They also indicated they liked the plan. Several added they had read most of or all of the transcripts from the two public hearings.

“I read everything that went on in the last three meetings, and it made us proud of how things were handled,” Hansen said.

“I read the entire transcript … and I was impressed with the way (issues) were addressed,” added board member Scott Richmond. “I think the population you are targeting is needed on both sides.”

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