Townhomes of White Oak: on the Village of Roscoe agenda
UPDATE: At Tuesday's meeting, Apr. 5, 2022, the Village of Roscoe Board voted 4-3 to rezone a cornfield on Roscoe Road to make way for the Townhomes of White Oak. At their March meeting, they had decided to lay over the decision so developer Josh Petry could discuss the project with Rockton School District superintendent Glenn Terry. After that meeting, Terry joined neighbors from adjoining Hawks Pointe in urging the Village not to rezone the property for multi-family housing. We will be reporting on the April 5 Village Board meeting next.
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At the March meeting, neighbors of the proposed development were still strongly opposed to having a multi-family development in their backyard and wanted to tell the Village Board how they felt. But many were outraged or confused when Village President Mark Szula began the meeting by informing them that the zoning vote would be laid over until April because developer Josh Petry had requested it. He told them that, as usual, they would be allowed to speak for three minutes during the public comment section of the meeting. But he advised them not to speak about the zoning question since it wouldn't come up for a vote that evening. In fact, a television news team had been told the same thing that afternoon so had decided not to cover the meeting.
Szula added that he would reserve the right to stop residents, even at the April meeting, if they repeated what had already been said, since he had an obligation to keep meetings from being redundant. Trustee Carol Gustafson retorted that, during the public comment portion of the meeting, the public has the right to be as redundant as they want.
The Hawks Pointe group demanded to know how Szula could be so sure at the beginning of the meeting that the board would vote to lay over the zoning decision, before it had voted on whether to do so. Szula repeated several times, "When we get to it, we're going to lay it over." Village Administrator Scott Sanders explained the TV station had called him that afternoon, and he had told them the vote would have to be laid over by the petitioner's request.
Trustee Carol Gustafson didn't see it that way. She saw no reason why they needed to delay the vote. Later in the meeting, when it came time to address the agenda item, she argued that Petry's specific plans for multi-family development was separate from the decision on whether the land should be used for single-family or multi-family housing in the first place.
Later in the meeting, the board voted three to three, as they had at the Committee of the Whole meeting where the zoning request first came up. Gustafson was joined by trustees Sue Petty and Michael Dunn in wanting to consider the zoning question without further delay. Trustees Stacy Mallicoat, Justin Plock, and Anthony Keene voted to lay it over. Mark Szula broke the tie, laying over the zoning agenda item until a later meeting.
One of the main objections to the multi-family development is that it would bring too much traffic to Roscoe Road. Before it can be approved, the developer will have to pay for a traffic study and submit it to the Winnebago County Highway Department for their review. But members of the Hawks Pointe group argue that the county has already reviewed the traffic that would result from such a development - back in 2008.
One of the opponents of the townhomes distributed a page from the March 4, 2008 minutes of the Village of Roscoe zoning committee, which reported that the Winnebago County Highway Department had told them they would not permit a "second access to the subdivision off Old River Road" because it would be too close to Roscoe Road. The proposed east-west road through the townhomes would be close to Roscoe Road.
Also, in 2008 the county had agreed only to an "emergency drive" from Roscoe Road to "the commercial property" (now the proposed site of The Townhomes of White Oak). The county told then-Village President Dave Krienke that it would eventually allow access to the commercial property only "because they feel the traffic will be less in the commercial than the subdivision would generate." Now, of course, the commercial property, rezoned as multi-family, will become part of the subdivision, with greater traffic than anticipated in 2008. The "emergency drive" may be referring to the unpaved northern portion of Hawks Pointe Trail, which according to the developer's drawings would provide access to the townhomes and the rest of Hawks Pointe, parallel to Old River Road.
More about The Townhomes of White Oak and Hawks Pointe
Why three Roscoe trustees voted to allow townhomes in Hawks Pointe and three didn't
Roscoe moves ahead with rezoning for townhome development
Village of Roscoe will discuss new Roscoe Road multi-family development on Tuesday
New proposed development: 152 townhomes off Roscoe Road
Also on the Village of Roscoe agenda for April 5, 2022: approval of the appointment of Jim Blevins to the Stateline Mass Transit District (SMTD) Board of Directors for a four year term, declaring some Public Works equipment as surplus and authorizing its disposal, and approving the bid specifications for some street patching within the Village of Roscoe. They also planned to vote on spending $3,069 to send Officers Arianna Kim and Caleb Brown to a Force Training Instructor Certification course in Arnold, Missouri on May 23-27, 2022.