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Clarendon Hills residents file lawsuit against the village

Published: Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 12:55 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:46 a.m. CDT

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CLARENDON HILLS – Two residents of Clarendon Hills have filed a lawsuit against the village asking that the condo building development recently approved for construction at 103 S. Prospect Ave. comply with the retail requirements on the first floor, and other issues, according to a news release from the residents.

Phil Altvater and Sue Hanlon filed the lawsuit Dec. 6 in DuPage County Circuit Court.

The residents said the process of approving the development was “unfair and arbitrary,” and they were forced by the staff and village trustees to seek court relief after trying to convince the Village Board not to approve the development during routine hearings, according to a news release from the residents.

“From a personal viewpoint, this project is too massive for this site,” Altvater said Oct. 7 at the first public hearing to the Village Board. “This is the gateway to our downtown and surely we can do better than this.”

At the final public hearing Oct. 21, the Village Board voted nearly unanimously to bring an eight-unit condo development to the corner of Prospect and Park avenues.

The three-story development is proposed to be 40 feet in height with the south end of the building, nearest residential property, to have a 25-foot setback in compliance with the village's zoning ordinance. Unit sizes will also vary from 1,605 square feet to 2,520 square feet.

Altvater and Hanlon said they believe there was an unfair sequence of actions executed that set an unfair precedent against retail, according to the release. The residents also stated in the release that the project “appears to be the beginning of Village President [Thomas] Karaba's vision to turn our 'charming' Clarendon Hills into a 'condo village' rather than a balanced development with retail and adherence to zoning.”

Altvater and Hanlon contend that the eight-unit residential condominium building without a retail component is a “mismatched hybrid” that would not be allowed in any of the village's zoning districts. Hanlon claims the proposed development would destroy a prime retail site in the downtown/business properties and adversely impact the character of the area, according to the release.

“This lawsuit was our only and our last resort to protect our rights and correct the unfair proceedings,” Altvater said, in the news release. “We are not alone in our feelings and will meet shortly with a group of likeminded residents.”

At the Oct. 21 hearing, all board members excluding Trustee Eric Stach voted in favor of the proposal. Karaba has stated previously that he liked the designs of the condominium that were brought forth and more so thought this was the type of structure the downtown needed moving forward over the next few years when it comes to changes being done.

"We need a change," Karaba said at the Oct. 21 hearing. "We need a good positive change over time of our entire downtown. If we do not change we will die, and I personally think that this is a great start to that change. It's not an end it's only the beginning."

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