Motion to stop Cary apartment complex proposal fails in 3-3 vote

Chapman: "This is for people who work in Cary and want to live in Cary"

CARY – A 60-unit affordable housing complex can continue on its process for approval as an attempt to rescind the village's permission failed in a 3-3 vote.

Village President Mark Kownick, along with Trustees David Chapman and Rick Dudek, voted against rescinding an ordinance that allows Pedcor Investments to build an $18 million apartment complex at First and Pearl streets.

"This is for people who work in Cary and want to live in Cary," Chapman said.

Dudek argued the property would not have a negative effect on property values, and might help increase values.

Trustees Robert Bragg, Karen Lukasik and Jeff Kraus voted to rescind the ordinance at the emotional meeting.

Bragg, who previously voted for the project, said he changed his vote because of the amount of people who signed petitions that said they were against it.

"I have to listen to the people," Bragg said. "I still think it's a good project, but they spoke. I listened."

Trustee Bruce Kaplan, who is the real estate agent listing the property, recused himself from the discussion and vote.

Lukasik reiterated her concerns about the impact the project would have on local schools, and that the property would not produce as high an amount of property tax dollars as it potentially could.

Kraus said there needs be more businesses in town first.

"Cary doesn't have the retail base to support this type of development," Kraus said.

He added he would want the 4.5-acre property to be mixed use with businesses on the first floor, and owner-occupied condos on the upper floors.

Pedcor wants to build the $18 million, 60-unit apartment complex on 4.5 acres of property at First and Pearl streets. It would be six low-rise buildings.

It would be next to the Oak Knoll Apartments, which have an occupancy rate of more than 95 percent, according to village documents.

Pedcor hopes to receive federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits to help finance the project. If it receives the tax credits, then the company would have to keep rents restricted for a period of 15 years. Applications and comments on projects seeking those tax credits are due by July 25 to the Illinois Housing and Development Authority, which administers the program.

Tuesday's decision upholds the board's 4-2 vote from June 17, when it approved the project.

The board decided to have a vote on whether to rescind its permission on the project after a vocal opposition continued to campaign against the apartment complex.

A website, carymatters.com, with an associated Facebook page, has been at the forefront of the campaign that includes an online petition with more than 1,300 signatures and a letter writing campaign to IHDA.

Community members, many of whom wore "No Pedcor" stickers, packed the last Village Board meeting, which led to standing room only. Extra security was assigned to the meeting by the police department.

This meeting again included comments from those for and against the project.

Village Zoning, Planning and Appeals board member Patrick Jasper said the billboards going up around town that say "No Low-income housing" have hints of racism and hatred.

People who were against the project objected to the characterization.

"Just because people are against the project doesn't mean we're racist," said George Hinkes.

Carissa Beaman said the apartment complex should be located elsewhere, such as near Sage Products or Aldi along Three Oaks Road.

Dave Hansen, who is a landlord in town, said if this project goes forward he will have an even harder time renting out his properties.

During the many weeks of debate, there were people who said the apartment complex might lead to more crime in the area.

Al Ross disagreed with that notion.

"Low earners does not mean they are dangerous or anything else," Ross said.

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