CARY – Residents packed Cary Village Hall on Tuesday night to hear a more detailed proposal from a developer looking to build a residential neighborhood on the vacant Maplewood Elementary School property.
Patrick Taylor of Barrington-based Central One LLC presented the revised concept plan based on feedback he heard from residents at an August meeting, when most were opposed to his ideas for dense housing near an established single-family residential area.
Six weeks later, the message from residents in attendance didn’t change much. The overwhelming majority of the people at the meeting weren’t fans of apartments and town homes in the subject lot.
“I’m looking at this, and I don’t see really a lot that’s good about it,” said Tim Eagen, who lives on Krenz Avenue in Cary. “You’re talking about 328 [residences] with 600, 700, maybe 1,000 people. Four hundred, 500 cars in a landlocked area that can’t get out north or east. This is something that really belongs out by Aldi, not on the Maplewood property.”
Taylor is hoping to capitalize on the available 15 acres, located at 422 W. Krenz Ave., which sits close to downtown Cary and is within walking distance of the Metra train station.
But nearby homeowners see the concept plan as vastly different from their existing neighborhood.
Taylor proposed three four-story apartment buildings along the train tracks that would have a parking area function as the first of the four floors. Taylor said two town home variations could fetch between $275,000 and $350,000.
Several residents pointed out the flooding issues on the property, which has had instances where the existing baseball fields turned into “a lake,” one resident said. They also noted the property drops at the north end near the tracks, and several were worried the development wouldn’t have adequate storm detention.
Public comment and back-and-forth remarks between Taylor and village trustees lasted for more than an hour at Tuesday’s meeting.
The board ultimately determined it wants Taylor to come back with another proposal with far less density, although opinions varied on what the ideal number of residences would be.
The board also asked Taylor to present two or three variations of his next proposal, which would allow it to see which one best meets the village’s wants and needs.
Lastly, the board wants to see how Taylor can design a road that will provide direct access to Cary-Algonquin Road, to help alleviate the additional traffic in the single-family neighborhood.
“This is a start,” Mayor Mark Kownick said. “I’d like to see, with the information and feedback from our residents and our board, if you can come back with something more sustainable for the village of Cary.”
In total, Taylor proposed 250 multifamily units and 78 attached single-family units.
Cary School District 26 closed the school in 2010 because of declining enrollment. The school board approved a $2.5 million purchase agreement with Central One LLC for the property in July after putting it up to bid for the third time since the school has been vacant.
District 26 Superintendent Brian Coleman said in an email that the developer has not yet closed on the property, and the contract is in the “feasibility period.”
Taylor said at the meeting that there is a minimum amount of apartments the property would need to have for it to be a beneficial investment for him, but he did not say exactly how many.