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Woodstock Plan Commission considers controversial 92-home Founders Crossing plan

Woodstock residents skeptical of 92-home development proposal

The Woodstock Plan Commission heard from residents concerned about a housing proposal at a Thursday meeting.

The commission met to consider and hold a public hearing on the controversial Founders Crossing plan. Developers Ken and Rhonda Rawson want to build 92 single-family homes on a 10-acre site off Clay and First streets by the railroad.

The commission first considered the proposal Feb. 28. Commissioners positively recommended a special use permit for the project, but they voted down the plat plans.

The commission met again in April to discuss the proposal but the matter had to be rescheduled because of a public notice failure.

A decision wasn’t made after Thursday’s nearly three-hour long discussion. Commissioners continued the matter to June 27 meeting because they wanted more information from the developers.

The commission is an advisory board that makes recommendations to the City Council.

Concerns have been expressed in the past about the lack of commercial property proposed with the development, and the general lack of space throughout the proposed complex.

The property is known as Woodstock Station, and formerly housed a typewriter factory before becoming a Die Cast auto parts facility. The city issued about $2.5 million in bonds more than a decade ago to pay to clean up the site and still is paying it off. Debt payments are expected to conclude in December 2021.

The area is in Woodstock’s tax increment financing district, and the City Council already has given tentative approval for the developer to use TIF funds for aspects of the project.

The plan includes one- and two-story single-family houses ranging from 1,600 square feet to 2,000 square feet with two to three bedrooms. The houses would be close to the road – and each other – with a 10-foot front setback and 6-foot between-unit setback proposed, according to city documents.

The homes would have large front porches and small backyards with detached garages, according to city documents. Fourteen-foot-wide alleys would provide access to the garages.

Residents who live in brownstone homes that were part of the original Woodstock Station development have formed a group to oppose the plan.

Commissioners remained concerned Thursday about how close the homes are to each other, the streets and sidewalks. Woodstock’s typical right of way requirement is 60 feet, but the developer wants a 40-foot right of way.

Narrow alleyways that would provide access to garages also are a concern.

Residents have expressed similar worries.

“I think it’s too much in a small area,” said Woodstock resident Melissa McMahon. “And I don’t think enough is taken into account for families.”

Some said this type of complex doesn’t belong on the Woodstock Station site, which has been earmarked for mixed-use development in various city planning documents.

“This is the most significant development parcel in the city of Woodstock,” said Woodstock resident Allen Stebbins. “[Founders Crossing is] a subdivision plopped in the downtown. It’s the wrong development for this specific site.”

Commissioners decided not to vote on the matter Thursday. The plat proposal was deemed incomplete, because of a lack of landscaping study and direct feedback from both Woodstock Fire/Rescue District and Woodstock School District 200.

‘We are here to make a decision and we have a lot of incomplete information,” commission member Donna Besler said. “We need to see the loose ends tied up.”

The commission is expected to discuss the matter again June 27.

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