Don’t be fooled by statements being made by Indian Lakes regarding the proposed K-Hovnanian project seeking to construct an age restricted community of 535 homes on the closed golf course portion of the Indian Lakes property. What the Indian Lakes message fails to state is that the reason for any delay is their continued failure to meet the requirements of the Village of Bloomingdale’s application process for rezoning property. They also fail to share with the community that the Village has shared the alternative option with them on numerous occasions. The second option available to Indian Lakes and K-Hovnanian is referred to as a Planned Unit Development or PUD.
The PUD process under Bloomingdale Village Code allows for the submittal of preliminary plans and preliminary approvals. The primary difference between the two procedures is that a PUD looks at a project as a collective development and if approved, would require the applicant to build pursuant to what was approved in the plans and documents submitted with the proposal. Whereas, the rezoning procedure K-Hovnanian has decided to follow permanently changes the zoning of the property and would not necessarily restrict K-Hovnanian to what they are currently proposing. Once the zoning has been permanently changed, they (or any future developer) would have the opportunity to alter or completely change the scope of the project and/or product with the potential for limited, to no input from the Village and its residents. It is for this reason that this procedure requires all plans to be final.
The Village has informed Indian Lakes and K-Hovnanian that if they are only going to submit preliminary plans they should amend their application to include the proposal of a PUD. Rather than simply amending their application and electing to move forward with the public process, Indian Lakes and K-Hovnanian filed a complaint in the circuit court of DuPage County seeking a declaratory judgement against the Village because they do not agree with the Village’s interpretation of its own code. Indian Lakes and K-Hovnanian are asking a Judge to direct the Village to ignore its own code and allow Indian Lakes and K-Hovnanian the opportunity to seek a permanent zoning change without submitting final plans.
Indian Lakes and K-Hovnanian also seem to suggest that they are proposing renovations to the Village’s common infrastructure in the subdivision at large in order to eliminate flooding in that area. Nowhere in the preliminary plans submitted by Indian Lakes and K-Hovnanian does the proposed storm sewer system benefit surrounding properties. Any infrastructure improvement is strictly meant to deal with the water from the proposed development. Again, Indian Lakes and K-Hovnanian fail to tell the public that it is the Village Board that is proposing a $4.5 million-dollar open space project designed to alleviate storm water runoff and flooding in the Indian Lakes subdivision as a whole. Additionally, Indian Lakes and K-Hovnanian avoid informing the public that the Village’s design of the open space envisioned an operational golf course to the north. The Village has helped the golf course and resort throughout the years by purchasing the open space from Indian Lakes in 2007 for 4.9 million dollars along with the issuance of bonds for use by Indian Lakes in the amount of 4.8 million dollars so Indian Lakes could renovate the golf course and rebrand the hotel under the Hilton flag.
The public needs to be aware that the Village of Bloomingdale welcomes an open and transparent public hearing process whereby all the facts and plans can be openly submitted, reviewed and debated. The Village remains willing to immediately convene the hearing process providing that Indian Lakes and K-Hovnanian amend their current submittal to include a PUD. But rather than simply amending their application, Indian Lakes and K-Hovnanian have attempted to force the Village to consider their incomplete application by stopping the renovation of the hotel, closing the conference and banquet facility, closing the restaurants, and allowing the golf course property to fall into an unkempt condition. Now they have asked a court to force the Village to intentionally neglect its code. Indian Lakes and K-Hovnanian have maintained this unwarranted attack on the Village for its unwillingness to alter the rules and treat them differently than other applicants. The rules appropriately require the applicant to propose a final plan on a development that can have a significant impact on our community for many years.
Maybe, the real question to ask yourself is if Indian Lakes and K-Hovnanian care so much about our community, why have they taken these extreme measures to force the Village to alter its the rules for them when there is a simple and viable alternative option available that would allow for the public hearing process to begin? The Village welcomes development, but will continue to follow its rules which ensure a fair and open public process.