Little Friends redevelopment proposal
Little Friends, Inc. has entered into a contract to sell their campus to Ram West Capital LLC pending certain contingencies, including the approval of redevelopment plans by the City of Naperville. Ram West is working with DJK Custom Homes on plans to develop Heritage Place, a 47-unit community of rowhomes.
The Kroehler Mansion would be renovated and converted from its current use into a three-unit rowhome. 12 additional rowhome buildings with an additional 44 units would be constructed on the rest of the property, for a total of 47 units. A public park, maintained by the Naperville Park District, is a part of the concept.
Approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness, a conditional use, and three zoning variances will be necessary for the current Heritage Place concept:
- Almost all of our neighborhood is zoned R2, for single-family and low-density multi-family residence district; this means that single-family homes and duplexes are permitted by right. A conditional use is required in order to construct single-family attached dwellings (townhomes or rowhomes) within R2 zoning.
- The developer is seeking a variance for a 15-foot front yard setback. The required setback within R2 zoning is 25 feet.
- The developer is seeking a variance for interior side yard setbacks. For subdivisions which applied for a plat prior to January 27, 1989, which includes almost all of our neighborhood, the interior side yard setback within R2 zoning was 6 feet. That means a minimum of 12 feet between buildings. For subdivisions created after this date, the requirement is 16 feet total for 2 side yards, with each side yard being a minimum of 6 feet. The developer is requesting that the pre-1989 rules be applied to this proposal.
- The developer is seeking a variance from the minimum lot area requirement. R2 zoning requires a minimum of 4,000 square feet of lot area per dwelling unit (note: this is lot area, different from living area) for single-family attached dwelling units. The current proposal includes a lot area per unit of 3,515 square feet, necessitating a variance.
A Certificate of Appropriateness will be sought from the Historic Preservation Commission, followed by Planning and Zoning Commission review, and final approval by the City Council.
The approximate timeline is as follows:
- Monday, August 10: The petitioner’s attorney will be meeting with the immediate neighbors via Zoom webinar. An invitation has been mailed to adjacent property owners. Advance registration is required and attendance is restricted to immediate neighbors only.
- Wednesday, August 12 at 6pm: The petitioner’s attorney will be meeting with residents within ECHO boundaries, also via Zoom webinar. This meeting is open to all of ECHO, but advance registration is again required. ECHO residents are strongly encouraged to register, attend, ask questions, and provide input. A registration link has been provided to ECHO members via email.
- Thursday, August 27: This proposal is currently expected to go before the Historic Preservation Commission at the August 27 meeting. This date is subject to change. ECHO will keep residents updated, but you are also encouraged to sign up for HPC agenda notices at the City of Naperville’s website.
- Planning and Zoning Commission review and City Council approval could follow in subsequent months. These dates are not yet set. Again, ECHO will provide information to residents, but you are encouraged to sign up for meeting notices from the City.
The ECHO board has been in contact with the involved parties, and has recently met twice to discuss the Heritage Place concept. Residents are asked to consider the following before the upcoming neighborhood meetings:
- Are the proposed setbacks sufficient? (15 feet front yard, 6 feet interior side yard)
- Is the height of the buildings in keeping with the neighborhood aesthetic?
- How will the density (47 units) of the proposed development affect traffic and infrastructure?
- What is the construction timeline? How will the multiple phases of development affect the neighborhood?
- How much green space will remain?
- How will stormwater be managed?
- Is preserving Kroehler Mansion a priority for ECHO residents, or is it more desirable to have a development that fits in with the neighborhood?
All ECHO residents are invited to register for the August 12 neighborhood meeting via Zoom. Please note that this meeting is restricted to ECHO residents. If you are an ECHO resident who has not received the registration link, please email the board at the address at the top of this page.
If you have questions or comments for the ECHO board about this or any other neighborhood matter, please contact us.