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Board to Talk Plan to Bring Affordable Rental Housing to Fox Chase

At Tuesday's Committee of the Whole meeting, Village Board members will hear and discuss a plan to finish Mill Street Station's townhomes and rent them out as affordable housing. The meeting is at 6 p.m. at Village Hall.

Tuesday night, the Oswego Village Board will hear a proposal to finish out the Mill Street Station portion of Fox Chase with affordable housing rental units. And village leaders are expecting to hear from concerned residents about it.

Mill Street Station was approved in 2005, and was meant to contain 84 townhome units at the northeast corner of Orchard and Mill roads. Five buildings containing 21 of those units were built, according to Community Development Director Rod Zenner, before developer Steve Carr Builders called a halt to it.

The last building permit was issued in September of 2009, Zenner wrote in a memo to the board members, and since then, the property has been unfinished. Sidewalks have not been finished, the streets need a final layer of asphalt, and landscaping still needs to be done, Zenner said. The Mill Street Station property is now owned by West Suburban Bank.

But now a group of investors is proposing to buy and finish the Mill Street Station subdivision as initially planned, with the intention of offering the 63 new townhome units as rentals, under the Affordable Workforce Housing Tax Credit Program. This federal program will give developers Ryan Companies tax credits to build the units, as long as they are rented out to people making 60% or less of the area’s median income.

That means, Zenner said, that a family of four moving into these units cannot make more than $55,000 per year to qualify. The developer also has to remain in control of the property for at least 15 years, and the owner in this case will be Jim Bergman of Iowa, who has 23 years of development and ownership experience.

The new proposal includes office space for an on-site manager and a tot lot near that office, to provide neighborhood children with a place to play, Zenner said.

Bergman owns more than 2,200 units in five different states, according to information provided to the Village Board.

On May 17, Bergman and Ryan Companies presented their plan to a group of adjacent homeowners, in a meeting at . According to Zenner’s memo, residents at that meeting were concerned about the value of their homes, with the change from owner-occupied properties to rentals.

Some residents were pleased that the look of the new townhomes would match the existing ones, and some said the new units would “stabilize the value of the existing homes,” Zenner wrote.

Stacy Krisch, who lives in Fox Chase Estates, said she plans to attend tonight's meeting, and she's bringing about a dozen of her neighbors with her. She said that if this development comes to pass, she believes her property values will go down, and crime rates will go up.

Homeowners in Fox Chase Estates, she said, have paid between $300,000 and $500,000 for their homes, and have already taken a financial beating in the recent recession.

"I think that if this development passes, you'll see for sale signs in every house the next day," she said.

Village President Brian LeClercq said the affordable housing income requirement is roughly equal to the amount made by first-year teachers and police officers. He’s more concerned, he said, about the fact that these will be rental properties, since the village has more issues with rentals than owner-occupied homes.

LeClercq said he expects residents of Fox Chase to come out to tonight’s meeting and let him know where they stand. Bergman and Ryan Companies need a letter of support from the village to obtain their tax credit, and LeCercq said the board is prepared to listen.

“I’m very interested in having that conversation,” he said. “It’s important that we all get together and discuss it.”

The Village Board’s Committee of the Whole meets tonight at 6 p.m. at , 100 Parkers Mill. The meeting is free and open to the public.

BJP July 10, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Yes email the village trustees
John Spasojevich July 11, 2012 at 12:58 AM
I'm a bit offended. My annual income is around $60K and I rent. Oddly enough my property is well cared, clean and tidy. There are plenty of renters "absentee owners" and if you look on Realty Trak you will find many properties in various stages of foreclosure in Fox Chase and the surrounding area, you just may not know it yet. I'm not interested in getting a mortgage on a $300K house ( where are those, most that were at the price point are much less than that now) and being underwater. When everything evens out I may consider it. The issue with renters is that the OWNER or the on sight MANAGER exercises little control over the upkeep.
John Spasojevich July 11, 2012 at 01:03 AM
So what is Oswego? Tall Grass or River Run in Naperville or is it White Eagle? I guess, if I understand what you are saying is that a starting teacher making $38K is not welcome in Oswego? A single parent making $50K is not welcome in Oswego? Where would you have them live? I know...anywere as long as it's not within 5 miles of your house right?
Fox Chase 10 July 11, 2012 at 01:58 AM
to John S: your so exicited about this proposed rental community; put your sarcasm and money where your mouth is and move it to your subdivision, if you even live in Oswego or own a home? Fox Chase is a community of single family homes started over 20 years ago; not of rental apts; if it was; I would not of moved here nor would alot of us. National housing stats will show more cime is involved with renters than homeowners, that having rental apts near SFR lower property values,and the socio-economic values of owning a home create a better society than renting longterm.Those are facts; look them up and then call the developer and tell them they can live next to you.
Jane Enviere July 11, 2012 at 02:15 AM
It is unfortunate that blanket statements are being made about "renters". There are certainly many folks who care about where they live, whether they write a check to a landlord or to pay a mortgage. Heck, there are plenty of homeowners who do very little with their properties. You can certainly oppose a development without making generalizations that sound more than a tad elitist, at best.
John Spasojevich July 11, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Well I remember when Fox Chase School was built so I may have been around here as long as you. The one thing that has changed over the last 20 years is the elitist mentality of some people in the community but that's everywhere. The development is not going to be built IN the FC subdivision. It would be built outside of it. How many renters are in FC? I bet there are a few. There are many in Churchill Club and I don't know that there is a rise in crime in that subdivision. I know you may have a chip on your shoulder because Marina, Shore Heights, Deer Creek and Home Town are close to you. For the record I have nothing against any of those areas, or FC. As for the proposed building, they can build it in my area OR better yet, I can move into it and be your neighbor! While you're on a vedetta against people you perceive as lesser than you, maybe they should close down the new retired apartments they just opened, I think a lot of retired people are ow income so that would make them crime riddled and a "bad element" or do you prefer the term "those people"?
Tim July 11, 2012 at 02:32 AM
If National Housing stats show that, why did you not provide a link so other people can verify what you say? Is it because the statistics actually show the opposite of that? http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/ascii/ecv.txt "elderly homeowners are more likely than renters to be victims of household crime." What people a discouraged by, is the blatant bigotry against people based on nothing but income. Now THAT is what Oswego is known for. Maybe one day, these bigots will put 2 and 2 together, and realize that there is a correlation between their high tax rates, and their desire to micromanage who and what moves next to them.
John Spasojevich July 11, 2012 at 02:39 AM
The beauty is that f you ask anyone who has moved here in the last 15 years what they moved here for one of the top 5 answers is "the open space", which was destroyed by the development of their "upscale" communities. Really what drove them was the lie that District 308 was as good as the North Shore and a closet desire to live in Naperville until they found they couldn't afford it there. So we have a Naperwego with the same snotty attitude. Part of my business deals with foreclosure and a lot of my time is spent in Fox Chase, River Run, Century Estates, and Gates Creek. But those folks who walked away are a better class I guess because they used to have money or did they just wannabe?
Oswego Resident July 11, 2012 at 12:20 PM
This issue shouldnt even be on the table as an option! We should be fighting to prevent renting period. The odgen falls subdivision has been destroyed by renting out to low income residents and has caused all the stir about boundary changes. We need to stop people from slumlording and clean up the mess we already have.
John Spasojevich July 11, 2012 at 12:56 PM
You hit several nails right on the head. I'm through Ogden Falls almost daily and I see many homes, not rentals, which are in fair shape. Part of the problem is that developments like Ogden Falls, Home Town ( except the original part along Presidential which was done by a former developer) and Lakewood (pick one) are not the highest quality product. They were built quickly. I'm hoping to be here in 30 years to see how they've held up. The owner or management company needs to be held to the fire to maintain the property was well as the person renting. Sure, if you have a family on 8 and their income is $20K then you may have issues with the appearance. You can't say that every person in that boat is a criminal. Those of you still in your homes are fortunate, it could very well be you looking to house your family but not able to come up with a down payment or are in the waiting period post forclosure to qualify for a loan.
gater July 11, 2012 at 01:57 PM
jerico circle was a low income housing development . who wants that in there back yard and schools. how much more do you want your school taxes to go up the state is not going to cover that the feds will pay part of the rent not the taxes to the community .
Oswego Resident July 11, 2012 at 04:41 PM
The bottom line is welfare systems are a complete failure and we need to stop it. We cannot be a free country if we are dependent on the government
oswego resident July 11, 2012 at 05:01 PM
This is a bad idea...Don't let it happen
singlemom July 11, 2012 at 05:43 PM
There are everyday people that have work full-time for years and have lost their jobs and their homes and life savings. Those people need to have a place they can move into and afford. I think this is a great idea. Oswego use to be a small town and had caring people.Now we have a bunch of people who think they are better than others. It makes me sick. I have been here for 43 years. I love this town and all the people who live here. Rich or Poor....So for all you people who think you're better than others...move to Naperville where you will fit right in. Karma is powerful...so think about what you say before you say it.
John Spasojevich July 11, 2012 at 05:48 PM
@singlemom....AMEN!
John Spasojevich July 11, 2012 at 05:53 PM
I agree with you Oswego Resident. So were should we start? Lets cut off the Section 8 and affordable housing programs. That will protect your neighborhoods. Then lets stop food stamps and WIC (aid to women, infants and children) that will starve "those people" and then lets keep going, we can cut medicare, medicaide and social security....then close the VA hospitals and finally we can end all the tax breaks, the Bush Tax Cuts, credits for education, EIC, and the mortgage interest deduction, then all of the corporate welfare. If you mean "welfare" in the common useage then you have to cut EVERYTHING not just to those you feel are beneath you.
Chad Lewis July 11, 2012 at 06:51 PM
And to think most of you jumping up and down about this claim to be christians. I suspect a good number of you even go to church every Sunday. Do you think Christ would agree with your selfish desires? How can you reconcile your attitudes and actions with your claimed faith? And to those of you who aren't christians, don't you have any heart for those less fortunate they you?
JimmyJ July 11, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Chad they are just wallowing in their misery because they know they are stuck in a house with half of what they paid for it with no way to sell it for a profit in their lifetime
denis c July 12, 2012 at 05:55 PM
awesome,singlemom
denis c July 12, 2012 at 05:57 PM
hey john ever think about running for office?
denis c July 12, 2012 at 06:03 PM
man that was good
Dave July 14, 2012 at 12:19 AM
http://www.ihda.org/developer/IAHTC.htm The above link is for the Illinois Affordable Tax Credit. The same one that the Ryan company is seeking. Basically, it's Section 8 housing
Dave July 14, 2012 at 04:48 PM
I have equity in my FC Estates home. Once I start seeing the rental apartments go up, I plan on jumping in on the action and rent my home out as section 8. It wil be a Win Win situation.
mike ellison July 14, 2012 at 05:38 PM
The problem with many of these gov't programs is that they don't have enough limits in place fo the recipients. If our tax money is going to be used to pay, or supplement, someone's rent then don't allow them rent in more expensive areas. If it isn't their money then they should be provided with the absolute minimum amount of benefits in order to have a roof over their head. They can choose a nicer house or neighborhood when it's their own money. Everyone knows that these so-called affordable housing programs lower real estate values. It's unfortunate that there are some good people among the renters, but these sorts of programs bring in way too many irresponsible people. It has nothing to do specifically with someone's income, but from the experience that any person has had when looking at how these projects work out in other neighborhoods. Factually speaking, there is a correllation between these typies of projects and higher crime. So the homeowners who actually are paying their mortgage with their own money have every right and interest to make sure that their property values don't go down as a result of other people moving in and not even using their own money to pay for their rental unit. These programs would work much better in the gov't agencies in charge would actually enforce living standards such as the appearance of the house and lawn, etc. But we've all seen how well the gov't does that.
Oswego Resident July 14, 2012 at 06:04 PM
@mike ellison, can you provide any links to these "factual" statements you are making? I would like to read them for myself. Thanks.
Dave November 26, 2012 at 11:53 PM
The village board lied to the residents about this project all along. After doing a bit of investigating, I learned that the village planned to approve this low income apartment project from the beginning. In fact the village has even given the developer a discount on their water rate! I will have more to say after some of my FOIA requests are processed by the State of Illinois.
Oswego Resident November 27, 2012 at 01:46 PM
We should start a petition! Im a terrible writer otherwise I would type one up myself. If anyone is interested in writing it. I will go out and get as many signatures as I can!
Dave November 27, 2012 at 08:42 PM
It's probably way to late now. The village has already received their hush money. We could demand that our water rates be reduced like the developer. And we could petition for a permanent police substation in the apartment complex. Finanlly, we'll all be able to appeal our taxes as the property values decline. However, any savings might be off set by higher insurance premiums for the home and vehicles.
Dave November 27, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Funny, the developer Ryan Company has still not contacted any nearby residents. Where are the drawings? Will they finish the walking trail and park around the pond? Afterall, they said they would complete the previous landscape plan and make it more extensive. I guess the village has no viable comprehensive plan for the Orchard Road corridor. It is destined to be low quality businesses, perhaps a pawn shop, liquor shop and rent to own furniture.
Dave Ruggles November 29, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Could you give us more information about the water deal.

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