Some Homer Glen residents raise concerns comprehensive plan update will bring apartment complexes, crime
By MICHELLE MULLINSDAILY SOUTHTOWN |JAN 08, 2021 AT 3:08 PM
The village of Homer Glen is working to update its comprehensive plan to guide future growth and development, but some residents are concerned about multifamily residential areas included in the draft.
Residents told members of the village’s plan commission Thursday that they object to any plan that includes apartment buildings or multifamily dwellings.
Some said they fear that apartment buildings would lead to increased crime, lower property values and increased school enrollment. Several residents said higher density housing would cause drainage issues from overcrowding, increase light pollution and ruin the rural character of Homer Glen.
Steve Balich, a Homer Glen resident and Will County Board member, said apartments would add stress to the schools, police and fire departments and bring drugs and crime into the village.
Russell Knaack, a former village trustee, called for revisions. He said a comprehensive plan should only be approved with the support of the residents, and residents of Homer Glen appreciate the community being different from other suburbs.
Mayor George Yukich said the comprehensive plan is still a work in progress, and the final plan may not be completed for another six months to a year.
The village has worked since 2019 with Savoy Consulting Group, Egret & Ox Planning and Antero Group to help update its plan, which will guide the village board’s decisions over the next 20 years.
Among the goals is to create a plan for growth, add diversified housing, expand the tax base and preserve the village’s rural heritage, officials said.
For about 18 months, the village has received input through focus groups, open houses, workshops and a website. The village has also set up booths at its special events to ask for resident feedback and offered residents updates on the plan’s progress through newsletters and its Facebook page.
The village’s comprehensive plan, first approved in 2005, allows for several areas of multifamily residential zones. The draft plan does not propose additional multifamily zoning, but adds a mixed-use zoning for the 159th Street corridor, village manager Karie Friling said.
The plan states there are opportunities along 159th Street, a major four-lane road with an Interstate 355 interchange, to build a mix of single-family homes, town houses, duplexes, condos, apartments or senior living complexes as well as restaurants, offices and stores.
The key to a mixed-use zoning district is finding an appropriate balance of retail and residential uses that complement one another, and 159th Street as a major commercial corridor would be the right place to create that district, Friling said.
Creating a mixed-use district can help diversify the village’s housing stock as well, she said. Homer Glen does not meet state and federal guidelines of having 10% affordable housing.
About 3.3% of the village’s housing stock is considered affordable, in which a family of four with an income of about $72,800 per year can find a place to live, Friling said.
The village wants to diversity its housing options to provide choices for young professionals, young families, empty-nesters or residents who want to downsize but still remain in the community, Friling said.
Friling said the village has tried addressing residents’ concerns that multifamily housing would lead to an increase in crime by asking for two years worth of police reports from neighboring Orland Park’s two multifamily developments. In the two years, there were no criminal complaints at either development, she said.
Yukich said the village board and the plan commission want to go over the plan “with a fine-toothed comb,” so that residents are satisfied with the final product, he said.
Any future developer would have to submit any potential projects before the plan commission and village board for approval, and no apartment buildings are being proposed for Homer Glen, Yukich said.
Michelle Mullins is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.
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