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Bellevue moving forward with multi-family complex

By Rich Palzewic
Staff Writer

BELLEVUE – At its Dec. 9 meeting, the Bellevue village board held a public hearing to discuss a request by Lexington Homes for a preliminary planned development district (PDD) for a multi-family complex.

The PDD covers 35.12 acres and includes 208 units of multi-family apartments and intensive business uses.

The property is located generally south of Main Street (U.S. Highway 141) and east of Glenmore Road.

The item was originally considered during a public hearing at the Oct. 28 village board meeting.

After the December public hearing and discussion from the board, the preliminary PDD was approved with a 3-2 vote.

Trustees Tom Katers, Adam Gauthier and John Sinkler voted in favor, while Village President Steve Soukup and Trustee Dave Kaster voted against.

“During the Oct. 28 meeting, area residents expressed concerns regarding the connection to Glenmore Road, bringing more people to the area and the use itself,” said Andrew Vissers, director of community development. “We postponed consideration of the item until the December meeting to allow for the developer to make possible changes to the layout to address the concerns of the area residents.”

The biggest change made by the developer was the elimination of the secondary access point to Glenmore Road, which leaves the development with only one connection to Main Street.

“Staff is opposed to the elimination of the secondary access point to Glenmore Road,” Vissers said. “Glenmore is an improved roadway from the intersection of Big Creek Road north to Main Street, with a width of approximately 37 feet. We believe most of the traffic that would use this access point would head north rather than south on the improved/urbanized section.”

As a comparison, Crystal Lake Apartments has 214 units and one primary access point onto Bellevue Street, Vissers said.

“The street width of Bellevue Street varies, but it’s approximately between 38-40 feet wide,” he said. “We are not aware of any traffic concerns regarding this development or any significant accidents. The comparison shows one access point for 214 units and two access points for 208 units that will split the number of trips for the Bentayga development.”

Vissers said staff understands there will be more traffic on Glenmore Road than what residents in the area are used to as growth continues in Bellevue and Ledgeview to the south.

“If the desire is to eliminate possible traffic increase for this development alone, then staff would suggest an emergency access only point of access, which would only be utilized in times of an emergency,” he said. “We’re concerned about safety, and the more points of access, the more the traffic is dispersed.”

Several people spoke during the public hearing and all were opposed to putting multi-family apartments there.

Those who spoke were not opposed to other forms of housing (condos, multi-family homes), only apartments.

“If you drive around the area, you see tons of apartment buildings going up,” said resident Michael Shepeck. “Bellevue doesn’t need more apartments. People who own their homes stick money into them and stay a long time. Apartment dwellers come and go. We have a better community when people own their homes – they have something invested. We have too many apartments in the area, and it has to stop. As a resident of Bellevue, I’m opposed to this – apartments can be an eyesore and affect traffic site lines.”

Jared Schmidt, a representative for Jeff Marlow (Lexington Homes), said rent for an apartment would be between $1,200 and $1,600 per month.

“People paying this much for a unit indicates they have the money,” he said. “It’s more than most people pay for their mortgages, but they simply don’t want the upkeep associated with owning a house. Some units are 1,700 square feet. It also has huge tax implications for the village, possibly funding projects in the future.”

Schmidt said there are generational changes in the way people live today.

“We’ve done these studies year after year,” he said. “It’s a facility that will be managed by a professional organization. They have more than 3,000 units and occupancy is above 95 percent. That proves the market is there.”

Marlow also spoke to the board.

“To be clear, these are not apartments,” he said. “It drives me crazy when I hear this. I own lots of apartments that have central hallways and detached garages – these are not like that. These would be some of the most high-end units we are currently building. The units would go into one of the lowest-density areas we’ve ever done – 8.5 units per acre. We’d have so much grass to cut it would be unbelievable.”

Marlow said these types of units will be better maintained than some residential neighborhoods.

“If you drive through a new subdivision we recently built, you’ll see instances of people not taking care of their property and lawns,” he said. “I can guarantee our stuff will look better. We constantly have people taking care of it – watering and doing the necessary work. This is a great plan.”

Unlike subdivision areas that will need to be serviced regularly by the village, this multi-family complex will mostly be self-sufficient, Marlow said.

“Residential neighborhoods need roads, infrastructure, garbage pickup and more,” he said. “That’s lots of costs and time for the village. This complex would need some police and fire services, but otherwise, we take care of our garbage and roads. This would be a good fit for this neighborhood compared to what else could go there.”

Other changes to the original plan include a solid berm being built along the boundary with Glenmore Road.

The buildings in this area were shifted slightly east as well.

Also, the clubhouse was flipped from being adjacent to Ivy Trails to adjacent to Duke’s Wheels.

There were no changes to the number of units or converting any area to other lower-density residential.

Staff said the passing of the preliminary PDD only guarantees the developer will go forward with plans.

A final PDD would have to be approved by the board at a later date.

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