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More Thoughts On Millcreekia!

What happens when the majority becomes the minority? We're about to find out!

Apparently the fascinating folks in Mill Creek chose to ignore my advice to secede from the Union and form their very own country we would call Millcreekia. Ah well, though the rebellion may not be forthcoming, I still say those non-Genevans are revolting.

Perhaps the reason for the recent relative calm is the Battle of Northwest Millcreekia is virtually over, with Kent Shodeen coming out as the clear winner. There will be apartments on Keslinger Road!

So let’s review, class!

The reason for my recent spate of columns on our unincorporated neighbors to the west is their virulent reaction to the prospect of 390 high-end apartment units coming into the Richardson Electronics border of their subdivision.

You’d a thunk someone told those housewives they weren’t making blond hair color anymore.

That open space had been reserved for 210,000 square feet of retail, but with the economic handwriting on the wall, Shodeen Management knew it was a non-starter. However, noting the foreclosure trend had sent rental rates soaring, he decided to make multi-unit hay while the leased sun was shining.

Of course, what I tried to tell those shrieking subdivisionites was, perhaps Shodeen was asking for 390 units in the hope of coming out with 190. And if they played their political cards right, they could cut that development in half.

But did they listen to me? Nope! So now they’re stuck with 290 units because they spent far too much time howling about conspiracy theories and making specious anti-apartment arguments. We’ve already covered a few of their curious contentions, such as, that apartments breed a lack of ownership, a higher crime rate, and they’re not in line with the community.

But even after they chafed at my assertion, those statements were Mill Creek code for “we really don’t want to have to live with apartment-dwelling minorities” they couldn’t even behave themselves at the second public hearing.

One millcreekian demanded that Shodeen conduct background checks on each and every rental applicant while another said she didn’t want “those people” walking around her neighborhood.

Pray tell exactly what are “those people?”

Now, I’m not sayin’ every millcreekian is prejudiced, but I’d be willing to bet the majority of ‘em have said something along the lines of, “I can’t be a racist! Some of my best friends are Hispanic!”

If the mere prospect of apartments terrifies these eminently fragile folks, just wait till they get a load of this one! The Aug. 11 Chronicle reported that the 2010 to 2011 census data shows, for the first time in Kane County history, more children were born to minority parents than to Caucasian couples.

Though this majority-minority transition is taking place all over this vast country, this is one instance in which Kane County is ahead of the curve! As it stands now, 46 percent of Kane County children in the 0-to-4 age group are Hispanic, 7.5 percent are African American, 3.6 percent are Asian, and 40 percent are white.

So even if you throw in those coveted Asians, white children under the age of 5 are now in the minority out here! What that really means is, all things considered equal, in 14 short years we’ll be the minority, as well.

When I say “we’ll,” I ain’t talking about columnists—you’ve seen my picture!

And I’m betting the side effects of this population drift will be particularly fascinating to watch.

Bilingualism will become the norm, driven by local businesses who don’t see black, white or brown, they only see green. When it comes down to getting customers in the door, everyone’s a liberal.

Because the local GOP insists upon fighting among themselves and national Republicans can’t help alienating Latino voters, Kane will become a Democratic county in a little more than a decade.

Local Catholic churches, whose congregations currently look like a Gray Panther get together, will likely rebound with the influx of new Hispanic blood.

Will white folks start screaming for affirmative action?

Call me crazy, but we might even have to face something as outrageous as the prospect of a Hispanic judge being appointed to the 16th Circuit Court.

But the scariest possibility would have to be, should the middle class survive, more Hispanics will be moving into that stratum, which means more of them will be moving into Mill Creek! So if you folks aren’t about to secede from the country (and I fervently hope you’re still considering it), you might want to take the time to pick up a little Spanish.

I’d start with “Bienvenido al barrio.”

Matt Mon August 15, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Sally, The author clearly feels my neighbors are racist and I have a huge problem with that. Also at that meeting Shodeen was claiming that there would only be 1) 4 students in the whole development. (1 per 100 units). 2) That traffic wouldnt really increase because people would walk down kesslinger road to the train. 3) Home values would increase The main objections I heard 1) the pride of ownership .- 2) That they were told they would be townhomes when they bought so they felt mislead 3)The concerning fact that apartments have already been approved so why push for an additional 390 more. All valid concerns and nothing to do with race. I can tell you Mill Creek has been very welcoming.
Donna Mead August 16, 2012 at 04:04 AM
http://www.ehow.com/info_7751966_rent-limits-section-8.html Section 8 people are ideal candidates for Mill Creek housing, that is the point of Section 8 under President Obama.
Davis August 16, 2012 at 04:21 AM
Cryin' out loud Millcreekers - JW is trying to get comments and clicks. The R-word is a sure-fire tactic, ie, if you disapprove of the President, you're a racist - if you don't want high-density housing in your neighborhood, you're a racist, etc.....
Donna Mead August 16, 2012 at 05:55 AM
"Further, I am glad that children who would normally not be able to attend a school in a good district because their parents cannot afford to purchase a home, will now have the opportunity to attend a school like Mill Creek or Fabyan. Remember it is public education." Perfect reason to have school vouchers. Why in the world should your Neighborhood determine your school? 'Choice' encourages quality, and is integrated into all areas of American consumers life... except one... our children's education.
Jeff Ward August 16, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Davis, I never said anyone opposed to apartments is automatically a racist. In fact, I actually armed Mill Creekers with the ammunition to fight those apartments more effectively, but since they love to kill the messenger, they wouldn't listen to me. What I did call out those non-genevans for is the method by which the fought the apartments, more specifically, what they said. You might be a redneck if you say apartments automatically mean higher crime. You might be a redneck if you say apartments aren't in line with the neighborhood. And you are a redneck if you refer to apartment dwellers as "those people." Jeff
Matt Mon August 16, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Jeff in your reply at 2:17 Yesterday you said that Most Mill Creek residents are racist. When you got called out on it you repeated it and said you stood by it. That is a false and slanderous statement against some great neighbors. You say that with no proof at all. Also did you go to the meetings because I was at all meetings and heard several reasons why the additional apartments were a bad idea but Shodeen and our rep were not listening.
Mike Bruno August 16, 2012 at 02:53 PM
It seems that nobody is considering the reality that the old, immutable law of "ownership is always better than rental" is no longer law. The math, for many, doesn't support buying a home. There are plenty of gainfully employed, high-credit-rating people that prefer to rent. Of course we are going to see developers tack toward rental units. That's what the market is asking for. We have new apartments right downtown on our precious 3rd Street. It's a non-issue.
Colin C. August 16, 2012 at 03:44 PM
I have a question: Jeff, you stated in your article that these were to be "high end" apartments. If this is the case how did section eight housing and a lowering of property values get into this discussion?
Matt August 16, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Mike I agree to a point but I think the problem here is the number of units. Shodeen already has permission to for 200+ units in downtown Mill Creek, all he has to do is go pick up the permits and could start to build today. Instead he petitioned for 390 more units on Kesslinger road. That is a lot of units for a short term demand. The problem is when you over saturate a market long term you do more harm than good. Why not build the units that are approved for Mill Creek already then the county can see if the demand is there. You can always increase but you can never decrease once you give that power to the builder.
Matt August 16, 2012 at 04:03 PM
The other thing I find interesting is the our representative is all set to approve this. Mr Franz won election and accused that the previous representative (Jan Carlson) of not doing enough to help residents fight overbuilding (ie the Gran Prarie development). I guess Mr Franz only has a problem with over building if the building is going to take place in his back yard. Of course 100 acres of this land has since been bought buy the county. The land that was bought does happen touch some land Mr Franz owns. I guess over building only applies if it might our representatives outside view.
Mike Bruno August 16, 2012 at 04:41 PM
I can only speculate, Matt...but maybe the grand vision for Mill Creek has been abandoned. The original plan and promotion of Mill Creek was touting the "New Urbanism" concept of a town center. That seems withered on the vine. Maybe Shodeen Inc. feels it can make more money along Keslinger and ignoring the hoped-for town center. One can't fault them for doing what is best for the bottom line.
Matt August 16, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Mike no need to speculate. Shodeen wants the option to build as many apartments as he can. Nothing is being abandoned. The problem is Shodeens bottom line is not what is best for the county long term. An oversaturation of apartments only helps shodeen and no one else, ecsp if there is no demand. Why not have controlled growth? Would you feel the same about the apartments on 3rd street if it was 200 units? 600? 1000? all at Shodeen discretion and no one else? There is a reasonable number for both shodeen and the community. Controlled growth will establish this. All the residents want is to make sure there is no oversatuation. Approving an additional 290 units on top of what he is already approved for does not accomplish this. This is why we need our representatives to step up and curve this. If there is a future demand for apartments, visit it then. If shodeen has his way we will be faced with 600+ apartments.
Mike Bruno August 16, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Thanks for making one of my favorite points. Developer (or market) goals are often at odds with community/societal goals. I would speculate that a Shodeen Inc. probably has a better finger on pulse of future demand than the lay-person (and I say this as someone with no relationship with or interest in Shodeen Inc). On the point of density: It is generally a good thing. It is green and (should those apartments get filled) might put sufficient fire under the developer to actually make good on the decades old promise to complete that town center such that it really does offer a useful array of business so you are not needing to drive to Randall Road or Geneva for your daily needs. Comparing to Third Street is apples vs. oranges. We have municipal codes that dictate height and massing. It is also in the Historic District which added another level of review. (I sit on that commission). It was a nod to good, contemporary urban practices that we allowed a much larger structure into Geneva's prized retail district. I am relieved that it was a success. The commission actually was disappointed that the new townhouse development at Second and South couldn't be HIGHER density. (Apparently the higher density plans cause problems for neighbors with headlights shining in windows when leaving underground parking) We should also remember that apartments can be converted to condos as the market demands.
Matt August 16, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Mike To say that giving Shodeen approval for 290-390 units to encourage him to build the town center makes no sense. Why run for office if you think the builder knows best on how many unit should be built in a community vs working with the community? Are you saying that we should let Shodeen dictate the number of apartments at his discretion because he is the expert and the lay people (the residents) should have no input? Shouldnt the residents of a community have say? Isnt this why we elect officials to represent us? You still dont seem to want to answer the question on if you would have a problem if it was 600 units on 3rd street. You are quick to bring the apartments on 3rd into the discussion but then retreat and point out its apples to Oranges. We have elected officials for a reason. They should listen to the people that they represent instead of just saying the builder knows best. The number of apartments has a number that both works for the community and the builder, putting that number in the hands of a builder is no way to achieve that. You state that the builders goals are often not the same as the community, then why let that builder decide the number?
MJ August 16, 2012 at 08:19 PM
I was not in favor of Greenfields, but senior citizens do need a safe (relatively speaking) place to live. But your point is well taken. So why ANOTHER apartment complex? Greed is why and if you cannot understand that apartment complexes in close proximity to housing developments causes a negative impact on single home real estate values then you need to go back to school and try to learn something this time. No one likes to invest in a house and live close to large buildings where a large number of people live in close proximity to each other. That is why so many people leave Chicago for the suburbs.
Mike Bruno August 16, 2012 at 08:41 PM
I'm sorry if I didn't make myself clear. I absolutely *don't* think the developer should dictate how a community is build out. Period. You are absolutely right that the community should define how it is built out and your elected representatives have an important role there. I speak from complete ignorance on this specific development as I have not seen the plans or heard the arguments. One of my points is that, being in the City of Geneva, there are multiple levels of review (particularly in the Historic District). Another point is that high density is good urban planning. Building large houses on large lots in corn fields at the rate we were was a mistake. City planners and developers now recognize that. I was also speaking to the "icky" apartment-dweller sentiment that I saw in the comments and article. I know where it is coming from, and people don't realize how much the buy/rent mathematics have changed for the foreseeable future. I do not challenge or dispute anything that you have said. Now...I will go try to find the Shodeen plans on line to educate myself and the specifics of this proposal. Do you have a link? Best regards.
Matt August 16, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Mike, I do not see the plans on Shodeens web site. I received notice of the plan when they wanted to make a major change to the development. I also saw the plan at the two meeting Shodeen had on the propsed change. I'm not sure if I can upload the documents sent to us on here. Shodeen has been very quiet on this issue to potential buyers so I guess that could be why he doesnt make it easy to find. I know when we bought we were told the area would be a townhomes and stores like a coffee house and gas station. Shame on me for trusting the builder. I think you bring up a good point when you say not having enough density caused some problems. My fear is that 600+ apartments could be the same mistake with too much density. I dont know what the number should be but I will continue to say to put that number at Shodeens discretion would be a huge mistake. You can always increase the number of buildings but not decrease. We have the opportunity to come up with the perfect number that works for everyone. Kesslinger Road alread has greenfields. The place is a ghost town and was built too big when there is no need for something that big. Why repeat it? I hope builder greed doesnt win out over what is best for the community again.
Rick Anderson August 17, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Build more apartments Mr. S because the way the housing market will likely trend is everyone will walk away from their homes from the inability to pay stratospheric property taxes and their mortgage and move in to apartments. The great downsizing of American civilization. Start by building some apartments in vacated lots on Lincoln Highway where there was once a mall.
Mike Bruno August 17, 2012 at 03:23 AM
FYI: There was a super-high density plan by Shodeen for the vacant mall property back in 2010 on Rt. 38 / Lincoln Highway. It was approved by the Plan Commission but it appears that is too much for Shodeen to bite off in this market. http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/stcharles/topstories/x1042544134/Plan-commission-approves-St-Charles-Towne-Centre-plan
Bob Loblaw August 18, 2012 at 03:59 PM
MJ, maybe it's you that needs to go back to school. http://grist.org/cities/the-great-inversion-cities-are-the-new-suburbs-suburbs-the-new-cities/ http://agbeat.com/real-estate-news-events/americans-favoring-city-life-moving-out-of-suburbs/ http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-04-05/sprawl-census-urban/54007292/1 I can do this all day.
Bob Loblaw August 18, 2012 at 04:06 PM
I think you need to actually read up on section 8 and not just take the first Google hit that supports your position. And you must be joking if you think Mill Creek is "upper class."
Bob Loblaw August 18, 2012 at 04:08 PM
eHow isn't exactly a reputable source. Donna, you really need to learn how to determine credible sources from the detritus you post.
MH August 20, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Pretty sure Shodeen didn't build any parks for free as they are owned and operated by the park district. Thanks for your tax dollars in our neighborhood!
Julie August 22, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Since Jeff is prejudice to Mill Creek people, I think that is calling the kettle black. I purposely sent my kids to daycare in Aurora for diversity because it lacks In GENEVA in general, not just in Mill Creek. Although I personally live on a very diverse street with 2 African American families, an Asian family and 2 Hispanic families. It's insulting to say that "only minorities" would live in apartments. And I certainly don't feel like a "non-Genevan" when I am paying my taxes to Geneva schools and park district, etc. You're insulting and a pompous a**.
Jeff Ward August 22, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Julie, I do my best! Jeff
Steve March 14, 2013 at 06:20 AM
Jeff shame on you for what you wrote. You have stooped to a new low with garbage writing.
Nimikhush Patel December 14, 2013 at 09:16 PM
Hello People, i am not a geneva resident and i am planning on buying a business in geneva, il ... I am an american citizen and my wife is an american citizen as well we both were raised in united states... how ever we are indian origin (hindu) from south asia just to be specific for those people who misunderstand us arabs or muslims from all this comments and arguments it makes me wonder should we buy a business in geneva and then may be a home as well... as there are talks about people being racist... please be honest and advice
Colin C. December 15, 2013 at 12:52 PM
Geneva is a wonderful town in which to live, do business, and to raise children. There is always an argument when it comes to development and to change, as in every town. I have been involved is several efforts to preserve historic buildings in Geneva that developers wanted to tear down. But that is normal and even a good sign of a healthy community. We want to grow but to do so in a responsible and sustainable way. We don't always agree on how to do that. There are some racist people in Geneva. Some openly so, most not so open. But this is true where ever you go, including Mexico and India. I think that it is safe to say that the vast majority of people here are accepting and welcoming to all who wish to come here and become contributing members of our community. So please, if you like Geneva, as so many of us do, and you fell that it might be a good place to do business, come and join us. We will welcome you.
Nimikhush Patel December 15, 2013 at 05:06 PM
Thanks a lot for your advice... me and my wife we both do love the community and the development that has been going around town. I do agree with you about having people with mixed thoughts, my sole reason for asking this was to make sure we are accepted warmly and not with a rock on the chest. Just like what you live in a city where you find people of all ethnicity. I completely agree with the arguments of development of the community and to have a secure neighborhood. We our self would not want to stay in an neighborhood with uneducated people and people with less exposure to the world, who are having issues with a peaceful and happy community. So all in all thanks for your advice and we will surely look forward to be a part of the community.
Colin C. December 15, 2013 at 08:12 PM
We hope to have the opportunity to meet you soon.

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