The folks in Mill Creek are at it again. I swear they’re just like a bunch of hyperactive toddlers. Leave them alone for 10 seconds and they're riding the labradoodle and climbing the fridge.
Last week, it was the unparalleled horror of having to watch their kindergarten progeny, sad faces plastered against those small square school bus windows, being schlepped 5,280 feet to Fabyan Elementary to mitigate a temporary class size issue.
This week, it’s the prospect of a 390 unit apartment building complex in the northwest corner of that Shodeen paradise that sent them over the edge again.
It’s not that I’m not sympathetic. I am. Why, these dire tribulations remind me of a Big Bang Theory episode where, having to cope with low pulp orange juice that wasn’t and a toaster bent on incineration, Sheldon remarked, “This has to be the worst day of my life.”
These non-Genevans are actually starting to make Eagle Brook look good which is a really difficult thing to do. I haven’t heard this much shrieking and whining since Rush Limbaugh got picked up for drug possession.
“The lack of ownership that an apartment complex would bring is very concerning to all of the residents of Mill Creek,” said one Mill Creek resident.
“A rental community of that size and magnitude does not bring any positives to the community that I can see,” said another, “ I believe it’s a shortsighted solution to the economy with complete disregard to the long-term effects it will bring to the area and the residents who live here.”
Others said something like, “The apartments are not in alignment with the rest of the nearby neighborhood.”
Translated from the original Mill Creek-anese, what that really means is, “We know it’s minorities who tend to rent apartments out here and, while we desperately want those folks to be our bus boys, nannies and landscapers, we really don’t want to have to live with them.”
Not only that, but because some folks think everything should be served up to them on a silver platter, when no one knocked on their door to tell them about this, they automatically assumed it was a done deal borne of the of most heinous of conspiracies.
Did Kent Shodeen, a man who’s as politically connected as it gets, do his darndest to slip this thing in under the radar? You bet he did. Did he do anything illegal or underhanded?
The current law stipulates you only have to alert adjacent property owners to an impending development and, since Shodeen Management owns the 1,000 feet of green space between the proposed buildings and the nearest Mill Creek home, all they had to do is warn themselves and Richardson Electronics.
So that’s exactly what he did. Not everything in life is an episode of CSI people!
To make matters worse, one Patch reader wondered aloud what ulterior motive could possibly be behind Shodeen Management’s refusal to hand over those plans which only proves that most people would prefer to spend hours nattering about nefarious plots than take two minutes to call eminently reachable county board member Drew Frasz — which is exactly what I did.
Drew told me the county has already approved 70 townhomes and 210,000 square feet of retail on the parcel located in the northwest corner of the subdivision on Keslinger Road. With the roads already in place, Shodeen could break ground on that project tomorrow.
But they don’t want to do that because, due to our shifting economic environment, evidence suggests that country-based PUDs (Planned Unit Developments) cannot support that kind of hefty commercial enterprise.
“That’s Wal-Mart space and that much retail scares me,” Frasz said, “You really need to put it at a major intersection for it to succeed.”
Ah! But because of the flood of foreclosures and the fact that most homebuyers can’t get a mortgage without submitting one of their children as collateral, the demand for high-end rental units is at unprecedented levels. The parcel in question is also just a stone’s throw from the LaFox Metra station.
So now you can see why Kent Shodeen is rich and you’re not.
But as far as it being a done deal? It ain’t.
As Drew also explained, “When no one from Mill Creek came to the Development Committee or Regional Planning meeting, with 1,000 feet of green space as a buffer, we thought nobody was concerned and voted to move the plan along.”
Once the red flag went up, Frasz asked for the item to be pulled from the Executive Committee agenda and recommended that Shodeen hold a public forum in which Mill Creek residents could have their say.
That meeting will be tonight, July 9, at 7 p.m. in the Mill Creek clubhouse.
Of course, when some Mill Creekers discovered the school board meets at exactly the same time, they immediately started shouting the word “conspiracy” again. Here’s a thought, send your husband to one of them while you attend the other.
Drew also noted this scenario illustrated the need to update the current county notification ordinance. So they’re doing just that. The reworked statute will require a development notice be sent to all property owners within a certain radius as well as public signage.
It’s already on next week’s Development Committee meeting which, of course, none of you will attend. As far as the apartments themselves, nothing moves forward until it’s approved by the full county board.
“Shodeen has a great history of managing properties,” Frasz said, “It (the open space) won’t stay a cornfield and it won’t be a park. You have do decide what you really want to go in there”
Frasz finished with this insight, “By and large, there are a lot of really reasonable people in Mill Creek. Like we did in LaFox, they need to work with Shodeen to come up with something that’s palatable to everyone.”
Apparently Frasz has a much higher opinion of Mill Creekers than I do. Considering their recent track record, I’m actually starting to feel sorry for Kent Shodeen. And that’s something I never thought I’d say.