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Local News

School enrollment issues lead to Plainfield commission tabling housing development

Commissioners want assurance from school district, park district on project change

PLAINFIELD – A plan to convert a previously unfinished senior living community into single-family housing was tabled by the Plainfield Plan Commission until Feb. 2 over concerns about how the development would affect school enrollment and park districts.

New Lenox-based Hartz Construction Co. on Monday presented the commission with the plan to convert the 407-unit Playa Vista project, consisting of 221 single-family detached ranch-style homes and 186 townhome units, into a 321-unit development with 308 single-family, two-story homes.

But commissioner Andrew Heinen, who lives in the neighboring Grande Park subdivision, said residents of the existing subdivision were concerned that the switch from senior to single-family housing could flood Oswego School District 308 with more students.

Heinen, who noted he sends his children to private school, said the development could force students who live across the street from Grande Park Elementary School to bus to a different school due to an influx in new students that could affect what schools students attend. A similar issue occurred three years ago.

Although Hartz spokesman Mike Martin said developers have already sat down with school district officials, commissioners wanted to hear the school district and Oswegoland Park District's thoughts on the project firsthand, either through a letter or in-person, before making a decision.

"We want to make sure the [Plainfield] trustees are also looking into this," Heinen said, noting that Grande Park residents would have been at the commission meeting Tuesday if they weren't at a school district meeting at the same time.

Commissioners tabled the planned development change, on Martin's suggestion, to allow those residents a voice. But some commissioners cautioned against turning the next commission meeting into an argument about school impact.

"I think their points are well-taken," commissioner Richard Kiefer said. "But they should be addressing their energies to the school district about that."

Chairman James Sobkoviak said the village doesn't have control of the change in demographics or school redistricting.

"It's unfortunate that children are put through moves, but that's how life goes and we can't tie the project down to that," Sobkoviak said.

Project plans

The change in the Playa Vista project would integrate some existing ranch homes and one six-unit townhome building into the planned single-family homes.

Martin explained that the townhome building, which currently has one occupant, would have its own homeowner's association that would itself be a member of the whole development's homeowner's association.

Martin said Hartz will comply with all village codes and ordinances, only extending a previously approved variance to limit side-yards to 8 feet on the ranch homes.

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