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Former orchard owners ask North Aurora for assistance on zoning

Updated: November 11, 2012 6:12AM

NORTH AURORA — The village and the Zepelak family are still wrangling over how zoning leeway would be allowed for prospective purchasers of Zepelak’s defunct 41-acre orchard.

Family members, represented by Stan Zepelak and attorney John Philipchuck, want to annex the land on the village’s far western edge before trying to sell it to a developer.

However, they want the Village Board to grant R-4 zoning on the north end of the property, at the southeast corner of Mooseheart and Deerpath Roads, and flex zoning that would allow mixed commercial and residential development. The village’s comprehensive plan calls for R-3 zoning on the north end, which would allow duplexes but not apartments or blocks of townhomes, with commercial development limited to the south side of the site.

Philipchuck has argued that the Zepelaks need the zoning flexibility to market a development site that has an awkward shape and comes with expensive infrastructure requirements in a very unstable market. The Kane County Board would require him to build a connector road between Orchard and Deerpath for emergency vehicle access and traffic control, as well as install a traffic signal where the new road would intersect Deerpath.

“The road and the traffic signal make it very expensive to develop this property. We can’t make it work with duplexes or single-family homes,” he said.

If the village grants the more liberal zoning, the family could use it to attract developers’ interest, then negotiate lower-density site plans, Zepelak said.

“If I show raw dirt and agricultural zoning to these people, they won’t even talk to me,” he said.

“I’m not going to put up anything tacky here. My parents bought this property in 1958; I grew up in the white farmhouse that’s still there. I have a deep sentimental attachment to this land, so when it’s developed, I want that development to be superb.”

Trustees Mark Guethle and Ryan Lambert voiced support for Zepelak’s request.

“This parcel is really hard to market. We should work with the developer,” Guethle said. “Maybe if more apartments come to the village, this is where they should be.”

Trustee Vince Mancini argued that the potential density would adversely impact surrounding neighborhoods.

“I really have a hard time justifying high-density development within 100 feet of estate homes,” he said.

The board is expected to discuss the tabled annexation agreement plan again at its meeting Monday.

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