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Kane Board OKs early plan for Settler’s Hill development

Updated: November 11, 2012 6:21AM

The Kane County Board Tuesday approved a master plan for adding amenities to the Settler’s Hill property.

Board members have worked with the Forest Preserve for months on a plan to add mountain biking paths, an observatory, cross country paths, a music venue, and other amenities to the 750-acre site in Geneva.

“This is about creating something we can benefit from,” Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay said.

The board voted 16-7 to approve the plan. Three members of the public spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting, expressing concerns with the Fabyan Woods, to the west of Settler’s Hill along Route 25, and with environmental aspects associated with building on a landfill.

Diane Kertz of Batavia asked the County Board about their plan for the woods in the scope of the project. After a public hearing last month, the board established a working group comprised of members of the public, and Forest Preserve staff to help with the restoration of the woods.

Kertz said she was concerned that the master plan would be approved before they finalized plans for the woods.

“There are people who have spent time coming to board meetings, speaking at public hearings, and board meetings and volunteered for the woods restoration group,” she said. “They would like to know what the woods restoration plan is before you vote on it.”

Board member Bonnie Kunkel, D-Aurora, had concerns with the environmental aspects involved with building on a landfill. She said that the board needed to do more to address issues raised in a letter from Waste Management regarding building on the landfill.

“What’s the rush?” she said. “Why do we need to jam this down our citizens’ throats without answering these questions?”

Board member Mike Donahue, R-Geneva, who led the charge to complete the project, said that the master plan is still conceptual. There is room to take residents’ concerns into account as they move forward with the process, he said. There’s also time to address engineering concerns outlined in the letter from Waste Management, he said.

“Just because we’re asking you to approve a master plan today, doesn’t mean it can’t vary going forward,” he said.

There will be a public information meeting regarding the plan from 6 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 18 at Forest Preserve District headquarters, 1996 S. Kirk Road, Suite 320, in Geneva.

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