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Approval of Christian school plan delayed

Updated: October 15, 2013 6:29AM

YORKVILLE — Yorkville aldermen tabled for two weeks approval of plans for a Christian high school.

The delay will give developers of the site a chance to sit down with neighbors and the city to hammer out agreements on how to handle drainage from the site and traffic generated there.

Already, the drainage issue involving next-door neighbors to the proposed school site at Ashley Road and Route 126 has involved two lawyers and three engineers.

All of them — including Brad Sanderson, the city’s engineer — have generally agreed that the developer’s plan to address flooding issues is good. How to get the work done, though, is what officials on all sides will discuss.

“The plan for addressing the stormwater is a good one,” said an engineer from Christopher Burke Engineering, who represents the nearby homeowners. “We would like to see it be done as soon as possible.”

That was the general feeling also from John Philipchuck, the Aurora-based attorney representing school developers John and Michelle Stewart, and aldermen. But to build the sewer pipe that would handle overflow drainage — taking it to a detention basin on property on the other side of the neighbors — developers actually need an easement across the property of the neighbors, the Block family.

This prompted George Mahoney, the Block’s attorney, to note that the developers were asking the Blocks to contribute to building a solution to a problem that the developer’s property already has caused the Blocks.

Still, he said he would bring the proposal to the Blocks, anticipating that his clients, the developers and the city could work something out.

The Stewarts have proposed building a 60,000-square-foot Christian high school on about 110 acres that would replace 84 previously platted lots in the Prestwick Subdivision. The school would aim at enrolling 100 students by the beginning of the 2014 school year, with hopes of having as many as 800 students some day.

The city annexed Prestwick in 2005, but only a few houses were built there when the original developer went bankrupt. The Stewarts bought the subdivision with the idea of building the school, but also with the idea of finishing the rest of the subdivision with houses.

So, aldermen are considering an amendment to the original annexation agreement to allow the school, and a final plat for the school proposal.

Officials also recognized that safety on Route 126, a state highway that has long been the subject of safety concerns, is something developers and the city will have to address.

Alderman Larry Kot, 2nd Ward, said more traffic at Ashley Road and 126 is “a potentially dangerous situation.”

“You’re talking about putting children on school buses, adding to what’s already there,” he said.

Route 126 is unusual in that the highway between Yorkville and Plainfield runs for about eight or nine miles with no stops. Many trucks use the highway, and people tend to speed on it, officials have said. While it has not had a lot of accidents, the accidents it has tend to be serious, as was the case about a month ago with an accident at Schlapp Road, east of Ashley Road, that put several people in the hospital.

“There’s traffic from the nearby middle school when it lets out, and there’ll be traffic from this school, and everybody’s burning rubber down 126,” said Alderman Joel Frieders, 3rd Ward.

The school developers and the city did agree on setting $30,000 an acre as the land-cash donation fee for the site, well below the city’s current $101,000 an acre in its ordinance.

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