The former site of the Wagner farmstand in south Naperville is now the future site of the city's largest residential development in more than five years.
City council members unanimously gave Pulte Homes permission Tuesday to build 312 houses and a church at the 113-acre property on the east side of Route 59 north of 103rd Street.
The Wagner Farms subdivision will come with a public-use trail connecting 103rd Street north to Frontier Sports Complex, a central stormwater detention system that should decrease flooding in adjacent subdivisions, and a donation to the Naperville Park District to help fund a new public plaza near the 95th Street Library and Neuqua Valley High School.
"We see this plaza as being additive not only to our subdivision, but also moving forward for south Naperville," said Russ Whitaker, the attorney for the project.
The plan also will bring a new location of The Compass Church to replace a rented space the congregation is using in a commercial building along 95th Street.
Executive Pastor Darrell Cloud said the church is talking with banks, builders, architects and capital campaign consultants to plan construction of a south Naperville home for worshippers. The church will take up eight acres at the southwest corner of the site, closest to the Route 59 and 103rd Street intersection.
"We see real potential with this partnership with Pulte to further strengthen how we invest in the people of Naperville," Cloud said. "We imagine a church campus on the site that would serve 1,000 people on Sundays and ... be a hub for community connection, civic bonding, emotional healing and spiritual growth -- all part of the greater landscape of what Naperville is about."
The plan is a major change for the property, which had been in the Wagner family since 1961. Three generations used the land, originally as a wholesale farm growing tomatoes and carrots for Campbell's Soups and later as a farmstand, Whitaker said.
It also differs from what was imagined for the site in a zoning update the city approved in 2002. At that time, officials decided the farm should become commercial property, senior housing and mixed-density residential.
But because of the increase in online shopping, the presence of nearby commercial vacancies and the construction of more senior housing in Naperville, Pulte persuaded city council members to approve its request to build houses and the church instead.