Elk Grove Village trustees agreed Tuesday to annex and rezone 23 residential properties to make way for a $27.4 million, 210,400-square-foot trucking warehouse, over the objections of neighbors whose homes would border the new industrial site.
The village board Tuesday night likewise voted unanimously to endorse a Cook County Class 6b property tax break for the developer, Logistics Property Co., that could allow the 11.5-acre site north of Landmeier Road and east of Roppolo Avenue to be assessed at lower levels over the next dozen years.
The approvals come after some of the 30 remaining homeowners in the Roppolo subdivision in unincorporated Elk Grove Township filed suit against the developer last month in an effort to block the project.
Before the village board's vote Tuesday night, the neighbors' attorney told the board they would continue to consider other legal remedies available to them.
"The village does not have to exercise its zoning, subdivision and annexation power in furtherance of a development that would violate other people's property rights," said Karl Camillucci, an attorney who represents about 10 homeowners and businesses north and west of the proposed warehouse. "You don't have to entertain it or approve it. But by approving it, you're making a choice to violate their property rights."
The subdivision has long been sought by developers, but village officials regularly told developers they would consider bringing in the land only if enough individual properties were acquired to form one large project.
Mayor Craig Johnson said the village isn't forcing the 23 property owners from selling but that it was "only a matter of time" until the subdivision was redeveloped, considering its location in the massive Elk Grove business park.
"There's 23 homeowners in a contiguous box who want to sell," Johnson told residents Tuesday night.
"Those are your neighbors and friends and fellow residents. They want to sell. If a developer and they can come together and meet all the other requirements, why would we prohibit that?"
"If you're successful in the lawsuit, it won't go forward," Johnson said. "We're perfectly fine as a board with that."
The lawsuit stipulates that five homes included in the 23 that are under contract by Logistics are bound by a 1957 land covenant that says only single-family homes can be built on the properties.
The developer and village officials say that document doesn't apply to the village annexation and rezoning process.
Johnson said the covenant isn't being fully enforced since three businesses operate in the neighborhood, including Roback's Truck & Auto repair shop. The mayor also called on the homeowners to remove racist language from the document that was meant to restrict homeownership to white people only.
Camillucci called both arguments a "red herring." He said courts have thrown out restrictions based on race while upholding sections of covenants based on residential usage. And even if residents haven't enforced the covenant against some operating businesses, Camillucci argued, they still can with respect to Logistics.
If approved, the 23 homes would be demolished and construction could begin as soon as next spring and be done by the end of 2020.