A proposal for 55 townhouses on a south Naperville site originally slated to be a commercial part of a "second downtown" has gained early approval from a city panel.
The planning and zoning commission recommended a pitch from builder Lennar for the Towns at Naperville Crossings to take up a vacant 5.3-acre property at Anna Marie Lane and Showplace Drive near 95th Street and Route 59.
The recommendation follows a decision in January to rezone the site for residential use because it had not yet developed into stores or businesses in the 15 years since the Naperville Crossings area -- meant to be the downtown of south Naperville -- was planned.
If approved by the city council, the Towns at Naperville Crossings would include 3-bedroom units of 2,200 to 2,400 square feet pre-wired to function as "smart homes," Lennar Land Acquisition Manager Andrew Mouw said.
The development on two of the internal lots at Naperville Crossings meets all specifications of the city's R3 zoning district for medium-density multifamily housing and includes three fewer units than could have been allowed.
"We wanted to come in with the right plan, not the most dense plan," Mouw said,
The plan provides sidewalks and landscaping to match what is nearby. That way, Mouw said, the new townhouses would be "walkable to Starbucks and all the other amenities that are within Naperville Crossings."
"It will be very appealing to millennials, young professionals as well as empty nesters looking for a diverse housing supply and a unique housing opportunity," project attorney Vince Rosanova said.
The planning and zoning commission's support of the townhouses came with one detractor. Commissioner Krishna Bansal voted against the development because he said it did not match the expectation he and others on the panel had early this year when they changed the land's zoning from commercial to residential.
"This is a business district," Bansal said. "We were hoping at least for the ground floor to be commercial, and that's not happening."
The recommendation also came with comments from one nearby resident, Kenn Miller, who brought up concerns about parking congestion at Anna Marie and Showplace and drive-through traffic backups from the nearby Andy's Frozen Custard.
Rosanova said the developer would consider adding more "no parking" signs or using pavement striping to warn drivers where parking is not allowed. There are 14 guest parking spaces on Showplace Drive, and Mouw said each townhouse comes with a two-car garage and a full-length driveway, so residents will have space for four vehicles.