A home developer is considering a plan for new townhouses with a lakefront backyard immediately west of the Three Oaks Recreation Area in Crystal Lake.
Atlanta-based Pulte Homes’ concept plan targets an area along South Main Street, just south of a larger Water’s Edge project, a mixed-use plan that would also utilize the lakefront and replace Crystal Court. almost empty mall.
The plan presented at last week’s planning and zoning commission meeting included 17 multi-unit townhouse designs with 75 units in total, 33 of which would set back to the lake. The site plan includes a pocket park, and the background of the site could be used for a restaurant or a hotel.
However, a number of concerns were raised by the commissioners during the meeting, including aesthetics and public access to the lake.
Pulte is expected to meet with planners next week to discuss possible adjustments to their proposal, said Crystal Lake City planner Elizabeth Maxwell.
“The planning and zoning commission gave good feedback on how to change the plan,” Maxwell said. “Hopefully they can incorporate some of these suggestions.”
The site is vacant, but zoned for manufacturing. It was identified as part of the Vulcan Lake tax increment funding district for mixed-use development in 2005, according to the concept plan.
Pulte recently entered into an agreement to purchase the property and is still early in the process of developing a site plan, said Matt Brolley, Pulte Division Manager for Land Use and Rights, during Of the reunion.
Several commissioners have indicated that they would like the colors and materials of the facades to have a more naturalistic look and match what would happen at the Water’s Edge site, including access to a public footpath along Three Oaks Lake.
“We’re all very passionate about Three Oaks,” commission chairman Jeff Greenman said at the meeting. “We have to leverage what we have there. But I think we have a great opportunity here to partner with Pulte.”
The initial plan calls for three- to four-bedroom townhouses, a garage, and low-maintenance landscaping. The concept would be marketing to new owners, Brolley said, although several commissioners have indicated they would like to create luxury models due to the convenient location along Three Oaks.
Even though they are marketed and designed as premium models, public access to the lake could be an issue, and although Brolley suggested that a new PUD could include road access to the lakeside footpath, it would also reduce home values.
“It’s an incredibly exclusive site,” said commissioner Kathy Repholz. “The original proposal feels more traditional to me, too suburban. I could perceive it to be a ‘crown jewel’ among residential sites.”