Subdivision plans leave residents looking to village for 'more consideration'

56-acre project proposed near Country Ridge

The Plan and Zoning Commission, which advises the village of Mahomet's board of trustees, held a public hearing on Tuesday and discussed a resolution to establish a large-scale residential development of 56.2 acres of land commonly known as Sangamon Fields.

The proposed Sangamon Fields subdivision, which will be south of the Country Ridge subdivision, north of Copperhill Drive and east of Route 47, is currently zoned for single-family and two-family residential dwellings.

"These are not duplexes with two dwellings on one lot; they are attached single-family houses on their own lot," said Kelly Pfeifer, the village's community development director. "We expect more ranches."

If approved, Kyle and Tanner Rave of Rave Homes in Bloomington will be the builders for the proposed subdivision. The Rave brothers presented their model duplexes, which have brick facades.

The engineering company, Farnsworth Group of Champaign, proposes 209 homes where the large-scale residential district zoning would allow 230. Farnsworth Group hopes to create a sense of community in addition to the dwellings.

Amenities of the subdivision include an 8-foot biking and hiking path, a crosswalk, a lake, two 50-feet (in width) linear parks and dark-sky-compliant lighting.

"Dark-sky-compliant lighting affords for stargazing through lower-level lighting and shielded fixtures to avoid light pollution," said Neil Finlen, an engineer with the Farnsworth Group.

While the Illinois Department of Transportation prohibits direct access to Route 47, village staff recommended providing three stub streets, which will include Deer Run Drive, Finch Drive and Orchard Drive. Though already constructed, Deer Run will be expanded and no residential driveways will be allowed on the east side of the road.

"The arterial and collector designations anticipate traffic from not only Country Ridge subdivision but also the subject development and surrounding lands," Pfeifer said. "Country Ridge Drive has been shown as an arterial roadway on the village's long-range transportation plan to eventually connect Prairieview Road, Route 47 and beyond to Mid America Road. Deer Run is a collector that may someday be connected to Copperhill."

Pfeifer indicated the development would help with the ever-increasing demands of the housing market for single-family and zero-lot-line homes.

"This should help provide for first-time homebuyers as well as those empty nesters who are hoping to downsize and stay in the area," Pfeifer said. "The lack of availability of other price points and types of housing in existing Country Ridge can be a detriment to the neighborhood as lifestyle and economic changes shouldn't require residents to leave a neighborhood area they are already so invested in."

Developers expect homes to range in price from $200,000 to over $300,000.

This is not the first time the engineering group has developed a subdivision for single-family and two-family homes. Farnsworth Group recently partnered with the city of Monticello and Kirby Medical Center in the oversight of creating 104 dwellings in the Sage Meadows subdivision.

Rave Homes finds this to be an exciting time and a positive development for nearby Country Ridge subdivision's residents.

"It's a good steppingstone for those who want to buy," said Kyle Rave, co-owner of Rave Homes. "If you come in with the same product as Country Ridge, then it's only going to hurt those residents' housing. It's filling a void that Mahomet needs."

Finlen believes that with its amenities and over 200 dwellings, the subdivision will become a great asset to the village of Mahomet.

"It's not just a subdivision, it's a community," Finlen said. "The linear park is a community focal point. It would also be an amenity, and Country Ridge folks could get into this project. It benefits Country Ridge even with their stormwater retention. It's got a strong social aspect. In it's design and what it intends to accomplish is to give people that sense of belonging in a community."

Yet residents of Country Ridge voiced their concerns during the public hearing. Much of residents' concerns regarded traffic safety and the increase in traffic with only three stub streets (Deer Run, Finch and Orchard drives).

"Having an entrance to the south would greatly alleviate driving and safety concerns," said Mark Holley, a resident of the Country Ridge subdivision.

Holley noted the speed zone reduction to 25 miles per hour in Country Ridge and how he still sees numerous instances of drivers surpassing the speed limit and disobeying signage. Other concerns included children playing outdoors and their safety with the increased traffic volume.

Other concerns voiced to the plan and zoning commission included water drainage to the Country Ridge subdivision's lake. Residents raised concerns about ongoing maintenance issues with the lake's current state and how it is "not well cared for," according to resident Jeanny Douglas.

"I don't see from my personal standpoint the village stepping up," Douglas said. "It's just not pretty."

Country Ridge homeowners, such as Kelly Strom, urged the board of trustees to take careful consideration of their concerns in its further discussions.

"I feel like the village of Mahomet is looking for more property tax money and not looking at the big picture," Strom said. "I feel like this is a big turnout and it speaks volumes," she added, referring to the large crowd at the village's public hearing.

Also voicing his concerns and issuing a strong caution about the next phases of the village's discussions was Jesse Stauffer.

"I just think more consideration can be done before pushing this through," Stauffer said.The village of Mahomet will continue its discussions on Sangamon Fields with the board of trustees at its study session at 6 p.m. March 20. Final decisions will not be made until the board's regular meeting at 6 p.m. March 27.


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