Crowding, bus traffic among 5th Avenue concerns

Meeting coverage for the Naperville Sun.
July 16, 2009

By RUTH MOON For The Sun

David Shaftman, who lives in an apartment at 1821 S. Washington St., does not want the Fifth Avenue plan to turn Naperville into a crowded city.

“I do not think it is necessary for Naperville to try to become a metropolis,” Shaftman said. “We don’t have to become a metropolis of high-rise buildings to continue to be a wonderful city.”

Shaftman was one of about 10 people who commented Wednesday on the Fifth Avenue plan, a project to plan future property use on a stretch of Fifth Avenue. At the meeting, the Naperville Plan Commission gave area residents a chance to have input on a map with recommendations for density zonings for future land use on Fifth Avenue, which is currently under consideration for development.

Dave Wilson, who lives at 152 N. Ellsworth St., approved of plans to develop a bus depot on Washington St. but was concerned at the level of bus traffic — nearly 2,000 buses per month, he said — through his neighborhood.

“The access to the train station from these buses is something of a chicken wire and duct tape plan that has never been fixed,” Wilson said. “If only one thing is done it should be building a genuine bus depot.”

Planning commission staff said Wilson’s concerns are addressed in a plan from the Transportation Advisory Board that a bus depot will be built on Washington Street only if bus traffic can be rerouted from current neighborhood routes.

Russ Whitaker, an attorney with Dommermuth, Brestal, Cobine & West, spoke for a client who owns property between North Avenue and Fourth Avenue. He expressed frustration that his client’s land is categorized as a medium-density residential property, which he said means they will be restricted to building fewer buildings than the amount of homes in the surrounding neighborhood.

Comments ranged wide, prompting Chairman Mike Brown to remind commentators several times of the meeting’s purpose.

“We’re here to talk about this map. Basically, what colors should be on this map, medium density or high density? What colors are on this map, and then these comments on the right side of the page,” Brown said. “We’re going to be here a long time if we talk about developments that are not on our docket.”

The collected input from Wednesday’s and other public meetings along with the recommendations of the Transportation Advisory Board will be presented to the Naperville City Council, which will discuss the development Aug. 18.

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