A retail, entertainment and housing development could be headed to the northeast corner of Longmeadow Parkway and South Randall Road in Algonquin. Property owner Troy Mertz hopes to build entertainment and retail space on 23 acres of a 39-acre parcel. The entertainment and retail space would surround a central community park and gathering space known as “the Colosseum,” according to village documents. To the north and east of that property, Mertz hopes to also build a luxury apartment complex with about 300 units, 150 townhomes and about 50 single-family detached lots, village documents show. The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved the project – despite vocal opposition from some residents. “We wouldn’t even be entertaining this if it wasn’t good for the village,” Village President John Schmitt said. “Planning and Zoning has listened to public input and recommended unanimously to pass it on to the full board. It is now in the hands of community development planners who are working with the developer to fine-tune and get more detail into the project.” The project still needs to be approved by the Village Board, and it’s not yet clear when plans will come before the board, Schmitt said. The 39-acre parcel, which currently is farmland, needs to be annexed from Kane County, Community Development Director Russ Farnum said. Village Trustee Janis Jasper, who lives near the proposed development, said she is concerned about the density of the housing development and doubts whether there’s a need for additional retail space. “I have a lot of reservations about putting in a new commercial area when we have [vacant] commercial property on all sides of Algonquin,” she said. Jasper said the area is one of the few places in the village with “nothing on it.” “I need to hear some rationale,” she said. “I need more details.” Cynthia Kanner, executive director of the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, said she also has deep concerns about the project. “It just seems like there’s a lot going on, and when new development is considered, there should be, going forward, some consistency with how these retired farm fields are going to be developed,” Kanner said. “There should be a lot of emphasis put on open space, green space and sustainable green infrastructure. … I’m not sure how this will reflect on the community visually and sustainably.” The proposed land plan includes preservation of the existing tree lines, which will help serve as a buffer to neighboring land, according to village documents. “Some of the open spaces will contain naturalized stormwater retention areas, while some are active play sites or lawn areas for passive enjoyment,” a village memorandum reads. Schmitt said the village is committed to high-quality developments. “What development in Algonquin has not been nice? We don’t accept anything less than very top-quality apartments, condos or single family [homes],” Schmitt said. “It is a really, really spectacular development that brings a lot of amenities and positives to the village.” The development is proposed to the north of a recently finished section of Longmeadow Parkway, which is part of the larger Longmeadow Parkway Fox River Bridge Corridor project that has faced opposition for decades in Kane and McHenry counties. The project includes building a four-lane, 5-mile toll road and a four-lane Fox River bridge crossing to try to reduce traffic congestion in northern Kane County.
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