Urbana to consider annexation, rezoning of plot intended for housing development

Urbana to consider annexation, rezoning of plot intended for housing development

URBANA — A new 406-unit, multifamily residential development could be coming — if the Urbana City Council approves a rezoning plan tonight for future development of the site north of the city.

About 19 of the 40 acres of farmland involved are within Urbana's jurisdiction yet not in the existing city limits, but they've already been slated for possible future use as part of a multifamily development.

The proposal calls for the land to be annexed and zoned for development as housing that would cater mainly to students and young professionals. City documents say it would consist of 406 units of duplexes and townhouses, with 1,154 beds.

At the first public hearing about the proposed annexation, held Aug. 27, Korian Salahudin of Urbana said he doesn't want the development to change the dynamic of his neighborhood — just north of Douglass Park — which sits just south of the parcels.

"My concern is that being in a very enclosed neighborhood, cutting down that corn field may make it open enough that essentially it will bring more trouble to the area," he said. "People will be going through the neighborhood and see it as an outlet. I fear that there will be a lot of traffic and make the neighborhood more dangerous."

But the development could result in more tax income for Urbana.

If the property is developed as proposed, city staff say the taxing value of the land would be about $1.5 million and Urbana's share of that revenue would be about $20,000 a year. Subtract the cost of police and fire services for the area — which estimates place at between $10,000 and $13,000 a year — and the city would get about $7,000 to $10,000 more a year.

Plan commission staff on Thursday night voted unanimously to recommend that the council push the project through.

At the same meeting, Jackie Curry, who lives in the same neighborhood as Salahudin, voiced complaints similar to his. She said the development would generate too much traffic and was concerned about how close it might come to her and her neighbors' backyards. She also noted there are more people in her neighborhood who share her concerns but couldn't make it to the meeting.

Council member Bill Brown said he wants to make sure the city has planned for this kind of development.

"The future use for our section was multifamily housing," he said. "But on the Champaign side, it was single-family. So we'll have to look at if it's still consistent with future use goals given that."

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