On April 7, the Pedcor Invesments and Paul Estridge Group project for Oak Park was met with overwhelming objection from neighbors at the Westfield Advisory Plan Commission meeting. In the three months since then, the two sides have and come to a consensus for the 35.26-acre project at 161st Street and Oak Road.
“It boiled down that what was originally proposed did not meet the comprehensive plan or commitments because part of the zoning ordinance,” said Brian Touhy, attorney for Oak Park neighbors. “These commitments embody the agreement. We withdrawal our remonstrance and support the rezoning.”
Attorney Brian Bosma, who represented Pedcor, said the neighbors objections were the result of three items: a second permanent entrance on Oak Road which will be used for construction traffic, larger lot sizes and having a voice in the appearance of the homes to be built.
“We refined the 35 acres to prove a second entrance and significant increase in lot size,” he said. “We worked with neighbors to address their concerns.”
The 28-lot development, which was originally proposed as two lots larger, sought a change in zoning from Agriculture Single Family 1 to Single Family 1. The original project was for a minimum of 22,000-square-feet lots. The lot size has increased to 30,000 square feet or approximately 0.2 acres.
Bosma said a permanent entrance off Oak Road will connect the neighborhood through the existing Oak Park Circle. It will be used as a construction entrance prior to being paved. Pedcor also is committed to repaying the HOA for errant back taxes that were collected by the developer.
An architecture review committee will consist of a representative from the HOA and developer and an independent architect paid by the developer and selected from a list by the HOA.
“We were very concerned about it not being very compatible and consistent,” neighbor Chris Braun said. “There was a lot of heartfelt conversations and seven versions of commitments.”
Bosma said the developer will pay $5,000 per lot to the HOA – a total of $140,000 – and will have limited voting rights in HOA matters. New pedestrian accesses to common areas will be built to connect the existing and new lots. Bosma said three common areas will be deeded to the HOA after the sale of 25 lots.
“We built a consensus instead of contention,” Bosma said.
The Oak Park project was unanimously approved by the APC and moves forward to the Westfield City Council for final consent.