Developments wither on the vine
About 400 acres of land that once were expected to be part of Apple Creek Estates subdivision are being turned back into farmland.
The Apple Creek Estates site was annexed into the city in June 2005 and final plat documents were submitted in March the following year. The overall site was nearly 600 acres. In total, Kirk Homes planned 1,320 single-family and attached homes for the subdivision before falling into bankruptcy and facing foreclosure of the property.
As of this week, only 130 single-family and 138 townhouse dwelling permits had been issued, not counting the six model single-family and six model townhouses built. Remaining vacant lots in Phase 1 allow for an additional 101 single-family homes and 38 townhouses.
The majority of the undeveloped portion of Apple Creek Estates site — about 368.5 acres — is zoned for residential use. An additional 55.8 acres at the intersection of Route 47 and Lucas Road is zoned for commercial use. According to Jim Kastner, Woodstock’s planning and zoning administrator, current zoning designations will remain in effect but agricultural use is permitted.
Al Wilson, city engineer, said the purchaser, Pat Givens, acquired the property and has “pretty much gutted” the model hom
es. Plans are for the Woodstock Fire/Rescue District to use the homes for training purposes before completing planned burns.
“[Givens] had indicated to us that he’d like this done in September,” said WFRD Chief Ralph Webster. Webster said the fire district would work with neighboring departments and McHenry County College to provide training prior to the burn down, including a countywide test of mutual aid systems.
Webster said once all hold-harmless agreements are signed, the training will begin. He said the district plans to train at the site throughout the summer, likely utilizing the model homes every week. Since the site is in Woodstock, he said he expects to be able to have on-duty employees at the site, somet
hing that usually wouldn’t be possible.
Unlike older homes used for burn downs, Webster said the model homes provide light-weight construction and great rooms — typical in newer construction — which should give fire personnel a better understanding of fire patterns in such houses.
Other residential developments in limbo
Like Apple Creek Estates, other planned residential developments have stalled without much promise of future construction.
“There has been no interest in moving forward with final engineering and final plat approvals for Banford Oaks or the Fields of Woodstock,” Kastner said. “Both of these are held in the same ownership and are being used for crop production for the immediate future.”
The Riverwoods Estates project, slated for 221 homes, had its preliminary plat approval expire and remains vacant and undeveloped. Any future proposal for development would need to proceed through Woodstock’s approval process.
Vacant lots in the Sonatas subdivision are for sale by the developer, Inland Real Estate. A small number of homes are being built in Sweetwater by the developer, Pulte Homes, which has told the city they intend to retain ownership of the project and continue building.