Council wants to annex

By Sean O'Connor and Tyler Vincent

In a 5-1 vote Monday night, the city council agreed to postpone annexing 14.55 acres of vacant land located south of Greenwood Acres Drive and east of Vienna Boulevard.

The proposal calls for the city to annex a slice of property to be donated to the park district from the 85-acre property, popularly known as Hoger Farm, which is being developed into a part-residential, part-commercial real estate development by John Clare Ltd.

With the vote to postpone, the issue will be brought up in a council workshop next Monday night. Seventh Ward Ald. Joseph Sosnowski was the only alderman to vote against the proposal.

The council voted to postpone in part because of concerns raised by 3rd Ward Ald. Steve Kapitan about traffic flow in the area. Kapitan proposed the possibility of installing an arterial road that would run parallel to Greenwood Acres Drive, just to the north of North 14th Street and Hulmes Drive.

“This arterial road will be created as an alternate road in the short term,” Kapitan said, adding that the road could be paid for with Tax Increment Funding (TIF).

Dave Johnson, president of John Claire Ltd., disagreed with Kapitan’s proposal of a possible arterial road.

“I’m totally confused by this,” Johnson said, claiming that Kapitan had not mentioned elaborate plans for the proposed road. “We would be totally opposed to this.”

Johnson also said that delaying the proposal could severely risk the developer’s plans to begin work on the project later in the fall.

Kapitan’s proposal for an arterial road raised controversy among DeKalb Park District representatives present at the meeting.

Concerns by citizens in the existing Vienna Boulevard neighborhood also were expressed. DeKalb lawyer Edward Dietrich addressed the council on behalf of several clients from the area he met with earlier in the day and asked that the adverse possession claims of the neighborhood residents be considered at next week’s workshop meeting.

Dietrich, who claimed to be speaking for 24 to 27 residents from the Vienna Boulevard neighborhood, said that residents were concerned because some of them claim they own the land the developer is donating to the park district. They also claim to use it and are claiming rights to the land under adverse possession.

An adverse possession claim is a claim to legal ownership of land that has been effectively abandoned, based on one having assumed usage of the land over an extended period of time.

Dietrich added that the possibility of litigation by some residents of Vienna Boulevard against the city had been discussed earlier Monday afternoon.

The city council workshop is slated for 7 p.m. Monday at the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St.