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Bourbonnais may ease apartment ban

May 19, 2019

BOURBONNAIS — For nearly two decades, Bourbonnais has banned the development of new multifamily housing such as apartments.

But the village board is preparing to loosen the prohibition, allowing for high-end apartments.

In 2000, the board enacted a moratorium on new multifamily housing and conversion of single-family houses to multifamily. The resolution declaring the moratorium stated that more multifamily housing would result in traffic congestion, increased pressure on sewers and the possibility of blighted apartments.

The village board enacted the moratorium to reduce the percentage of the local housing stock that is multifamily. It was reported at 34 percent in 1998. That compared to a range of 15 to 25 percent in Chicago’s suburbs and 18 percent in Bradley, the resolution said.

Bourbonnais’ percentage has since dropped to 16 percent.

Under the proposed changes to the moratorium, the village would consider apartment complexes if they are on a minimum of 4.5 acres, include “unique on-site amenities” and have full-time, on-site management offices.

Mayor Paul Schore said Bourbonnais had wanted to reduce multifamily housing to a more manageable level. The village, he said, is changing the moratorium because of prospective residents, particularly millennials, who are interested in “high-end” rentals.

“We have some developers who want to do that type of project,” Schore said. “Also, we have a situation with seniors who need housing at an affordable price. We are trying to make some allowances for that. We are trying to diversify our residential stock so that there are more things for all people.”

Unique amenities under the proposed moratorium, Schore said, would include things such as health clubs and swimming pools.

The village has a project on the table that meets the criteria, the mayor said. It will be near the new Interstate 57 exit at Bourbonnais Parkway.

“We’re excited to see that started,” Schore said.

The mayor said the moratorium was not making Bourbonnais housing less affordable.

“We have a fair amount of affordable housing,” Schore said. “A lot of our older stock of houses is at at price point that is fairly affordable. There is still a fair amount of current rentals.”

Bourbonnais Trustee Jeff Keast said the revised moratorium would allow certain low-income housing developments.

“If someone wanted a different kind of property and they had a conversation with us, we can change the law. That’s why you run to become an elected official: If you don’t like the law, you can change it. That’s the beauty of the system,” Keast said.

Bourbonnais is unusual in that its moratorium has lasted nearly two decades, stretching back before 9/11. A moratorium is defined as a “temporary prohibition.” When applied to land use, a moratorium typically lasts a year or two.

In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a land-use moratorium is considered constitutional as long as it is temporary. The court did not define temporary.

The village board could vote on the revised moratorium as soon as its meeting on Monday.

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