It’s been almost three years since the village board, in a 6-0 vote, denied a requested special use permit for Flora Meadows LLC, which would have allowed development of a 304-unit mobile home park on two parcels along Poplar Grove Road.

In view of the board’s March 10, 2014, decision, Flora Meadows (FM) filed a complaint against the village in Boone County court on June 5, 2014. Subsequently, on Feb. 8, Circuit Judge John Young ruled in favor of the developer.

Monday night, Feb. 20, the village board voted 4-0, with two absent, to approve issuance of the special use permit.

In outlining its options, Village Attorney Jim Stevens said not voting on the matter could lead to the village being fined, or being found in contempt of court. He suggested the board vote for approval and work with the developer to make the park an asset to the community.

The mood of some residents could come into play in the future given their strenuous opposition to the park becoming part of the village.

Among the reasons cited at the March 2014 village board meeting were concerns about the impact on schools and services, concern with homes being built in a flood zone, further deterioration of Poplar Grove, and damage to personal property from storm water.

“Protect our people, our taxes, and our future,” one man said.

Another referred to the development as a trailer park, which he thought would not draw the right kind of people to the village.

Village President John Neitzel more than once called for order, asking people not to applaud when a speaker said something they liked.

After the attorney representing the applicant was criticized for saying the development had met all village requirements, Neitzel reminded the audience no one had interrupted them while they were at the podium. He said the same respect should be shown to the current speaker.

The action taken by the village board on Feb. 20 based issuance of the special use permit on 16 conditions.

Among them were: landscaping will include berms of two to three feet in height to serve as buffers between the development and neighboring single-family homes. Plans must be submitted before each phase, for review by the building official, before construction is allowed to begin; FM will install one water meter for connecting village water to the development. The village will provide one sewer line connection for the entire project. Connections to individual lots will be the responsibility of FM. Water and sewer connection fees will be waived by the village; roads will be private and maintained by FM. Road names will be approved by the village planning department; and FM will use the same garbage collection service as the village.

Also Feb. 20, the board postponed action on a proposed moratorium on the water and sewer connection fee. More information is being sought, and the issue is being returned to the committee of the whole.

Flora Meadows, LLC

A history of Flora Meadows, LLC and the proposed Poplar Grove Road development was provided to the village board at its Feb. 20 meeting.

The company is managed by Douglas Fitz, a lifelong Boone County resident.

Flora Meadows, LLC (FM) and its predecessor, the Leroy Fitz Trust, annexed the parcels for this development to the Village of Poplar Grove in 1995. The annexation was requested by the village at the time, as the last parcel to make the connection to the then-Belvidere Airport for its development.

In 2001, to handle the expanding growth of the community and an inadequate sewage treatment, the village needed a site for a new sewer plant. The village asked FM if it would sell a portion of its property for the plant. FM then entered into an agreement for the sale and offered the property for $0 in cash.

The village offered consideration in the form of a Development Agreement Village Ordinance #547. This agreement allowed for the zoning change to allow for the manufactured home community to be built.

Project Description

Hawthorn Meadows is a land-leased, manufactured home community under a special use, mobile home park provisions of the Village of Poplar Grove ordinance.

The park will consist of less than 248 rented, air right pads (RAPs) on the south parcel and less than 43 RAPs on the north parcel. A site plan shows a total of 266 units on the two parcels.

The parcels are located off Britnie Drive and Poplar Grove Road in Poplar Grove in Sections 19 and 30 of Poplar Grove Township in Boone County. The home sites will be occupied by single section and multi-section homes built to the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Code.

All homes initially placed in the community will be of recent manufacture and have exterior lap siding and pitched, singled roofs. The homes will be uniformly skirted and installed and inspected in accordance with village, state, and federally approved procedures.

All aspects of the project will be in accordance with provisions of the Boone County and state of Illinois Health Departments.

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