New homes proposed for Crystal Lake near Three Oaks Recreation Area
A homes developer is considering a plan for new townhouses with a lakeside backyard immediately west of Three Oaks Recreation Area in Crystal Lake.
The conceptual plan from Atlanta-based Pulte Homes targets an area along South Main Street, just south of a larger Water's Edge project, a mixed-use plan that also would make use of the lakefront and would take the place of the almost empty Crystal Court shopping center.
The plan presented at last week's planning and zoning commission meeting included 17 multiunit townhouse models with 75 units in total, 33 of which would back up to the lake. The site plan includes a pocket park, and the bottom of the site could be used for a restaurant or hotel.
A number of concerns, however, were raised by commissioners during the meeting, including aesthetics and public access to the lake.
Pulte is set to meet with city planners next week to discuss possible adjustments to their proposal, Crystal Lake City Planner Elizabeth Maxwell said.
"The planning and zoning commission gave good feedback on how to change the plan," Maxwell said. "Hopefully, they'll be able to incorporate some of these suggestions."
The site is vacant, but zoned for manufacturing. It was identified as part of the Vulcan Lake tax-increment financing district for mixed-use development in 2005, according to the conceptual plan.
Pulte recently completed a contract to purchase the property and still is early in the process of developing a site plan, Matt Brolley, Pulte division director for land planning and entitlements, said at the meeting.
Several commissioners indicated they would want the colors and material for the facades to have a more naturalistic look and to match what would be going into the Water's Edge site, including access to a public path along the Three Oaks lake.
"We are all very passionate about Three Oaks," commission chair Jeff Greenman said at the meeting. "We need to take advantage of what we have there. But I believe we have a great partnership opportunity here with Pulte."
The initial plan calls for townhouse units with three to four bedrooms, a garage and low-maintenance landscaping. The concept would be marketing for first-time homeowners, Brolley said, although several commissioners indicated they'd want to create luxury models because of the ideal location along Three Oaks.
Even if they are marketed and designed as higher-end models, public access to the lake could be a concern, and while Brolley suggested a new PUD could include roadway access to the lakeside pedestrian path, that also would reduce the homes' value.
"This is an incredibly exclusive site," commission member Kathy Repholz said. "The initial proposal feels more traditional, overly suburban to me. I could perceive this being a 'crown jewel' among homesites."