Naperville Council Moves Ahead with Seeking Development Proposals for Affordable Housing

Naperville Council
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At its meeting last night, the Naperville City Council approved the release of a request for proposal (RFP) to help create a path forward for developing affordable housing for seniors and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. An RFP is a process used to gather project proposals.

The city is eying opportunities to make more affordable housing possible using city-owned property at Route 59 and 103rd Street. The land currently sits vacant on the city’s south side.

Community Concerns

Mary Hamill spoke on behalf of the Naperville Accessible Community Task Force (ACTF), saying they have some concerns about the council’s efforts to create opportunities for more affordable housing.

“The ACTF would like this housing opportunity to be broadened to include all persons with disabilities, not just persons with [intellectual and developmental disabilities,]” Hamill said. “We support affordable and accessible housing for seniors and persons with disabilities.”

Mayor’s Response

Mayor Steve Chirico acknowledged the positive nature of the synergy between seniors and persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, but said he is concerned about the challenges that broadening the term disabled presents.

“It’s something I’m sure we’ll work through,” Chirico said.

The city ultimately intends to iron out how to define the terms ‘affordable’, ‘disabled’ and ‘senior’ at future workshops and meetings.

What’s At Issue?

Affordable housing has long been an issue in Naperville, and the city is short in supply of options as evidenced by a Housing Needs Assessment performed by the real estate consultant firm, S.B. Friedman.

Officials are currently eying about 6.1 acres of property out of a possible 22.1 acres for a potential affordable housing development, according to council documents. The council reserves the right to add or subtract land from the project site.

Community Input

Bradford Miller, chairman of the city’s human rights and fair housing commission, asked the council to consider granting current Naperville residents first preference in landing affordable housing in town, but is worried about the legality of it.

“If there’s a way for a current Naperville resident to have some kind of preference when it comes to that housing, that would be great,” Miller said.

City Attorney Michael DiSanto replied, saying he’s not seen this provision enacted before, but he will take a close look at it.

“In the past, we’ve been careful to not include provisions like that because it can result in the building of other communities, and everyone starts doing it and there’s not the transmissibility of residents among multiple communities,” DiSanto said.

Naperville News 17’s Megann Horstead reports.

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