AURORA -- It took a few months after an agreement was drawn up, but City Council last week approved the dedication of a portion of Aurora Lake Road, which had previously been owned by Hawthorn of Aurora developler Constan Development Co.
The agreement was OK'd unanimously by Council at its May 8 meeting. The road is a major link between Aurora, Reminderville and Aurora Shores. The portion taken over by the city is about 4,000 feet long.
According to Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin, the agreement allows the city to own the road, with developer Mark Constantino chipping in money toward its improvement as he sells lots.
The agreement states that Constantino would pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $493,500 for takeover of the road and future improvements, based on proposed but not approved future phases of Hawthorn.
The breakdown of that cost is as follows: Issuance of all clearing and construction permits for Phase V, Phase VI advanced fee and Phase VII advanced fee, $10,000 each; road dedication, $30,000; estimated remainder of residential lots in Hawthorn, $243,000 (162 lots times $1,500); and estimated cluster/condo units, $190,500 (254 units times $75).
For years, the city has been negotiating with Constan Development to take over the road, which has been in poor shape. The parties finally entered into a memorandum of understanding Feb. 8, 2017, outlining the framework for the instant agreement.
The city has approved and issued all construction permits for Phase V, which are non-revocable.The developer will grant or deed a right-of-way of about 60 feet as part of the transfer/dedication process.
The agreement also states that an appraiser will be hired by the city with the approval of the developer within 45 days after transfer to the city to determine the fair market value of Aurora Lake Road.
The agreement will allow the city to plow snow from the road, pave it and improve it over time, according to the mayor.
Back in March, Constantino said the dedication is overdue, and "a company should not own a road." It was private at the time his company took ownership about 30 years ago, but has been used as a public road. "It's probably what's best for everybody," he said.
"The road services hundreds of homes, and hundreds of cars a day use it," explained Law Director Dean DePiero at last week's Council meeting. "The agreement is not perfect, but it will allow the city to enhance safety there and I think this move is good for the public welfare."
DePiero said the city now will be able to seek state funds to improve the road. He did not have an estimate of what improvements might cost. "That depends on whether we run sidewalks down there or need swales, etc.," he said.
"My father-in-law [the late George Hettinger, a former City Councilman] always told me if you want to control what happens on a piece of land, you have to own it," said Councilman John Kudley. "This agreement will resolve an issue which has been ongoing for years."
Womer Benjamin said the city invested $60,000 for paving of the road in 2015, noting "it was a haphazard way for the city to deal with this by putting money into it when, technically, it was a private road."
Providing some history, Ward 1 City Councilman Jim Vaca said the road originally was a private drive to a lakefront fishing and hunting club, and was owned by several parties over the years.
"The road went around the lake, but it was a service road that led to the dam on the other side," he noted, adding the club rented out boats for fishing, sold fishing and hunting equipment and had a snack bar.