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Dispute over Palatine subdivision unsettled; will come up again April 20
By Ashok Selvam | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 2/11/2009 10:39 AM

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The Palatine Village Council has pushed back the vote on the proposed changes for the Maison Du Comte subdivision near Harper College to April 20.

Despite a council chamber full of residents Monday night, the board reasoned without a homeowners association representing the residents, they didn't want to take a vote.

"I can't go from door to door and meet with every husband and wife and find out what they want," Councilman Mike Jezierski said.

The board approved developer Russell McElwain's original plan in 2002 for the luxury townhouse community along Roselle Road, which now bleeds into Inverness. The 68 townhouses sold for between $600,000 to $800,000.

McElwain's attorney, James Lennon, suggested an April 20 extension with the hope residents could establish a functioning homeowners association to present the residents' concerns.

McElwain currently retains control of the subdivision, and said he's keeping control because he's worried the homeowners association will hike assessments to pay for work around the subdivision. He said low assessments are his strongest selling point, as the current economic climate is stimying sales.

Phase II of the development, which crosses over to Inverness, is still under construction.

"I'm willing to talk about that stuff and get it done now," McElwain said.

The council reviewed seven items Monday, including whether to take down a roof deck built without a village permit on top of a unit McElwain owns. Other issues were whether to cut down trees to build a walking path and the construction of a fence around the subdivision.

"We don't want it, we don't like it," said resident Wayne Romanchuk of the rooftop deck.

The conflict between the residents and McElwain is a civil matter, which handcuffs village officials. While Romanchuk said he'd like the village staff to act as a mediator during negotiations, the village isn't obliged to, and Jezierski said he wasn't comfortable devoting village resources to a civil matter.

Residents argue that McElwain isn't delivering what he promised when they bought into Maison De Comte.

Nick and Diana Bavarro have security concerns, as their home was burglarized on an October afternoon.

"My wife walked in when the robbers were still in the house, if that gated community was functioning and working, it possibly could not have happened," Nick Bavarro said. "So I don't care what was in place, it's not working, I bought into a gated community and that's what I want for the protection of my wife."

McElwain received a boost from Councilman Jack Wagner, who called him a "straight-up, legit guy."

"I will deal in good faith," McElwain promised.