Phillip Altvater, a neighbor of the currently vacant 103 S. Prospect Ave. property, and Sue Hanlon, owner of Amazing Grace Bookstore at 16. S. Prospect Ave., filed the lawsuit in DuPage Count Circuit Court on Dec. 6, the release states.
"The residents believe an unfair sequence of actions were executed that set an unfair precedent against retail," the release reads. "Notably the project appears to be the beginning of Village President [Tom] Karaba’s vision to turn our 'charming' Clarendon Hills into a 'condo village' rather than a balanced development with retail and adherence to zoning."
When asked what he hopes will come out of the lawsuit, Altvater said, "Ideally we would hope that this massive three-story building wouldn’t be built at that site."
Clarendon Hills village manager Randy Recklaus said in an email that the village is aware of the lawsuit, but has no comment at this time.
The two residents and lawyer Robert O'Donnell earlier this week put out the release, which says the village's approval process was "unfair and arbitrary" and that the residents had to resort to legal action "after exhausting their avenues to convince the staff and trustees during routine hearings."
The Village of Clarendon Hills Board of Trustees voted 5-1 in October to approve the three-story development that property owner Mike Van Zandt said will contain eight high-end condo units that he hopes will sell for between $500,000 and $700,000. A comprehensive plan amendment was required to accommodate a residential-only building downtown without retail space on the first floor.
READ: Karaba on Downtown Clarendon Hills: 'If We Do Not Change, We Will Die'
Residents including Altvater, Hanlon and trustee Eric Stach spoke against the development during two village board meetings for, among other things, its lack of retail space.
Van Zandt, a Clarendon Hills resident himself, said retail would not be feasible in the building because rent in the new development would be too high for small-business retailers and national retailers who can afford new-construction rent are not interested in locating in a small, isolated downtown.
Hanlon said in the release that the condo development will "destroy a prime retail site" and have an adverse affect on the surrounding businesses and the overall character of the central business district.
Altvater, who lives across the street from the property at 104 S. Prospect Ave., said he's concerned the approval sets a precedent for the rest of the village that residential-only buildings are acceptable downtown.
"The village board's recent actions seem to be consistent with their personal desire and their attempt to bring development to Clarendon Hills no matter what the cost," Altvater said in the release. "It's unfortunate that we were ignored by officials when our sincere efforts were to ask for simple compliance and to do the right thing for Clarendon Hills. This lawsuit was our only and our last resort to protect our rights and correct the unfair proceedings. We are not alone in our feelings and will meet shortly with a group of likeminded residents."
A call to O'Donnell Friday afternoon seeking more information about the details of the lawsuit was not immediately returned.
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