Board OKs Kensington subdivision gate

Hinsdale soon will have a new gated community off Monroe Street near Ogden Avenue.

Julie Laux of J. Jordan Homes is purchasing the 2.2 acres on Kensington Court to build eight single-family homes. And the Hinsdale Village Board gave her permission Tuesday night to install a metal sliding gate at the entrance to the subdivision.

Laux told trustees she has worked carefully to come up with a concept that will sell.

“The people I talked to, the gate is very important and to me it’s a stopper,” she said. “In my mind, this is how the project works.”

As part of the adjustment to the exterior appearance and site plan, Kensington Court will be converted to a private street, and fencing will be installed along Monroe Street and areas on the perimeter of the subdivision.

The Hinsdale Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously approved the request after holding a public hearing in June. The village board also discussed the request as a “first read” at its Dec. 13 meeting.

Several trustees said they are not in favor of gates but recognize the property’s proximity to the Kensington School, Hinsdale Orthopaedics and Ogden Avenue.

“I just think that it’s a very unique location,” Trustee Matt Posthuma said. “Ogden is clearly our busiest street. It’s a commercial street. I can understand why someone buying a house there might want something like that.”

President Tom Cauley noted the property has not sold since the subdivision was originally approved in 2018 as part of the exterior appearance/site plan review for Kensington School at 540 W. Ogden Ave. And the land was for sale for years before that.

“We have not been able to find someone to develop this lot,” he said. “We were lucky to find Kensington to develop the lot along Ogden.”

Trustee Michelle Fisher emphasized the importance of the trees and landscaping to the project.

As part of the plan, Laux agreed to preserve four existing trees on Monroe and plant two new trees on that street and four on Kensington Court. She also submitted a landscape plan with a tree, shrubs, grasses and perennials to soften the appearance of the brick wall near the gate.

“This is a very high-end development that I’m proposing here,” Laux said. “I want it to be beautiful. I need it to be beautiful. I have to sell it.”

Trustee Scott Banke was the single vote against the project. He said a gated community is inconsistent with the neighborhood atmosphere of the village, that it might suggest the community is unsafe and it might play into the perception of Hinsdale as an elitist town.

“In the absence of a gate, I think this is a wonderful project and I would vote yes for it,” Banke said.

Laux told trustees she has a reservation agreement on one property and expects to start construction in the spring on two of the homes. Six of the eight will be two story structures and the two closes to Monroe will be three stories. All have two-car garages.

She assured trustees she will do her best to complete construction as quickly as possible and be a good neighbor to other residents.

“I live in town, too, and I want to do right by the village,” Laux said.

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean