Proposed New Development

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It's the cool house on the block where playhouses outnumber kids and an abundance of wooden sticks inspire young imaginations. But Harold Austin's unincorporated Winnebago County home may soon see some changes.

About a dozen town homes may move into his backyard along with a shopping center. This dampens Austin's run-free lifestyle.

"It will effect everyone around here leaving stuff around running around doing your own thing you're gonna have 45 units back here there will be people everywhere," Austin says.

The buildings would go where this old nursery is on West State Street near Meridian Road. It would take up ten acres- and Winnebago County wants the units to be on a septic system. But some Rockford Aldermen think otherwise.

"As the city grows and the commercial growth and housing grows we'd like to see it if it's that close to the city we'd like to be using the city services," says Rockford Alderman Carl Wasco.

But city services means higher property taxes. And since the townhouses would be a lot cheaper than other houses on the block, Austin thinks it could threaten his neighborhood.

"Probably bring the property value down and I think less people will want to live out here once there's a bunch of units stuck out here...everybody bought out here to be kind of out of town but close to town not jammed in," Austin says.

Austin says he thinks a shopping center would be nice to have next door, but wishes the townhouses would go up somewhere else.

The Rockford Codes and Regulations Committee is filing a legal objector to a septic system going in the proposed buildings. They think there would too many people living there and would pose a problem for Rockford or Winnebago in the future

The Winnebago County Zoning Committee will address the proposal at their upcoming meeting this week.