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DuPage County assumes oversight of COD campus

The DuPage County Board on Tuesday unanimously approved a five-year agreement that settles a long-running dispute between Glen Ellyn and the College of DuPage over the oversight of college building projects.

Board members voted 18-0 in support of the pact, which transfers all regulatory control and authority for COD’s 273-acre campus from Glen Ellyn to the county. Both COD and Glen Ellyn officials already had signed off on the deal, which requires COD to drop a lawsuit that it had filed against Glen Ellyn in 2010 after a long battle over the extent to which the village had the right to inspect and issue occupancy permits for newly constructed college buildings.

The pact also requires Glen Ellyn to waive all citations and fines that it had issued to COD, and forces COD to drop its plans to deannex its campus from the village. Under the agreement, Glen Ellyn will continue to provide water service to the college, and COD will continue to pay all applicable village taxes.

Glen Ellyn also will retain all control of roadways surrounding the college.

The pact automatically renews for additional five-year terms for a total of 20 years unless the parties decide otherwise. That means that in theory, COD could decide to proceed in five years with deannexing, and the village would be powerless to stop it. However, the agreement also requires Glen Ellyn only to provide Lake Michigan water service for three years after deannexation, potentially leaving the campus without other Lake Michigan water options after that point.

Board member Jim Zay, R-Carol Stream, supported the agreement but called it “a bad precedent,” and said he hopes other large landowners don’t pursue deannexing in the future amid disputes with the municipalities in which they are located.

Zay also criticized both COD and the village for failing to resolve the issue themselves.

“I think it’s sad that it came to this point when you had two elected bodies that couldn’t come together as adults,” he said. “I’d hate to see how much taxpayer money was wasted on this by going to court and arguing.”

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