More than 300 community residents attended a public input meeting, Wednesday, and several dozen voiced their concerns regarding a plan to rezone as commercial the Dimucci family property on the southeast corner of Rte. 12 and Old McHenry Road, near Hawthorn Woods.
The public comment, held at Concorde Banquets in Kildeer, was one of a number of meetings on the Dimucci property plan.
The most recent previous meeting was a presentation by the developer and Lake County Planning Building and Development (PBD)Department, followed by public comment, on June 7.
On June 20, the Regional Planning Committee (RPC) board members were present to hear comments, but could not respond.
Representatives for the developer were present and while they could not speak in the public forum, they were handing out flyers as people were entering the ballroom.
At the meeting, comment cards were provided by the RPC and members of the public were allocated a three-minute time limit to speak before the board. Time was also allotted at the end of the first round of input for speakers who needed additional time to add to or conclude their input.
The plan for the property is opposed by the villages of Hawthorn Woods and North Barrington, the Barrington Area Council of Governments (BACOG) and Lake Zurich-based Active Citizens for Responsible Expansion Inc., also called ACRE.
Hawthorn Woods and North Barrington oppose the plan claiming it ignores an intergovernmental agreement regarding the property, between those two villages. BACOG supports Hawthorn Woods and North Barrington and argues that the plan does not follow the Lake County Framework Plan.
The idea that, the county has not been “open” in their process was a theme that was repeatedly presented throughout the evening.
Attorney Daniel Shapiro, speaking as a representative for the village of Hawthorn Woods, criticized the Planned Use Development (PUD) part of the application package. “...when there is a PUD, there is a plan!” he said.
While apologizing for lack of a better word, he went on to say, “There is a cartoon, a cartoon drawing, not a plan.”
There were also many points raised as to whose jurisdiction the property fell under. Issues raised by the audience covered topics such as re-zoning, jurisdiction, traffic, environmental and economic impact as well as the lack of a plan that specifies exactly what the intent is for the final use of the property.
Hawthorn Woods resident Jeff Sabitt said, “I believe that without a plan, once the Dimuccis get approval, the family will just sell off to the highest bidder.”
Hawthorn Woods Mayor Joseph C. Mancino directed attention to an existing intergovernmental agreement regarding the property.
Mancino quoted from the Lake County Framework Plan, 11.1.3 Policy which states, “The county and municipalities should develop intergovernmental agreements that further the public interest (not developer interest). Public interest.”
Pamela Newton, Chief Operating Officer for the village of Hawthorn Woods, referenced Tab 15 (Sewer and Water Agreement with Lake Zurich) of the Dimucci application , "...on page 3 of that agreement, it clearly states that Hawthorn Woods has the right to provide water service to the Dimucci property in a signed IGA (Intergovernmental Agreement) ..."
Lake Zurich entered into an agreement, in 2011, with the Dimucci developers to provide sewer and water for the property as outlined in Tab 15 of the Dimucci family application. Lake Zurich and Hawthorn Woods have a boundary agreement, which expires in 2018, that grants Hawthorn Woods the right to provide water to the property.
Kelly Corrigan, Hawthorn Woods resident and a village trustee, pointed out that "according to the 2011 signed agreement between the developer and Lake Zurich's Mayor (page 6 - tab15), Dimucci will pay all of Lake Zurich's attorney's fees to litigate with Hawthorn Woods."
The agreement for sewer and water between Lake Zurich and the Dimuccis, states that the property owner may opt to litigate against Hawthorn Woods to pursue water connection to Lake Zurich before the expiration of the boundary agreement. If Lake Zurich becomes a party to the litigation, the owner would reimburse Lake Zurich for 100 percent of legal fees.
The meeting format did not allow for the RPC board members to comment or respond to any of the public concerns.
The RPC will meet on June 25, at 5 p.m., to deliberate and make their final recommendation to the county board. Public comments will not be allowed during this meeting.
Following the RPC recommendation, the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) will also take public input and make a recommendation to the county board, which will make a final decision on the application.