News and stuff about Lake Forest and Lake Bluff

Gorton Community Center Plans First-Ever Dog Day Parade

Submitted by Gorton Community Center

Getting ready for the parade. Photo courtesy of Larry Ross Photography

Getting ready for the parade. Photo courtesy of Larry Ross Photography

Lake Forest, IL — Every dog has his day, and this year for local dogs that day is Saturday, May 10, as Gorton Community Center hosts the 1st annual Gorton Dog Day Parade.

Gorton’s Dog Day will celebrate our canine friends and families with food, music, dog experts and more. The bark of the town is of course the costumed dog parade, which will step off from Gorton at 9:30 a.m., promenade through town, around Market Square and back to Gorton. Parade Marshall and Dog Day sponsor Michael Schreiber of L3 Capital, LLC said, “Gorton reflects this community’s camaraderie and energy, which all of our merchants in Market Square hold dear. We are proud to support what is sure to become one of the town’s best-loved events.”

Once the tail-wagging processional returns to Gorton, ribbons will be awarded to one small, one medium and one large dog in each of the categories of Best Costume and Best Owner/Dog Look-a-like. Parade goers will determine the most coveted prize, Top Dog, with the help of the Woof-o-Meter, custom made by Altounian Construction, Inc.

Co-Chairs Susan Weninger and Sarah Georgi agree that Gorton’s Dog Day Parade is a great way kick up our paws and get outdoors.

“I think the parade is a fun way to reach out to the community – especially after the winter we’ve had,” said Weninger. “I have fond memories of doing theater productions at Gorton as a child, and Gorton’s Dog Day parade is a wonderful way for my children to experience what a vibrant town we live in.”

Merchants around town have joined the fun with dogged determination to vie for the “Best Doggone Shop Window.”

From left,  John Dick holding Weezie Carrabine and Cece Gottman holding Lucy Gottman. Photo courtesy of Larry Ross Photography

From left, John Dick holding Weezie Carrabine and Cece Gottman holding Lucy Gottman. Photo courtesy of Larry Ross Photography

The winner, announced on May 3, will receive the blue ribbon and barking rights for the year. The celebration, located in Gorton’s west parking lot, will feature live music courtesy of stage sponsors and long-time dog enthusiasts Scotty Searle and Sue Dixon. Catering by Kenny will serve hot dogs and more.
Pet rescues and adoption groups will be on hand, as will a variety of pet experts to discuss wellness, training and more. Brenda Belmonte, of Two Paws Up Dog Training and Gorton’s resident dog trainer will set up a fun agility course featuring a pause table, weave poles, a tunnel and K9 fitness equipment.

“I am thrilled to be a part of Gorton’s Dog Day Parade, said Belmonte. “It’s a great opportunity to help educate owners on responsible ownership, the importance of training, and how to build a relationship with their dog based on trust and mutual respect, not force, intimidation or fear.”

To register for the parade, go to or sign up parade day at Gorton, 9 a.m. Fees $5 per dog; Humans are free. All dogs in attendance must have proof of vaccination and must be leashed at all times. For more information, call Lisa Gilcrest at (847) 810-4102.

Gorton Community Center is a privately-funded, not-for-profit 501c3 organization which operates in partnership with volunteers and the City of Lake Forest to enrich the lives of its residents through cultural arts, education and charitable service. Gorton relies on the generosity of residents and businesses to help fund programs, services and building improvements offered in the historic building owned by the city. The gathering place in the heart of our community where people connect, converse, learn, listen, play & perform.

The Bride Price in Uganda: 12 Goats, One Blanket and a Hoe

Editor’s note: Allison Godwin Neumeister travels from Lake Forest to Uganda twice annually to distribute aid and partner with organizations that support the health and education of children in Uganda. Allison shares her stories with GazeboNews in a series of personal letters about her time in Uganda.

By Allison Godwin Neumeister

I went to an Introduction Ceremony recently, a lively event where a bride introduces her future husband to her parents, seeking permission to marry.

At dawn, 20 of us packed into a matatu (i.e.: minibus), carrying with us two live chickens that would soon make their way to the buffet table. On my lap, I held two adorable boys who were experiencing their first car ride and visit to a city. Like eager puppies, they leaned out the window to catch the wind and scenery.

As we drew close to our destination, the scene transformed from old women in African kitenge laboring in the fields to young women stylishly dressed in brightly colored gomesi, with carefully plaited hair and sequins affixed to their cheeks. The colors of Africa are spectacular, and Introduction ceremonies blend all the elements together creating a beautiful canvas of color.

Bridesmaids; photos by Allison Godwin Neumeister

Bridesmaids; photos by Allison Godwin Neumeister

Woman carrying produce.

Woman carrying produce.

The Introduction

An Introduction Ceremony has two critical elements: The meeting between families and a transaction known as the “bride price,” both of which are central to African marriage and society.

The introduction provides families of the groom and bride the opportunity to formally meet and establish a bond. This bond generally extends beyond the family to the clan and the community.

The groom with his groomsmen.

The groom with his groomsmen.

Today, the formal introduction and bride price transaction took place behind closed doors (or thatch hut), and guests were very patient. While the in-laws did the customary meet and greet, the rest of us sat patiently in the heat with stomachs growling.

Finally, when the groomsmen walked past me with a hoe, blanket, goats and several cases of soda, I knew that formalities were drawing to a close and soon we’d sit down to a celebration of goat and mashed plantain (matoke).

Bride Price

Bride price is a bit of a misnomer because the bride isn’t actually appraised in value — thank goodness. Generally, the term refers to the payment made in exchange for the bride’s family’s loss of her labor or education fees. The custom varies between tribes.

Among the Bagisu, the customary bride price is four cows, four goats and some cash while among the Bakonzo tribe, it’s one hoe, one blanket, 12 goats and 12 jerry cans of local brew. Actually, the deal can be sealed with as little as a single hoe or bag of sugar. Customary law establishes that once the gift is physically accepted by the elders, the transaction is final. Unlike most African purchases, however, this purchase is 100% refundable.

A groomsman with goat

Offering a goat for the bride price

So here’s the interesting stuff…

When a bride is “purchased,” she generally becomes the property of her new husband and whoever else contributed to the bride price, typically the clan or extended family. Therefore, if she “misbehaves,” her husband can seek damages and recover the bride price.

Further, since the clan also has a stake in the outcome of the marriage, the bride is, for all intents and purposes, considered property of the clan and community. An unfaithful wife will not only face a beating by her husband, but also the wrath and ostracism of the clan.

Generally, African women view marriage as a sacred contract and follow their traditional roles — a life of servitude and obedience to their husbands, somewhat reminiscent of America’s pre-feminist days. Many African women take great pride in serving their husbands and consider it an important function to “protect” them.


The groom and bride

The groom and bride

While village women stay close to home to attend to domestic duties, men enjoy their freedom in the trading centers or in distant homes where they may keep another wife or two. (The brother of my host has five wives.)


Polygamy (technically polygyny) is practiced widely in Uganda and many parts of Africa, particularly in rural settings. Its origins range from ensuring population growth to securing bonds between clans. It’s a hotly debated topic, and Kenya recently passed a bill legalizing it, bringing civil law in line with customary law. Legal or not, the vast majority of Kenyan and Ugandan men have multiple partners.

I can’t yet determine why educated women knowingly enter into a co-wife or polygamous arrangement, but it’s very common. Perhaps the fear of being alone is too great. Better to marry in a co-wife arrangement than to marry no one. (Remaining single is not an option in the village.) My sympathy really goes to the first wife, who often marries her true love, unaware that within a few years, her status may downgrade from “wife” to “first wife.”

The Downside of Polygamy

Most of my male African acquaintances maintain multiple relationships outside their first marriage. It’s an aspect of the culture that I shouldn’t judge, but I’m critical of the practice.

Sanctioned extramarital activity, as its practiced in sub-Saharan Africa casts a wide sexual net that accelerates the spread of sexually transmitted infections. At the health clinic, we see women repeatedly infected with syphilis due to their philandering husbands. It takes a strong woman to turn down her husband’s sexual advances, and many women are beaten if they refuse. Even if her partner is HIV+, it’s culturally unacceptable for a woman to turn him away. Needless to say, extramarital sex is a major contributor to the spread of HIV in SSA.

There are many reasons I object to polygamy as I see it practiced in Africa today, but the most obvious argument is that polygamy doesn’t respect the principle of equality between men and women. It demeans women. Further, it’s heartbreaking to see women abandoned without the legal option to divorce or remarry. Estranged wives are terribly lonely and often left with few resources to care for their children.

Generally I see many men enter into a marriage with intentions to remain monogamous. Eventually, however, they get sidetracked, get a girl pregnant and then rationalize polygamy. One could argue that by marrying their pregnant mistresses, they are acting responsibly.

The bride taking a break with a friend.

The bride taking a break with a friend.

Allison with children from the village.

Allison with children from the village.

Lake Bluff: A Favorite Place To Rest And Nest for American Woodcocks

Lake Bluff Open Lands Association's Woodcock Walk; photo from LBOLA's Facebook page.

Lake Bluff Open Lands Association’s Woodcock Walk; photo from LBOLA’s Facebook page.

By Adrienne Fawcett

Lake Bluff real estate received top billing from American Woodcocks in Lake and Cook Counties, according to a recent birding survey.

Members of Illinois Audubon Society’s Lake/Cook Chapter conducted the survey at the request of the University of Arkansas, which is studying American Woodcock migration. Lake Cook Audubon President Rena Cohen said her organization covered 35 sites in Lake and Cook Counties and that birders counted 12 woodcocks in one night in Lake Bluff’s 35-acre Skokie River Land & Water Reserve, the highest number recorded by the group. The surveys were completed by April 9 because the University calculated that birds staying beyond that date are here to nest, not just migrate through the area.

More recently, on April 19, Lake Bluff Open Lands Association held its annual Woodcock Walk in the same area, and the Woodcocks didn’t disappoint.

So … What’s an American Woodcock and why should we care? describes American Woodcocks as “plump, short-legged shorebirds with very long, straight bills.” (Click here to listen to the woodcock’s peent call, flight and wing sounds and growling challenge call.)

For images of this interesting bird, please click here.

Lake Bluff’s David Barkhausen ventured out at dusk on Thursday evening, April 17, to see if Woodcocks were in town, and he heard at least three or four from the middle of the Skokie Preserve, which is located south of Route 176, west of Green Bay, and east of the Skokie River a quarter mile east of Route 41. He heard several Woodcocks and had a decent look at one circling overhead and then landing a few times. He also got very close to a Woodcock dancing in circles on the ground while uttering its every-few-seconds loud “peent” cricket-like call.

“After doing this for a minute or more, the male Woodcock takes off high in the air and circles rapidly at around 100-200 feet,” said Barkhausen. “He then descends suddenly, and you hear the whistling flutter of his wings and can often see the bird drop down just before he hits the ground and resumes the ‘peenting’ sound. The bird I was near was in some fairly tall brush, so I could not see him or his dance on the ground even though I was within 50 feet of him.”

Intrigued, he followed up his birding exploration with an email to Lake/Cook Audubon’s Rena Cohen. Here’s a Q&A between the two (published on GazeboNews with their permission).

Barkhausen: Do birdwatchers in search of Woodcocks sometimes use flashlights to try to spot the birds on the ground, or will that scare them off too readily or stop them from doing their “peenting?”

Cohen: Flashlights are discouraged but I can’t tell you for sure if the light will distract the birds in any way.

Barkhausen: How long are they apt to stick around? Do they nest here, or are they migrating? I gather this springtime activity is a mating ritual. How long might it last?

Cohen: Woodcocks do nest here but some just stop here and continue on their way during migration.

A few factoids – these birds arrive early (in late March) because they eat worms and don’t need insects like most spring migrants do. Their beaks have a flexible tip that helps them dig up worms, and their “dance” (Google it if you haven’t seen it) is believed to help them locate worms under the ground. They typically make a 360-degree turn as they peent so it frequently sounds as if they’re moving away even if they aren’t. Also, the sound they make when they fly up in the air to display is made by air passing through three very thin wing feathers that are noticeably thinner than the rest .

Barkhausen: Another question is how long is the mating ritual dance apt to continue? You did say that some of them stay and indicated that if they’re still here (after April 9th), they’re likely to make this home. Would that be until late fall?

Cohen: Hmm, good question! I don’t know when they stop displaying, but the literature says they continue to display long after most females have laid eggs. That can happen as early as March, but I can tell you that one of them at Heller Nature Center was still displaying on Wednesday, and they’re certainly still active now.

Their mating habits are also interesting. Some males display at several singing grounds and mate with multiple females. The female often visits four or more singing grounds before nesting, and she may keep up these visits even while she cares for her young. The male gives no parental care. I guess that’s why he has the energy to keep on doing his courtship flight – which has given him the nickname “sky dancer.”

Renowned Expressionist Diane Thodos Opens Exhibit at Re-invent Gallery

Sponsored post by Re-invent Gallery in Lake Forest:

Re-Invent Gallery invites the community to an opening night celebration of its newest exhibit, Diane Thodos: Forces of Life: Lyricism and Requiem, which opens Good Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. and runs through May 31 at 202 E. Wisconsin Ave, Lake Forest.

Painter and printmaker Diane Thodos has always felt drawn to the expressionist art movements of the Modernist era – most specifically to Abstract Expressionism from the 1940’s – 1950’s and German Expressionism from 1906 – 1924. Her paintings and prints embody two different aspects – a drive towards the lyrical, and an opposite one towards the tragic. For her, figure and abstraction create a fertile ground for ever-new compositional and emotionally expressive possibilities.

Earning her MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1989, Thodos was mentored early on by Donald Kuspit, an iconic New York art critic and intellectual who inspired her to delve deeply into the world of Expressionism. She was further inspired by the powerful graphic techniques of the German Expressionists after a fateful meeting with owners of an immense private collection of such works in 1992. Over the course of two decades, she has been granted access to the collection for self-study, and her paintings and woodblock prints reflect both style and technical techniques of bygone Expressionist masters. Like many noted American Abstract Expressionists of our time Thodos also studied with Stanley William Hayter who revealed the importance of subconscious imagery through the use of automatic gesture or automatism.

Diane Thodos

Diane Thodos


Of her new one-woman exhibit at Re-invent, Thodos states, “I feel that our current culture is undergoing a period of both upheaval and uncertainty. This is why the tragic aspect of my work attempts to distill states of feeling that are essential and direct in their expression. My lyrical work represents an equal and opposing life force…In this exhibit, you will see the opposite poles of life and death, lyricism and tragedy, abstraction and figure.”

Re-invent gallery co-owner Cecilia Lanyon said, “Diane is a significant artist among American Abstract Expressionists today, who has exhibited nationally and internationally. We are honored to showcase her works through this exhibit, from her life-infused paintings to her most intricate woodblock prints.”

The show’s Opening Night Celebration is Good Friday, April 18, 6-9 p.m.. Visit or call 224-544-5961

Lost Dog: Have You Seen Figgy?

A GazeboNews reader asked us to post the following:

lost dog shih tzu
Figgy no collar
last seen tue April 15 6pm
Near Barat College

Pls contact Lake Forest Police




First Presbyterian Church Rummage: Biggest Sale Yet

Submitted by First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest

Photos submitted by Jorina Fontelera, director of communications at  First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest

Photos submitted by Jorina Fontelera, director of communications at
First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest

First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest will host the biggest Rummage Sale in its history, now entering its 64th consecutive year, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 3 at 700 N. Sheridan Road in Lake Forest.

Staffed by more than 400 volunteers, the church collects thousands of clean, usable items throughout the year from clothes and accessories to furniture, antiques, electronics, appliances, sports equipment, décor, household goods and many more. Over the course of a year, volunteers collect, sort and organize these items to get them ready for the sale. Open to all—both local and out of state—the Rummage Sale takes up 40,000 square feet of space inside the church and two circus tents full of sale items cover the church’s parking lot.


“Rummage is a year-long event here at First Presbyterian. It takes thousands of hours of volunteer work by hundreds of volunteers to make it such a huge success,” said Jeff Howard, First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest elder and co-moderator of the Mission Committee and Rummage sub-committee. “Rummage would not be possible without the tireless efforts of these volunteers.”

Since its inception in 1950, this event has contributed more than $5 million to First Presbyterian’s Mission program. Mission provides grants to local and global partner organizations that help nurture faith development, pastoral care and church leadership support; empower youth and adults to achieve their potential through high-quality education; and/or meet the immediate needs of impoverished families while pursuing long-term solutions to address the effects of poverty.


“The Rummage Sale serves as a wonderful fellowship opportunity for church members and the community,” said Reverend Dr. Christine Chakoian, First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest’s senior pastor. “It also sends precious dollars to our mission partners while serving low income families. It’s truly a sight to see.”

On the day of the sale, shoppers can park in the Lake Forest city lots, at the Lake Forest Metra station parking lot and on the street, unless otherwise marked as a “no parking” zone. A free Rummage Sale shuttle will pick-up and drop-off patrons from the city and train parking lots. Cash, check and credit cards (Visa or Mastercard) are accepted at the sale.


First Presbyterian will continue to collect donations for this year’s Rummage Sale until April 14. Donations should be clean; free of odors, stains, tears, holes; and, if applicable, in working condition. Breakable goods should be stored in sturdy boxes and clothing in large, sturdy plastic bags. Donation items can be dropped off at the church from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week and from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturdays.


For more information about donating goods or about the Rummage Sale, contact the church at (847) 234-6250 or visit



About First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest

First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest strives to proclaim Christ’s message, provide a community of spiritual nurture and promote God’s vision of justice. Worship is at the heart of the organization and its mission outreach, study groups, faith formation programs and fellowship opportunities grow out of the desire to love and serve the Lord together. Since its establishment in 1859, the church continues to reflect the goals of its founders—to live together as a community dedicated to Christian life and to betterment through education and benevolences—while growing with the needs of its congregation. For more information, visit the church’s website at

Lake Forest Soccer Stars Shipp & Quon in Chicago for Double-Header

Two Lake Forest High School graduates who have gone on to play professional soccer will be in Chicago on Saturday, April 19, for a double-header at Chicago’s Toyota Park.

The first game will feature rookie Harrison Shipp (LFHS Class of 2010), who graduated from Notre Dame last year. He was an All-American, captain of his team, a nominee for the prestigious Hermann Award — AND his team won the NCAA championship last year. He now plays for the Chicago Fire — click here for an article on about Harry.

Harry Shipp; photo from a video on

Harry Shipp; photo from a video on

The second game will feature Rachel Quon, who is starting her second season playing for the Red Stars. She graduated last year from Stanford University and was an All-American, captain of her team, a nominee for the Hermann Award and her team won the NCAA championship in 2011. Rachel recently made her first cap for the Canadian
National Team.

Please visit the Chicago Red Stars website for information about the double header.

Photo of Rachel Quon from Wikipedia

Photo of Rachel Quon from Wikipedia

What Happened To Spring?

Snow fair … One day Sande Noble went out to the garden to enjoy the daffodils and other spring blossoms. The next day it snowed.



Sunday; photos by Sande Noble of Lake Forest.






April Showers Bring Delays To Pot Hole Repairs in Lake Forest

Correction made Tuesday 8:21 a.m. to reflect the following: City Council increased a $253,000 patching budget by $200,000 for a total of $453,000. Motor Fuel Tax funds are the source of $1.72 million for the City’s annual resurfacing programs.

A pot hole, one of many, on Lewis Avenue in Lake Forest.

A pot hole, one of many, on Lewis Avenue in Lake Forest; photo by A.J. Goldsmith.

By A. J. Goldsmith, GazeboNews corespondent

Lake Forest Public Works began repairing potholes in mid-February, but inclement weather has slowed down the work, Michael Thomas, Director of Public Works for the City told GazeboNews.

“We cannot apply patches to the holes until they are dry,” said Thomas. Road-repair work will continue throughout the year.

To correct the damage to Lake Forest’s streets by this past winter’s severe weather, City Council increased a $253,000 patching budget by $200,000 for a total of $453,000, according to city spokeswoman Susan Banks. Motor Fuel Tax funds are the source of $1.72 million for the City’s annual resurfacing programs. Thomas’ department is also correcting winter damage to mail boxes, street signs and street lights all the while continuing regular street sweeping program.

To speed up the hole-patching program, Lake Forest recently purchased an asphalt-heating-and-applying machine for $30,000, replacing one that had been in service since 1996. This machine allows the city to recycle old asphalt for immediate repairs, providing service until new asphalt can be bought when the plants reopen, usually by mid-April.

Areas larger than 4’ x 5’ cannot be filled by city equipment. Those repairs have been contracted to Peter Baker & Sons of Roundout, IL. In addition, large-area, overlay work has also been contracted to the Baker firm at a cost of $1,720,000. This year, overlay work is scheduled on the following streets: Conway Farms Drive between Route 60 and Everett, McKinley Road between Lake Bluff and Woodland Avenue, and Onwentsia from Green Bay Road to the creek.

A $227,000 program to upgrade concrete roads in the Lake Forest Heights subdivision is out for bid at this time.

Lewis Avenue pot hole.

Lewis Avenue pot hole.

What You Should Know About the Route 60 Whole Foods Development Proposal

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by the Board of Directors of the Lake Forest Preservation Foundation. Reader Forum articles represent the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of GazeboNews. We encourage you to comment on this article, but please include your full name per the GazeboNews comments policy.

GazeboNews Reader Forum


The Board of Directors of the Lake Forest Preservation Foundation has followed closely the ongoing review of the Special Use petition for the property at the corner of Rt. 60 and Saunders Road, commonly referred to as the “Whole Foods” development. This petition has recently been presented for a Special Use Permit at the Plan Commission and for architectural and landscape review at the Building Review Board.

Misinformation and confusion about the underlying requirements of this special use petition have been apparent at the hearings and in ongoing public commentary. Our Board of Directors has in-depth knowledge of the City’s regulations because many of us have served on City boards, the City Council, or as architects working with these regulations. Many residents may not have had this type of experience and may not be as familiar with local governmental codes and procedures. As this petition involves issues related to historic preservation, we want to share our understanding of the issues with the community. We strongly believe that Lake Forest’s Comprehensive Plan, careful attention to details of subdivision, stewardship of quality architecture and landscaping, and defined commitment to preserving our community’s historic buildings and landscape heritage are what make this a very special community of distinction.

First, it is important to understand that the petition for Special Use before the Plan Commission and Building Review Board is not about whether Whole Foods will be allowed to come to Lake Forest. Whole Foods is the proposed anchor tenant in a proposed commercial development. The issue before the City is not “Whole Foods” or “no Whole Foods.” The issue is whether the commercial developer and owner of the property will be granted a special use permit that allows changes from the “Comprehensive Plan Amendment for the Rt. 60 Sub-Area” of Lake Forest adopted by the City Council June 4, 2001, as well as the requirements set forth in the approved subdivision agreement for the subject property. Both documents are City-approved plans for the vision of the Rt. 60 corridor. Further the Zoning Code, Section 46-53-5 Transitional District, specifically references consistency with the Comprehensive Plan Amendment for the Rt. 60 Sub-Area.

What does the “Comprehensive Plan for the Rt. 60 Sub-Area” recommend (see quotes below)? What is the developer asking to be changed?

1. “Enhance Route 60 as the western gateway into Lake Forest.” The developer asks to place small clapboard structures within the front 20% of the 150-foot setback established by the Comprehensive Plan and the subdivision requirements, in stark contrast to the rest of the Rt. 60 western gateway to Lake Forest which maintains the setback.

2. “Enhance Conway Park as a world-class corporate park.” In contrast to Conway Park’s image as a world-class corporate park, the developer asks to place small shed-like structures up close to the road in violation of requirements established by the City.

3. “Enhance and preserve significant tree stands, wetlands, and water views.” The developer asks to remove over 300 mature trees.

4. “Continue improving the frontage along both sides of the roadway (150 feet north/south of right-of-way) with landscaping, and other design features to create a greenway/gateway setting.” The developer asks to reduce the 150 feet to 25 feet, less even than Vernon Hills has in its Rt. 60 development. The developer asks to remove trees within the required setback area. All others who have developed along Rt. 60 have complied with the 150-foot setback and landscape requirement, setting a precedent for compliance on this final undeveloped parcel facing Rt. 60.

5. “The landscaped greenway/gateway should extend along Route 60 from the Tollway to Waukegan Road. A comprehensive plan for this area shall be developed and all future development shall landscape their front 150 feet in accordance with said plan.”  The developer’s petition removes over 300 mature trees and requests a 25-foot setback. Most of the required 150-foot setback will be paved with the developer’s parking lot. All others who have developed along Rt. 60 have complied with the 150-foot setback, setting a precedent for compliance on this final undeveloped parcel facing Rt. 60.

6. Specifically, regarding the parcel in question:

  • “Moderate density low-rise residential with a range of housing product types that preserves significant tree stands, preserves the site’s overall wooded character, and links to the future residential neighborhood to the east.” The developer asks to remove over 300 mature trees, destroying the “wooded character” of the site.
  • “Adaptive re-use of the Miller estate house.” This provision also is a condition of the approval for subdivision of the property, which also includes reuse of the surrounding mature landscape. The developer asks to demolish the Miller estate house (also known as the Everitt House and/or “the old mansion.”), which received one of the City’s highest honors by being designated a landmark by the City in 2006.
  • The developer also asks to remove the estate’s entry landscape created by famed landscape architect Jens Jensen, who also designed the landscape of the J. Ogden Armour estate, an adaptively re-used estate across Rt. 60 on the north side, which sets a preservation precedent in its adaptive re-use as Lake Forest Academy.

If a special use is recommended by the Plan Commission under these conditions, the Historic Preservation Commission will be required to review the request for demolition of the landmarked manor house to determine whether the building is re-useable or not. The burden of proof is the responsibility of the petitioner. The developer and property owner to date have provided no evidence that the building cannot be adaptively re-used and, in fact, have chosen to ignore the City’s designation report and an additional report that they commissioned which documents the quality and distinction of the manor house, its auxiliary structures, and its landscape.

Note that there also are aesthetic issues under review for this project, relating to the developer’s plans for architectural design, building materials, and landscape and hardscape design, which are being addressed by the Building Review Board. The Board at its last meeting requested revision of these and other plans for the project to help ensure that it is more compatible with the design and materials used at neighboring properties, which set an architectural and landscape precedent for the visual appearance of the Rt. 60 gateway to Lake Forest.