GazeboNews

News and stuff about Lake Forest and Lake Bluff

Halloween Insensitivity: Enough With The Headless Decor

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by Phil Gayter of Lake Bluff. 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

 

Phil Gayter of Lake Bluff saw this Halloween decoration of a dangling head outside a Lake Bluff home, and it made him shudder.

“Don’t people get it?” he asked. “Do they not listen to the news and hear about the beheadings of Americans on a regular basis? Do they not know about innocent people (and children) being slaughtered like this, in Syria? Are we such a spoiled and cosseted community that we don’t know the sensitivity here? Come on neighbor, open your eyes and ears. I LOVE Halloween too, but come on …”

 

Is this really what Halloween is about?

Is this really what Halloween is about?



Opinion: Put The Daily Grind Rumors To Rest

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by By John des Rosiers, Chef/Proprietor of three Lake Bluff businesses –Inovasi, Wisma and The Other Door. 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

By John des Rosiers

Good afternoon to all of our fellow Lake Bluff residents and valued customers. I want to take a few minutes share some of my thoughts regarding the rumors swirling around about The Daily Grind.

Now for those of you who don’t live in our area this probably won’t have much meaning.

Since Inovasi has anchored downtown Lake Bluff, we have seen our community grow, expand, and thrive into a retail downtown that has enjoyed 100% capacity for the past four years. I love this town, the style of it, what it represents, and its strong community feeling. More importantly, I am so happy we have made this our home, and I am proud to be a businessman and employer here.

I chose to write this to clear the air regarding some of the comments brought to my attention that we have something to do with the apparent disagreement between the landlord and The Daily Grind’s owner. First, as a small business owner, I want to assure you that I never want to see another business leave the central district.

Secondly, I have no plans or current interest in the space for any operations involving Wisma, Inovasi, or The Other Door. Furthermore, I am in no position to offer judgment on what is best for the landlord or The Daily Grind. From my perspective as a citizen this is an issue between the two parties, and the issues they share we in the public are never truly privy to.

As always, we are completely committed to our local communities. We continue to strive to have a positive impact in Lake Bluff and Lake Forest, we have grown our businesses along with our town’s natural growth. Currently, we employ over 70 people from the surrounding area, and we help contribute to the growing tax base in our small town.

I want everyone to know that our entire staff cares for our customers and their satisfaction, and we value our presence in the community very much.

Therefore my hope is that all of our local citizens will continue to support our businesses, and also the amazing list of local retailers we have that make this town such a wonderful place to live, work and play.

I appreciate that you have taken the time to consider my thoughts, and I hope to see all of you in downtown Lake Bluff soon.

John des Rosiers
Chef/Proprietor
inovasi
wisma
the other door



Opinion: Lease Is More … For All Of Us

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by By Jon Rosen of Lake Bluff. 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

By Jon Rosen, a Lake Bluff resident

Labor Day in Lake Bluff has long passed and the celebration with friends, neighbors and family sharing stories, food and cheer has faded quickly into fall. Hopefully you fired up the grill and were able to toast our good fortune and great village life in Lake Bluff. May be your BBQ or smoker included a selection of fine top quality meats or fish from the Daily Grind to accompany the beer from the Lake Bluff Brewery rounded out by dessert from Lulu’s; a tough combination to match on any holiday week end.

Come January 31, 2015 one-third of this culinary combination may not be available, as on this day the lease for the Daily Grind expires and the landlord has informed Rick Harness, owner of the Daily Grind, he does not intend to renew.

If you have visited the Daily Grind you know Rick, his wife, Debra and four kids (three in college and one a year away) along with his first mate assistant, Bill Kunicka. The store is open year round seven days a week and has continued to provide our community with unique quality goods and service not available in close proximity. You need a unique fare for that special occasion, ask Rick, he will get it for you. Have a question on how to prepare your choice; Rick can help with that too.

From our schools to local art shows and community non-profit organizations, The Daily Grind has participated in our community through a contribution of time, money and like-kind exchange of goods. Rick is and continues to be generous to help our community.

The landlord of the Daily Grind is a Lake Bluff resident, business owner (Lake Effect Architects, the former owner/operator of the Village Market) and Lake Bluff Village Park Trustee. Yes this is a business transaction between principals. No one should get a free ride and both parties need to function in this capitalist environment that we so respect on a level playing field to enable both business ventures to succeed. However one must question why can’t these parties work together for their mutual benefit when there is a local business need to fulfill and to our knowledge there has been no breech of lease terms. This is the operative question.

The Daily Grind has made a sizable investment in the form of tenant improvements (TI’s) that at the lease expiration remains with the property. These improvements include, upgraded electrical, ventilation and plumbing systems, refrigeration and freezer units, fire suppression along with stove and cooking units unique to the operation of the Daily Grind. If a new tenant moves in and does not use the TI’s, Rick loses, as does our community. If a tenant moves in that uses the facility investments, the tenant gains at the expense of Rick and us all. If a new tenant is related to the landlord and uses these improvements in a similar or related business, we all lose and one must ask was there ever a level playing field between these parties? Our answer will be known in the next few months.

Our hope is the parties can negotiate and work through the issues to arrive at mutually acceptable lease terms to enable the Daily Grind to remain in the present location. If not, Rick will be forced to move to another facility in Lake Bluff, if one is available, relocate to another community or close shop. Again, our wish is that both parties can work through whatever issues there are and simply resolve their differences, not only for themselves, but also for the constituents of our Lake Bluff community who support both parties.



Opinion: Irregular and Unsupported Action by Shields Township Supervisor

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by Shields Township Trustees Heather Kerr and Richard Goshgarian. 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

 

By Shields Township Trustees Richard Goshgarian and Heather Kerr

The most recent board meeting of the Shields Township Board of Trustees occurred on 9/25/14. At that meeting, Trustee Laura Carney resigned. Carney’s planned resignation was known only to her, Supervisor Cynthia Maloney, and sometime later the Township’s longstanding attorney Richard Cowen. The balance of the Board only became aware 1-2 days prior to that 9/25/14 meeting. Their knowledge was by way of rumor, no advance notice from either Maloney or Carney.

Why is this important? It has since been learned (throught emails between Maloney and the Township attorney) that Supervisor Maloney knew of the intended Carney resignation in mid-late August. At that time, Maloney sought a legal opinion from the Township’s attorney.

In an email exchange dated 9/2/14, Maloney was advised by the Township’s attorney that vacancies in office are filled (by Illinois law) in accordance with the statute 60 ILCS 5/60-5. That statute reads in part … 1. “The Board has the responsibility for filling the vacancy. The procedure to be used in terms of notifying the public of the vacancy, requesting application, holding interviews is up to the Board.”

The Township’s attorney further advised in that 9/2/14 email that Maloney notify the media and share his opinion memo with the entire Board. Maloney followed none of the guidelines in the Statute (law), and further disregarded the attorney’s recommendations regarding notice to the media and availing the Board of his opinion. Instead Maloney sought input exclusively from the resigning trustee, and a former non-voting member of the Board.

Result: On 9/25/14 in the course of that Board meeting, Maloney announced who she had selected. This was the first time she shared the name of her chosen replacement with 2 of the 4 board members. We, Trustees Kerr and Goshgarian, were excluded from Maloney’s irregular actions of the prior 4 weeks. Further, Trustee Bill Brown only learned of Maloney’s chosen replacement the day prior (9/24/14).

Over our (Trustees Kerr and Goshgarian’s) vigorous objection, Supervisor Maloney motioned for a vote on Carney’s replacement. She prevailed on that motion, her objective to force a vote, and by 3 to 0 had her replacement. We abstained voting on the individual citing irregularities(listed above) and disregard of the relevant statute and attorney’s recommendations.

What is known about your new trustee? -For more than four(4) weeks we have requested repeatedly information about him from Supervisor Maloney. Those requests have included information via a resume, a biography, a curriculum vitae, or any kind of background informational. To date nothing offered, nor does the web-site provide.

Following the law and proper procedure within Township Government is crucial to the vitality of this administration. Without it, other potential irregularities in any of the Township’s other functions( the Assessor’s office, or Highway Department) may be emboldened.

Trustees Richard Goshgarian and Heather Kerr



Opinion: Vote Yes For Lake Bluff Park District Referendum

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by Gail Nielsen Gamrath (and family) of Lake Bluff. 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

Dear Lake Bluff Residents,

I have written before to local media about having the privilege of growing up in Lake Bluff. I feel so lucky to have had that experience. It was an easy choice for me and my husband, who also grew up here, to raise our own family in this wonderful village. The Park District was a large part of my childhood. Learning to swim at the pool, attending day camp and going to the beach was just the natural daily agenda for a LB kid. In 6th grade I was so proud when I received my first pay check from the Park District for being a highly skilled and assertive Tennis Court Monitor at Artesian Park for a pay rate of $1.60 per hour. Followed by ten summers working at the Pool, I gained many life skills learning the responsibility of holding a job and earning the respect of fellow residents. It was part of my young identity and to this day, I still run into other adults who I taught swim lessons to or who were on the swim team that I coached back when we had a booming 16-swimmer roster.

It is time once again to vote on a referendum to help fund the upkeep of not only the pool, but the beach and our parks. I feel this vote is different from the one which was voted down a few years back. With the help of over 600 residents, the Park District has prioritized what is really necessary to save some of our greatest resources from either shutting down or being taken away. We all know how great this town is and the Park District funds a large part of what makes it so special. Whether you are taking your grandkids to Artesian Park or needing to use the bathrooms at the beach (that currently some children are afraid to enter) these are resources that the Park District cannot fund within their current budget.

So the bottom line stands that Lake Bluff will lose some of our dearest assets if we do not look forward and act now. We cannot judge what people choose to spend their own money on but at $70 a year on a $450,000 house this seems like a no-brainer to me. It is an investment in our town. I hope you will join us in voting YES for our Pool, Parks and Beach.
Sincerely,

Gail Nielsen Gamrath (and family)



Opinion: Shorter Election Season Will Yield Better Candidates

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by A.J. Goldsmith of Lake Forest. 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

 

By A.J. Goldsmith

The Election season is much too long. Good people are being kept from running for public office by the expenses inherent in distressingly long campaigns.

My solution is that the General Election should be held no more than 30 days after the primary. This means that primaries for General Elections must be held just 30 days before the General Election. This change would require amending the Illinois Constitution.



Opinion: Lake Forest & Lake Bluff Should Have Banned Assault Weapons

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by Liz Radner, co-president of the League of Women Voters – Lake Forest/Lake Bluff area. 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 League of Women Voters of Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Area was gratified to read that a US District Court found Highland Park’s ordinance banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines does not violate the Second Amendment and can be enforced.

The League testified, along with many other residents, before the Lake Forest City Council in the summer of 2013 urging such a ban here but was unsuccessful. The Lake Bluff Village Board similarly took no action.

The League agrees with the federal judge who found that such weapons have “the decidedly offensive purpose of quickly acquiring multiple targets and firing at those targets”

We believe assault weapons are for military use only and have no self-protection purpose in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff. State legislation now forbids enacting a ban.  The City Council and the Village Board should have banned assault weapons and high capacity magazines while the window was open.

Liz Bradner, Co-president
League of Women Voters Lake Forest/Lake Bluff



Support for Stonebridge: A Restaurant Owner’s Perspective

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by John des Rosiers, Chef/Proprietor of Inovasi, Wisma and The Other Door in Lake Bluff. 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

By John des Rosiers

As the Chef/Proprietor of three businesses in Lake Bluff I would like to take a moment to give my thoughts on the project under consideration at Stonebridge. I believe that the development is a positive addition to our community, as we rarely have the opportunity to welcome new citizens. Our residential land is limited and will not have the chance to expand, so this is a positive way for us to grow.

These homes will provide short-term jobs and economic revenue from the initial development, and the new residents will provide additional revenue from taxes and increased spending in our business community. Once approved, this project would continue the growth that Lake Bluff has seen over the past five years, and I believe that this project will contribute to an even greater and vibrant Village, restaurants, and every type of retailer we enjoy.

The Stonebridge project offers us greater tax revenues from both the standard real estate tax paid and also the increased local spending by the new residents.

I think the plan for the homes at Stonebridge is well thought-out and the best chance to develop the land. It is always vital for every community to find ways to grow, and this represents one of the rare opportunities we will have to add population.

It is my hope that you will pass the needed Village permits, etc. as I believe that this development should finally be allowed to move forward, and I look forward to welcoming these new citizens to our community.



Support For Stonebridge From A Longtime Resident

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by Cheri Richardson of Lake Bluff. 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

By Cheri Richardson

Since 1985, I’ve proudly called Lake Bluff home. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to be involved with, and serve, our Village in many ways—as a member of the Zoning Board and the Historic Preservation Commission, as a founding member of the Lake Bluff History Museum, and as a manager of the Lake Bluff Farmers Market. It is with that background and love for Lake Bluff that I am writing to show my support for the proposed Stonebridge development.

My love affair with Lake Bluff began in 1978, the year I attended my first Fireman’s Ball at the Harrison Conference Center with my future husband Ed, a Village lifer. Ed and I have a unique relationship with the Stonebridge property. Ed has fond memories of the property dating back as early as his childhood. In 1998, we moved across the street to the East Terrace, and in 2001, I took a job working at the Harrison Conference Center, which was located on the property.

At Harrison, I was hired to help this private conference center open to the public. At the time this was a very controversial issue, but after many long meetings with the Village Board, The Hilton Corporation was granted permission to run the property’s Manor House as a hotel, event site, and restaurant. Under Hilton, the Manor House provided Lake Bluff residents a gathering place for formal and informal events including weddings, Village parties, fundraisers, and The Fireman’s Ball.
The property thrived until Aramark took over the management in 2004. They neglected the property’s buildings, which, as a result, went into disrepair. Soon thereafter the property was sold and we all felt the loss. A piece of Lake Bluff’s history was gone.

Sadly, our Village has not been able to enjoy the Stonebridge property in its current state as a failed development. Since The Roanoke Group bought the property a few years ago, a lot has changed for the better. The woods are being restored, and I appreciate the flowers and shrubs that have been planted along Green Bay Road, which I drive past numerous times a day. Since the buckthorn has been removed, we can finally see the Manor House. It serves as a reminder that an important piece of Lake Bluff history still exists and we should try to save it.

I have seen the current plan for the Stonebridge development. It is a thoughtful approach that will include the restoration of both the Jens Jensen gardens, and the historic Manor House, which will be a great asset to our Village. I believe we are fortunate to have a developer like The Roanoke Group take the time and care over the past three years to not rush into a plan, as other developers have. I have heard the comments from the PCZBA and I think those recommendations have improved the proposed plan. It is great to have a developer that listens to the commissioner’s comments and actually makes the changes that have been requested. As a former commissioner I can attest that this is not always the case.

At one time, this was a magnificent piece of property: an estate designed by renowned architect Howard Van Doren Shaw, surrounded by a stunning Jens Jensen landscape. It will be wonderful to see the Jensen landscape restored, and hopefully the Manor House as well.

Every major change throughout the history of our little town has been controversial, but in the end, positive. That’s how it is when so many people care. The Stonebridge property has been empty and neglected much too long. We now have what I truly believe is a great plan. The future residents of this property will shop in the local stores, eat at the restaurants in town, and hopefully help ease our tax bills.

Please join me in talking to your friends and neighbors on the PCZBA and Village Boards to share your support for the approval of the Stonebridge development plan.
Sincerely,
Cheri Richardson



Stonebridge Does Not Comply With Lake Bluff’s Comprehensive Plan

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by Rick Lesser of Lake Bluff. 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

By Rick Lesser of Lake Bluff

The Lake Bluff Comprehensive Plan calls for transitional housing on the Stonebridge site and provides that for this site any development should be: “a compatible transition between the R-2 area to the north and the E-2 area to the south.”

Villages, like, Lake Bluff, are encouraged by state law to adopt a comprehensive plan both to promote harmonious development and to advise residents long in advance on the Village’s land use plans. Comprehensive plans, if followed, create a legal presumption: zoning changes which comply with the comprehensive plan are legally presumed valid. The housing to the south of the site has seven residences on about 70 acres. That’s 0.1 units/acre.

North of the Stonebridge site is the West Terrace, has 103 acres subdivided into 202 built lots; that’s 1.96 houses per acre. The average between the area to the South and the area to the North, if transitional, should be roughly 1.03 houses per acre. But the current Stonebridge developer (SB2011 LLC) is asking for 98 units on 45 acres, 2.18 houses per acre. That’s more than twice a “compatible transition.”

When you hear Stonebridge call its proposal a “pocket neighborhood”, what that means is that the development would be very different from the surrounding areas. That’s why it’s a “pocket”; because it’s starkly different.

Density matters for many reasons. Obviously, there would be much more traffic. Ninety-eight new houses means at least 200 new cars on Green Bay Road. SB2011 LLC hired the same traffic engineering consultant (KLOA) as the first developer had used. KLOA went to the then-operating Harrison Conference Center, found out when the facility was hosting an event, and then counted the cars going to the event. The consultant then compared that traffic to a nursing facility, and reported that the proposed new development would dramatically lower traffic. KLOA has no credibility.

High-density housing also impacts the housing values of the surrounding area. Despite SB2011’s pie-in-the-sky predicted sales prices, two bedroom cluster homes on 45 ft. lots are not really going to sell for more than the 3 to 5 bedroom houses on 75 ft. lots in the West Terrace.

The cluster homes will undercut prices. There is nothing transitional or compatible about this proposal. Neither the PC/ZBA nor the Village Board has any obligation to veer from the Comprehensive Plan for SB2011 LLC.

The Village is always on safe legal ground when it follows the comprehensive plan. This will require saying “no’. Sometimes, that’s the job of the PC/ZBA.

Hopefully, residents will come out to the Village Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 7:00 pm, to speak to the PC/ZBA. I know that we are all (except SB2011 and its paid spokespersons) tired of this issue. We are not getting paid to be there. But if you love this community and want to see our community remain a harmonious neighborhood, I hope you will join me in standing up for the Lake Bluff Comprehensive Plan.

Click on the following image to read more pages of the Lake Bluff Comprehensive Plan