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News and stuff about Lake Forest and 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

 



45 Pembroke Drive, Lake Forest

Sponsored Post by Baird & Warner: “See it to Believe” Transitional home with touches of Nantucket, David Adler’s famous Glass spindles, arches and eyebrows. Spacious yard highlighted by specimen trees extending to the open view of Onwentsia’s 10th fairway. 1st floor master suite, beam vaulted library/family room, walk-out basement. Located on one of the most coveted cul-de-sac. Close to all.

To see this property in person, please contact Brunhild Baass or email her at brunhild.baass@bairdwarner.com. Equal housing opportunity

 

45 Pembroke Drive, Lake Forest

45 Pembroke Drive, Lake Forest

 



The Stonebridge Easement: No Parking in the Forest

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 Stonebridge Conservation Easement

Now that Stonebridge is back before the Village seeking permission to construct 98 housing units on property zoned for 27 homes (a whopping 363% increase), we should note that Stonebridge’s obligation to maintain the 10 acre forest area on Green Bay Road is not a part of this process. There is no need to bargain over density to protect the forest; Stonebridge is already obligated to protect the forest whether they build ninety-eight houses or one.

On January 25, 2007, the first Stonebridge developer granted to an organization called “Stonebridge Conservation NFP” an easement over the 10.4 acre forested area along Green Bay Road (Lake County Recorder of Deeds Document No. 6126710). The easement expressly forbids construction of any buildings, structures, improvements, fences, lawns, parking lots or impervious surfaces within the easement.

The old Stonebridge developer dedicated the easement, but the easement also binds the new Stonebridge developer (“SB2011 LLC”). SB2011 LLC, is a Delaware limited liability company, which is, in turn, owned by two other companies: ADBAC Holdings, LLC and The Roanoke Group, LLC. SB2011 LLC now owns the property, but it must preserve the forest as open space forever. This was an obligation SB2011 assumed when it bought the property and was presumably factored into the cost.

SB2011 is required to maintain the area “in its natural, scenic and open space condition”. The obligation is not merely passive. The developer is required by the agreement to hire a professional forest manager and to promote natural plant and animal communities. It is required to remove invasive species. The obligation includes aerating the pond to maintain appropriate oxygen levels. The playground, which is oddly located several hundred feet west of Green Bay Road, must use only wood and metal materials; no plastics. Basketball, baseball, tennis and soccer fields are expressly forbidden.

 

Stonebridge forest; photo by Rick Lesser

Stonebridge forest; photo by Rick Lesser

The Easement Agreement provides a funding mechanism to pay for these obligations. The agreement imposed a Transfer Assessment when the developer sells each house of $1.25 per $1,000 on the initial sale. Then, when the first generation of buyers sell, and for all sales afterwards in perpetuity, the Transfer Assessment will be $2.50 per $1,000. The Easement Agreement also provides for an assessment of $295 each year, indexed for inflation, upon each home to pay for maintenance. The developer and then the homeowner’s association will hold the money and maintain the forest, but, each year, will pay 15% of the funds to Stonebridge Conservation NFP for “administration of the easement”. Stonebridge Conservation NFP is an Illinois not-for-profit corporation. Any unpaid assessments accrue interest at 18%. This will be a lot of money.

The agreement can be enforced not only by Stonebridge Conservation NFP, but also by any property owner within 500 feet of the property. If the developer or the eventual homeowners association violate the agreement, they will be liable not only for damages, but also for costs and attorney’s fees incurred to enforce the easement agreement.

These issues, at least, are off the table as we begin the next round of Stonebridge negotiations. When SB2011 talks about the public use of the Manor House, we should bear in mind that the public’s cars cannot be parked in the easement. The lack of parking is an obvious problem with the new, high-density plan, but the parking solution will not be found in the forest.

 

stonebridge_with_sign



When Will Women Get Equal Pay for Equal Work?

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by Stephanie Victor 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 Stephanie Victor of Lake Forest

Equal Pay for Equal Work

Over eighty-five years after gaining the right to vote, women still face staggering wage discrimination in the workplace, making 77 cents to every dollar a man makes for the same work. In 1996, as one of only two female engineers working for the Midwest’s largest engineering firm, I discovered I was making 15% less than the guy next to me. He had a technical certificate from a community college, only did office retrofits, and never wore a suit. I guess the rationale was, he did have a family to feed while I had a husband.

Pay equity is more important than ever. Many of us live in homes with two working-parents or have daughters who do. At a time when our families are being squeezed and when every dollar matters, why do women not deserve the same rights as men in the workplace when we contribute to our households just the same?

In April, our own Senator Mark Kirk voted to block debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act and House Republicans won’t even bring it up for a vote. Bob Dold voted seven times against women.

While we may not yet have equality at the workplace, we do have equality in the ballot box and should be exercising that right come November. I encourage everyone to either vote by mail, early vote or come out on election day. When women succeed, America succeeds!



Whole Foods Still In Play In Lake Forest

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by Rommy Lopat of Lake Forest and was originally submitted as a comment on a previous GazeboNews article. 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.

Also, GazeboNews checked with Community Development Director Catherine Czerniak, who confirmed that Whole Foods is indeed still a possibility in Lake Forest; the city has not received a written withdrawal from the Shiner Group.

 

 

GazeboNews Reader Forum

 

By Rommy Lopat of Lake Forest

An update to the Whole Foods issue in Lake Forest: At the July 31 Lake Forest Plan Commission meeting, Community Development Director Cathy Czerniak stated that the “Conway Market/Whole Foods” shopping center is an “active petition” for two reasons: one, the City Council only proffered advice to the developer but did not vote and 2) the developer has not officially withdrawn. In fact, Czerniak said the developer is “in discussions”. She did not say with whom.

Having watched this process over many months, I continue to regret the City’s handling of the situation. Allowing any developer or property owner to contemplate the demolition of a landmarked house and clear cutting of 400 trees is unconscionable, not to mention cramming so much building onto a way too small space. (Imagine a Whole Foods, four single-story 6000 sq ft homes, and a 350 car parking lot in a space the exact size of Forest Park!).

The planning process is woefully inadequate. The Route 60 Corridor’s Comprehensive Plan needs updating, and the City Council needs to be apprised of what is in the plan. All of our “gateways” look sorrowful (thistles, weeds, buckthorn, construction debris) and need attention, but this one is arguably the most important to preserve in its greenness.

The Special Use that allowed an office building on the Whole Foods site should have been revoked long ago. (imagine if you got a permit to build a new house and garage. You build the house but not the garage, then sell the property, all of which happens years after the permit was granted. The new homeowner would have to get a new permit to build the garage, but in this case, the landowner apparently does not have to start from scratch. Why?) The problem is that the traffic and other studies compare the shopping center to an office center rather than to existing conditions, skewing the results significantly.

And needless to say, having two Plan Commissioners recuse themselves, making a quorum tougher to obtain, for the duration of the process is not fair to developer or public: a full panel of opinions is needed. And the Plan Commission has no one on it that is familiar with landscape or sustainability techniques (which would include keeping all stormwater on site as per LEED building standards).

Much needs to be and can be improved before this petition sees the light of day. Again.



Parade Was Impressive; People of Lake Bluff Even More So

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by Al Boese 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

Once again, Lake Bluff charms and amazes visitors …

Over this past weekend, we had numerous out of town family members visit us to celebrate our unique Lake Bluff 4th of July. And as part of the celebration, of course view our spectacular parade.

In all the excitement, our 10 year old grandson lost his i-Pad Touch on route to see the parade. The loss of a cherished electronic device and a frantic but futile search along the path to our viewing spot at a friend’s home, cast a pall of doom over the event and the outlook for the rest of the weekend for our grandson.

On Saturday morning, we called the Lake Bluff police station on the off chance some honest soul would have both found the i-Pad and turned it in, and to our delight, it was there. To our astonished visitors, this seemed extraordinary and totally unexpected. To us it was less so as village residents for over 20 years, we have come to expect such neighborly behavior. To our grandson, it was a thing of stunning joy.

Thanks Lake Bluff for maintaining the consistency and beauty of such unexpected outcomes in our beautiful community.

Al Boese, Lake Bluff



Note To Lake Forest: Say No To Amberley Retail Plan

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by the Rommy Lopat 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 Rommy Lopat

Bravo to Lake Forest Preservation Foundation, Lake Forest Open Lands, Lake Forest Academy Woods Homeowners, Conway Farms Homeowners, Stonebridge residents, and every other resident who attended the full-house Lake Forest Plan Commission meeting on June 11. I’ve attended a lot of City meetings, but this was the best-written testimony from different angles (all negative except for one positive) that I’ve ever heard.

The good news (sort of, maybe, not really) is that the Plan Commission expanded the setback of the retail buildings on this oak-woods parcel from the developer’s request of 25′ to 100′ along Route 60. The bad news is that the Comprehensive Plan says everyone is supposed to have a wooded 150′ setback and everyone on Route 60 except this petitioner has done that and more, creating a greenway from here to Vernon Hills. And this is the best piece of woods anywhere for miles. That greenbelt is now compromised if this passes the City Council.

While the language has changed so much in the last 24 hours that it is still not written (and therefore we the public had nothing to say about it), the Plan Commission had to push hard to get an assurance that a full Whole Foods would be the anchor tenant rather than “a grocery store offering products and services of a similar quality”. It appears that WF will now be required as the anchor, but if it ever moves out of the 46,000 sq ft building, a “retail business of a type found in first class commercial centers typically found on the North Shore” can come in. What those might be has not been disclosed, just like we don’t know what the other tenants are. So for those residents that have been urging LF to look the other way on all our ordinances because it’s “Whole Foods”, make sure you always read the fine print.

This is still too big a shopping center for this 8.5 acre site. There’s not even enough room to fit dumpsters for the restaurants or put landscaped islands in the parking lot (which does not have the spaces required by code). As for cutting down the heritage oaks and hickories, we will get 4 3″ hickories and 31 3″ oaks in replacement–but a whole lot of honeylocusts (18) and maples (which Open Lands doesn’t sell at its tree sale because LF Forestry says we have too many already in LF).

Here’s the sad thing: Lake Forest has an opportunity to innovate and instead it is just taking a typical shopping center design (drive thru coffee or prescription; drive thru bank) and jamming it in. Can’t we have revenue and creative, sustainable thinking? I bet if Open Lands, the Lake Forest Preservation Foundation, Landmarks Illinois, and all the residents got together, we could figure it out ourselves–and have a much better product!

Below is my testimony from last night, for what it was (or, actually, wasn’t) worth to the Plan Commission:

Rommy Lopat, Thank you, Commissioners. I submitted detailed, point by point, written comments regarding the Staff Recommendation earlier today. I trust you received it and I hope it is useful to your deliberations. [**If GazeboNews readers would like a copy, email me at weedpatch@gmail.com)

It seems to me that we have forgotten that the Shiner Group is not the owner of this land. The Michael Supera Family Limited Partnership along with a gentleman named Bernard Leviton own this property. As Chicago real estate developers themselves, they know precisely what they bought. They bought an 8.5 acre property with 400 mature oaks in a town known for its tree ordinance. They also bought a landmarked mansion in a town known for its historic preservation ordinance. They know it is in a Transitional Zoning District which requires certain uses, none of them retail. They also bought it knowing it has a special use permit that allowed two four-story office buildings but required on-site water detention and underground parking. The property is also subject to protections included in a fairly new Sub-Area Comprehensive Plan that stresses a 150′ setback from Route 60 plus the obligation to foster a greenway on what Lake Forest calls its western gateway. In addition, they bought it knowing their deed, like everyone else’s in town, included a rider that makes perfectly clear that Lake Forest has long-held principles regarding development. The rider even states, “buyer beware”. That is what they bought and that is what they must, for better or worse, contend with.

Like owners of investment property usually do, Mr. Supera’s FLP and Mr. Leviton found a commercial developer, The Shiner Group, willing to take a risk and find out if the residents of Lake Forest would buy into a very aggressive plan for a shopping center. This is totally acceptable behavior, of course. But hard as our staff has tried to accommodate Shiner in order to obtain more sales and property tax revenue for us residents, this shopping center literally does not fit on the site. It has to be shoe-horned into the site so “tight”, as the staff report repeatedly states, that it violates to an unacceptable degree just about everything we hold sacred in this town: historic preservation, heritage tree preservation, a green gateway the full length of Route 60, on-site water detention, and protecting neighbors from negative impacts. I can only imagine the residents on the west side of the next door condo, who purchased their home knowing it was part of a mid-rise residential and office development but were assured by City documents that there would be underground parking and the preservation of a beautiful oak woods. Now instead they could be looking at a fence, five retail operations, a service road for delivery trucks, and 348 parking spaces with lights all night long. That sounds like a reduction in their value, doesn’t it? Put simply, this is the wrong site for this large and intensive use.

You have a tough job in saying no to this. But as our Plan Commissioners, you are charged with “promoting the realization of our Comprehensive Plan and safeguarding the character of Lake Forest”. As such, in my opinion, you should deny this petition (or at least defer this decision) for amending the Special Use Permit. If you do so, the petitioner can come back in a year and ask again. But during that year, I would hope you would do four most-needed things:

  • First, the City should update and give more detail to its sub-area plan for Route 60 as it stretches from the Tollway to Route 41.
  • Second, the City should prepare a plan for improving the failed intersection at Saunders and Field Drive, which, as is obvious, this project can only exacerbate and which, if you approve buildings in the setback area as requested, could preclude some necessary improvements to the intersection and highway.
  • Third, the City should re-examine the underlying zoning of this parcel and of the description of the Transitional Zoning District in the Code. What does it mean to the existing Special Use if it was never implemented? Has it expired? Is retail allowed in a Transitional Zoning District—It seems to me that the Code says it is not. It also appears that this parcel is supposed to be treated as residential at this point. Clarification of these issues as part of your packet of materials would be useful before the City Council considers this petition and perhaps any others.
  • Fourth, the City should insure that the owners of the landmarked house are maintaining it adequately so that they cannot make the future claim that it is financially infeasible to keep and must be demolished.

I believe due diligence by the Shiner Group was sorely lacking for some reason. Did they get the impression that clear-cutting 400 trees, demolishing a landmark, reducing the setbacks ridiculously, and negatively impacting neighbors would be a slam dunk in Lake Forest because of two little words, “Whole Foods”? (I note that Condition #2 now unfortunately reads that “another grocery store of similar quality” will suffice so are we getting Whole Foods or not?) That said, there likely is a better project in here someplace if we insist on meeting all the coda of the Zoning, Tree, Historic Preservation, Building, Comprehensive Plan, Stormwater and other of our existing code chapters. I hope you find a way to say, “Here are the codes: make it work” to the owners and their representatives. And to any residents who have doubts, there will be a next petitioner or a better petition, perhaps by Shiner itself.

This is a great location and in general, while we want to protect our existing businesses and shopping centers, such as Market Square and the shops on Waukegan Road and Western Avenue, we have a very willing-to-listen community for development proposals. But in all cases we should respect and follow our own rules with only minimum variations. That is what keeps decision-making fair for everyone, now and in the future.



Preservation Foundation: Amberley Retail In Opposition To Lake Forest Planning

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by 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

A request for Special Use now before City boards and commissions will soon be presented for approval/disapproval. While Lake Forest Preservation Foundation is neither against development nor in opposition to the tenant named in this project (Whole Foods), the proposal requires significant compromises within the planning history that defines Lake Forest. The summary below highlights some of the project’s requests and their relationship to established requirements of the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code.

Amberley Woods Conway Market

• Reduce required 150-foot setback: The petitioner proposes a setback less than half the requirement. The Comprehensive Plan defines a 150-foot setback for the Rt. 60 corridor and states that “all future develop(ers) shall landscape their front 150 feet….” This requirement is in force for all property east of the Tollway. The Zoning Code Section 46-24—Special Uses requires: “Special uses proposed for any area with the TD Transitional District shall be consistent with the City’s Comprehensive Plan, with consideration to the natural features on, and development adjacent to, the property.” The Zoning Code Section 46-53.5 (H)(3) requires: “Any approval may be with conditions, but it shall be recommended only upon findings that: ….(c) The proposed development is consistent with the general intent of the Comprehensive Plan, with consideration to the natural features on, development adjacent to, and the ingress to and egress from, the property.”

• Demolish, rather than adaptively re-use, the Miller Estate House: The petitioner has presented no study to demonstrate that the house cannot be adaptively reused. His historic resource assessment states: “It is our conclusion that the house with its connected coach house … should be preserved, rehabilitated and integrated into any development … on the site.” The Comprehensive Plan states that development here should be “based on a development plan which is consistent with … adaptive reuse of the Miller estate house.” The petitioner’s request for demolition must be reviewed by the Historic Preservation Commission to determine whether the building is re-useable. The burden of proof is the petitioner’s, and requires demonstration of the need for demolition. A position paper on this proposal may be read at www.lfpf.org.

Points to Ponder: When change is considered, why not step back and assess its long-range impact? Does the proposal comply with legislative goals developed and followed over the past 150 years? Does it set a new precedent, or have potentially irreversible consequences? Does it take Lake Forest one step closer to being “just like everywhere else”?

The Petition to approve these changes will be discussed at the Plan Commission meeting, Wednesday June 11th, 6:30 PM, Lake Forest City Hall.