Dimucci Family Farm

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February 17th, 2012


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Where is our property?

Our property is on the east side of Rt. 12 and on the south side of Old McHenry Road. Click here to see a map of the area with our property highlighted.

What is the essence of your proposal?

We propose that a bit less than one-half of our property be used for commercial development and that the remainder be used for permanent open space. In other words, all impervious surfaces have to be accommodated within less than one-half of the property. Click here to see just the site plan or you may want to look at the complete application.

Why do you propose commercial instead of estate residential?

New developments of single-family homes fronting along Rt. 12 have not been started in the last 20 years or more. This includes the communities of Deer Park, Kildeer, Lake Zurich, Hawthorn Woods, North Barrington, Wauconda, Lakemoor and Volo. During that same time, commercial development along Rt. 12 has consistently occurred. The comprehensive plan of Hawthorn Woods and its boundary agreement with North Barrington confirm the commercial use of our property, as you will see below. Click here to see the trend of development along Rt. 12.

What tax benefits can we expect from a commercial use on your property?

The most certain tax benefits are real estate taxes. Click here to see our estimate of real estate tax revenue to the affected taxing bodies. You will see a potential total of $2,200,000, with about $1,500,000 per year of that going directly to School District 95, with no expenses due to students.

There is also the potential of sales taxes. Calculating these taxes is difficult since they depende on estimates of the amount of the total retail space to be built and the average dollar value of sales per square foot. Lake County will receive 1.25% of retail sales. A conservative estimate is that sales will average $300 per square foot.

Lake County could collect $1,125,000 per year in sales taxes if the total retail space is 300,000 square feet. Adjustments for more or less retail area would be based on $3.75 per square foot.

Please keep in mind that these are annual streams of income that can provide significant tax relief for taxpayers and really enhance local services, especially the schools.

Why not residential as a transition instead of your proposed open space?

First, we believe that open space is a highly desirable way to enhance the quality of the commercial development to come. Second, we have heard for years from our neighbors that they enjoy open space. Finally, open space will not burden the schools with students nor will it demand other public service.

How extensive are Lake County's controls over your development using a PUD?

A PUD includes all of the controls and all of the details that zoning and comprehensive plans provide, plus many more controls that are specific to our property and our immediate environment. N o detail or control is lost.

From our perspective, the current zoning needs to be changed. It is indefensible to call for large-lot residential use of a property whose highest and best use is commercial. (For more about this please see the questions below regarding Hawthorn Woods comprehensive plan and the commercial called for in the boundary agreements). A straight change of zoning would accomplish that goal.

It was the planning staff of Lake County that said "no" to the idea of a simple zoning change. From their point-of-view the use of a PUD gives them far more control over the eventual development. Straight zoning would control the quantitative aspects of a development – things such as uses, density, parking ratios, heights, etc. The PUD technique allows them to review and even specify many of the qualitative aspects that are normally ignored by simple zoning.

You will see a discussion of a pattern book below. This document is more than 60 pages of detail that will ensure a quality development and gives the County oversight on many issues that zoning itself never even mentions.

The conditional use permit granting the PUD will contain many specific requirements and restrictions that are not available in a simple zoning process. These allow the County to bind us, and any future owners, to these limitations. These controls and enhancements are "locked in" forever.

What is the "Pattern Book" we are hearing so much about?

Click here to see the Pattern Book section of our application. This is a good example of the additional controls the PUD technique gives Lake County. The design standards it contains can be traced back to a carefully crafted vision of the desired community character of the Rt. 12 corridor that goes back to the "Rt. 12 Corridor Planning Council".

The villages of Deer Park, Kildeer, Lake Zurich, North Barrington and Hawthorn Woods formed this Council. Lake County, Ela Township and the regional planning agency (then known as NIPC) also participated in this effort. The Council enjoyed strong regional support in their effort to set standards that would produce the community character they envisioned.

The Council's objective was to guide development along the Rt. 12 corridor by means of both text and by illustrated examples of design elements to be encouraged or to be avoided. They worked to set standards for design, signage, lighting, landscaping, etc. for future development.

The County has developed a "pattern book" based on the Council's recommendations, with specific additional restrictions for our property, in order to ensure that this vision is realized.We monitored the Rt. 12 Corridor Planning Council's work starting with their first meeting, which was held June 7, 1997. We wholeheartedly support the PUD approach and the use of the pattern book. The basic issue of our land use is settled and the interest of the public in a high quality development is protected in far more detail than conventional zoning or comprehensive plans can provide.

What use did the Rt. 12 Corridor Planning Council envision for your property?

Click here to see a very general land use map that indicates commercial use placed on our property as well as on several neighboring properties.

Don't developers always want PUD's so they can get around zoning standards?

Remember that it is the staff of Lake County that wants the additional controls thata PUD gives them. Sometimes developers do ask for relief from multiple standards in their applications. But the only change we are asking for is a slight increase in height over the standard GC district, although it is not actually a variance under the PUD standards of Lake County. Click here to see section 7.8.8 of the UDO ordinance.

This increase is consistent with plans that Hawthorn Woods presented to the County and it allows us to provide excellent architectural rooflines and design features. Click here to see the plan submitted to Lake County by Hawthorn Woods.

So what could be built if you get the approval you want?

We are requesting commercial use of part of our property. Commercial could include retail or office or a mix of the two. It does not include any form of residential or industrial use.

Don't you have to get approval of Hawthorn Woods or North Barrington?

Our property is in unincorporated Lake County. It has never been in the jurisdiction of any municipality.

How does your plan compare to the current comprehensive plan of Hawthorn Woods?

The size and placement of our proposed commercial use is approximately the same as the Hawthorn Woods Comprehensive Plan. The only significant difference is that we do not propose to build houses, preferring open space and relief for the schools. Click here to see the parts of the current comprehensive plan of Hawthorn Woods that deal with our property.

But isn't there a boundary agreement between Hawthorn Woods and North Barrington that controls this property?

Click here to see the boundary agreement between the villages. You can see that it never controlled our property and would only apply if we sought annexation to one of the villages. The agreement was made, in both the original form and as amended, with no input from us, the owners.

It is important to follow the sequence of Hawthorn Woods' intentions regarding our property. The 1999 version of the boundary agreement with North Barrington called for a minimum of 35 and a maximum of 50 acres of commercial development on our property. An amendment under the Keith Hunt administration in 2002 reduced that area to 25 acres and pushed it to the south next to our neighbors in Valentine Manor. Then, in 2004, Hawthorn Woods adopted their current comprehensive plan and returned the maximum area to 50 acres. They also moved it back north to where we propose our commercial use.

Where will your sewer service come from?

Sewer service will be provided by Lake Zurich. The sewer line needed for that service is in place right now. Click here to see the sewer service agreement. Click here to see a schematic plan of the sewer route.

Isn't sewer service from Lake Zurich prohibited by an agreement with Hawthorn Woods?

Hawthorn Woods agreed in 2009 to allow our property to be served by Lake Zurich. Click here to see this agreement. There is no later agreement changing this fact.

It is worth mentioning that North Barrington also agreed to Lake Zurich providing sewer service to our property. Click here to see the North Barrington agreement. It was also signed in 2009.

Didn't you hold secret meetings with Lake County and surprise Hawthorn Woods and North Barrington with this request?

We have met with staff at Lake County just like any normal applicant with a significant request. We did not have any meetings that should have included the public.

We can tell you without a doubt that current or former officials of both Hawthorn Woods and North Barrington have known for years that we would look to Lake County with our plans. We told them ourselves. Look again at the sewer agreements from 2009 and ask yourself what were the officials in the villages thinking?

What is this 800,000 square foot mall I keep hearing about?

We don't know. Opponents have created it for their own convenience, perhaps becausethey already have signs and buttons made or possibly they just want to dredge up old hard feelings.

We are seeking a commercial use designation for less than half of our property and do not exceed the long-standing density standards of the County. Click here to see a table of permitted densities compared to our request. We are requesting far less than the permitted density if we were to have commercial zoning on our entire property. Whatever the mix of commercial uses may be in the future, by restricting ourselves to the use of less that one-half of our property, and surrounding it with permanent open space, we are proposing to provide the lowest density commercial development on the Rt. 12 corridor.

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