Buffalo Creek Clean Water Partnership

Citizens and communities can make a difference in the health of Buffalo Creek.

For more information contact Buffalo Creek Clean Water Partnership:

http://www.buffalocreekcleanwater.org

Jeff Weiss, Founder, marjeff1@aol.com, (847) 224-0965

Marcy Knyz, Watershed Coordinator, marcy.knyz@cardno.com, (847) 732-5172

 

Some points of interest in the engineering report on the downtown proposal

Monday 9/8/14, the Village Board discussed the Engineering Study on the Golf Course. Nothing is approved YET!! But things may start to change now…

Send Letters and Emails to the Trustees.

More information on the 9/8 Board Agenda and the Engineering Study results can be found on the Village Website at this link:

http://www.vbg.org/155/Village-Board-Agenda-Minutes-Video

Alternative #1, under consideration:

The Village appears to be interested in Alternate #1, from the Study, which says that a future development would have 58.5 acres of buildable land while providing 29 acre-feet of storm water retention. The project would provide 84 feet of compensatory storage in the flood plain and flood way.  The ground level in the buildable area has to be raised 2.5 feet because of the floodplain.

Floodplain and earthwork estimates are at $21 million.

The engineer estimates 18-24 months to complete design, approval and permitting. If the Board elects to continue the evaluation of redeveloping the site, staff will further refine the timelines, and firm up earth moving costs.

Next step would be to re-engage CRM properties or other developers to determine possible interest. The development of a concept land plan based on the known site characteristics will be critical to evaluating any future development concepts or financing needs.

Other recommendations/findings now under consideration by the Village:

A downtown development committee would be formed consisting of two Trustees, two Plan Commission members, Village staff and developer team members.

Their job would be to review and evaluate concepts, financials, land use environmental, economic and open space concerns.

Public hearings would be held by the Plan Commission. There would be meetings with affected residents.

The concept development timeline is about 12 months.

Flood way improvements will take 12 months for construction with above-ground construction taking place thereafter. Retail operations are expected in 3 years. (In other parts of the report, some different time frames are given for this.)

No purchase price has been set for the Golf Course and Municipal Campus. Stormwater remediation must be done first at a cost of $21 Million. The time frame for design, approval and permitting is 18-24 months.

The Downtown is proposed to go from west of Buffalo Creek along Lake Cook Road, to the eastern limits of the Golf Course.

A consultant would be hired to see if a 9-hole golf course would still be viable.

The project is subject to review by Lake County Stormwater Management Commission and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago if existing floodway or floodplain is affected.

Traffic impact analysis would be done by the developer for Lake Cook Road, Raupp Blvd, Church St, and Old Checker Road to determine appropriate traffic improvements required to mitigate impacts.

The Village will meet with neighboring properties (Manchester and RoseGlen) for screening, buffering, noise mitigation and traffic control. It is possible that a pedestrian walkway can be built between the neighborhoods and downtown.

There are no available cost estimates for the replacement of Village Hall, police station and public service buildings.

The Downtown will accommodate almost all BG special events (BG DAYS, Farmer’s Market, etc.).

Not having a train station in the downtown area is not believed to be a primary driver of this development.

The Park District is welcomed to be a partner in this. The replacement of the Beth Am property is being assessed as a long-term project for the downtown.

There is no planned closing date for the Golf Course.

There will be no debt for the taxpayers. Property values are expected to increase and a TIF is likely.

It’s possible the downtown will cause the Town Center to be redeveloped if the downtown generates additional retail demand in other BG areas.

There is a plan and picture of the downtown layout (overhead and elevation) in the report showing several high-rise buildings.

Included in the plan is retail, restaurants (sit down and fast casual), office/medical space, movie theaters, Live performance theater, a museum or similar space, a new municipal campus, some residential towers (8-10 stories with 266 owned units and 325 rental units), a 3-acre European plaza with Bellagio-style fountains and parking for 4500 vehicles. There is also space for potential Park District administrative use. This includes a 2-story department store, lifestyle retail flanking the plaza, and neighborhood services (deli, cleaners, etc.). Along Lake Cook Road there is planned a specialty grocer, pharmacy, bank, and food services. There will be modifications to the developer’s plan due to reduced frontage available on Lake Cook Road and the reduced acreage available for the project.  the Bellagio Fountains may be affected by this.

In the Report, similar developments in Scottsdale, AZ and Lakewood, CO are referenced with links to view them. Cost to build is $322 Million (Retail,$107M; Residential owned, $57M; Residential rented $53M; Public use $43M and site improvement and infrastructure, $62M.)

A complex and substantial underground compensatory and flood control infrastructure is needed to manage stormwater.

Expected benefits: $100 Million in sales, a 22% increase over all of 2011. $2 Million in sales tax per year. Timeline could be 3-7 years. Can save 8 holes from present Golf Course and could create a 9-hole course. There is expected to be a flood reduction benefit for St Mary’s Parkway homes near Buffalo Creek.

Other benefits: reduced downstream flooding, better habitat and nature corridor, re-orientation of site improvement buffers, runoff can be zero, improved recreation amenities, half of the site is open space.
Could negatively impact Town Center, Chase Plaza and the Grove Centers. The high-rise buildings are a concern. Stormwater remediation will cost an estimated $21 Million.

Buffalo Creek is under the jurisdiction of Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Other agencies involved are Lake County Stormwater Management Commission, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, and US Army Corps of Engineers.

Minor relocation of Buffalo Creek is a challenge due to biological integrity and stream characteristics. The soil on the west side of the Golf Course is poor.

The Farrington Ditch is planned to be relocated to the east boundary of the downtown.

Please go to the web site http://www.vbg.org/downtown for more details.

Recap of 9/8/2104 BG Board meeting

Thank you to all who were able to be at last nite’s Board meeting.

It was a packed house (SRO). The Herald has a report on the meeting in today’s paper. The engineering report was discussed and the conclusion was that Malk can’t have the 65 acres he wanted to build on. The buildable space is maxed out at 58.5 acres and the Lake Cook Road frontage will be reduced. His design will be significantly altered because of this. The Trustees voted (4-2) to tell Malk his original plan is DOA and ask what would be his interest now that his original plan has to be changed. Stein and Sussman voted no. It appears the slow speed of the process will continue. So we’ll be waiting to to see what response the Village gets from Malk.

Keep up your emails to the Board to let them know a downtown is not a benefit to BG. I’m told by a Trustee that he gets about one email a week on this. Be sure to let the Trustees know that the majority of BG residents are NOT in favor of a downtown and keep it up. Thanks.

Also, there was some good news last nite. Rohrman is taking one of the empty car dealerships on Dundee Road and is opening a Rorhrmax dealership on the property. It will have about 300 cars and 45 employees. Operations are supposed to start next week. Hopefully things will go so well at the Rohrmax that Rorhman will expand into one or two of the other empty dealerships or other car dealers will want to move into them.

I’ll be placing the information I brought up to the Board last nite, plus more, on the http://www.savebuffalogrove.com website.

Thanks.

Floodway Characteristics

Municipal Code 18.14.060 Floodway characteristics.

Within the designated floodway, the construction of an appropriate use will be considered permissible provided that the proposed project meets the following engineering and mitigation criteria and is so stated in writing with supporting plans, calculations and data by a registered professional engineer and provided that any structure meets the protection requirements of Chapter 18.18.

Channel Modification. If the proposed activity involves a channel modification, it shall be demonstrated that there are no practicable alternatives to the activity which would accomplish its purpose with less impact to the natural conditions of the body of water affected. Possible alternatives include levees, bank stabilization, flood proofing of existing structures, removal of structures from the floodplain, clearing the channel, high flow channel, or the establishment of a stream side buffer strip or green belt. Channel modification is acceptable if the purpose is to restore natural conditions and improve water quality and fish and wildlife habitat. Water quality, habitat, and other natural functions would be significantly improved by the modification and no significant habitat area may be destroyed, or the impacts are offset by the replacement of an equivalent degree of natural resource values. The activity has been planned and designed and will be constructed in a way which will minimize its adverse impacts on the natural conditions of the body of water affected, consistent with the following criteria:

The physical characteristics of the modified channel shall match as closely as possible those of the existing channel in length, cross-section, slope and sinuosity. If the existing channel has been previously modified, restoration of more natural physical conditions should be incorporated into channel modification design, where practical

TIF Information

TIF

A TIF is public financing as a subsidy for redevelopment or other improvements.
It uses future gains in taxes to subsidize current improvements projected to create gains above routine yearly tax increases.

If the costs of basic services increase with TIF, the result is a revenue shortfall that has to be paid for from sources other than tax revenues of the TIF District.

California “invented” TIF’s but the TIF method has been discontinued because of lawsuits and California will be paying off old TIF debt for many years ($10 Billion in TIF revenue, $28 Billion in long-term debt, over $674 Billion of EAV).

With a TIF, public services very likely increase. If TIF revenue isn’t enough, other areas will be affected by TIF (schools, public safety, etc.).

Albuquerque, NM has the second largest TIF in U.S.: $500 Million Mesa del Sol built on green field that generated little tax revenue. Any increase in tax revenue would be diverted into the TIF fund. Thus governmental bodies don’t get funding necessary for operations from h TIF developed area.

Response to downton proposal

Correction. If they expect the costs of the projects to be borne by the developer through the TIF district what that really means is a massive property tax hike for you and me.

Basically, a TIF district would allow the developer to keep a large share of their property taxes for redevelopment purposes, and not pay their fair share into the school districts, county, township, municipality, park district, community college, etc. We end up paying more to make up for the TIF developers short changing the system for a minimum of 23 years.

Nevermind the issue of where are they going to get the money to destroy and rebuild village hall, public works and possibly the police HQ. Hint: Us!

If they use a TIF district it means higher property taxes for you and me for at least 23 years.

This is cronyism. Giving special benefits to a single corporation/developer is highly unethical. Add this to all of the other issues (environment, open space, traffic, flood control, etc.)

I noticed that they are proposing a tax incentive to Rohrman for up to $350K per year for up to 10 years. That’s more money than what they collect for licenses and permits city wide, every year. Instead of giving Rohrman this incentive they could zero out the license and permit fees for 10 years and give all business and residents a significant tax cut. It would still give Rohrman a substance

I think if we want to stop the downtown BG project we should fight all of the corporate tax incentives proposal by the village. I see their justification down the road being, “well we gave these other guys incentives, so we have to give CRM an incentive too”.

Every time they trot out an tax cut incentive for an individual business for economic development, we should counter with a general tax or fee cut for economic development for the entire village.

Information presented to BG Board on 9/8/2014

IF YOU BUILD IT THEY WILL COME. REALLY?!
9/8/2014

Buffalo Grove Village Management and some Trustees are looking into a Developer’s proposal to sell the BG Golf Course to the developer so he can build a downtown Buffalo Grove on about half of it (65 acres). The original proposal was made two years ago and as of now the residents are able to see the results of an engineering study of how building on the Golf Course can be done. The Village has had the engineering report since July 31, 2014 and for a month the report has been going back and forth between the Village and Engineering firm for edits. Really? What’s been going on for a month? And, there have been several meetings between BG and other agencies over the past three months.

Over the past two years I have had lengthy conversations about the downtown proposal with a majority of the Trustees, village staff and residents. I’ve also done some research on the matter. In this document, I’ve put together a recap of some of the points that have come up over the last two years along with comments/facts regarding those points.

Almost the entire Golf Course is a flood plain and has two flood ways (Buffalo Creek and the Farrington Ditch) traversing it. During heavy rains the Golf Course fills with water and is unplayable for several days. So the flood plain is working and this seems to be happening quite frequently over the last few years. Accommodation of this flood water must be made if there is to be building on the Golf Course. It is required that if building is done, the water storage volume that must be accommodated is 120% of what a hundred year flood would bring. The engineering report addresses this point. The report is over 100 pages long and does provide water retention and detention methods if building is done. The price for the Village to remediate the flood plain/flood way issues is somewhere around $21 million. This amount may have to be included as part of the Golf Course’s selling price or paid for by the Village. Does the engineering report mention that all the stormwater and sump outflow from the Manchester Green subdivision is piped onto to the Golf Course? For 19 years this system has kept Manchester flooding at bay. How much of a negative impact will downtown have on this?

The Village’s Municipal Code mentions two points regarding building on the Golf Course flood plain/flood way. (1). Section 18.14.50 says there is to be no creation of damaging increase in flood heights or velocity. A recreational facility is an approved use of a flood way. Approved uses do not include construction of any new structures or channel modifications. (2). Section 18.14.70 says a project that revises or establishes a flood way or flood plain profiles must have Illinois Department of Natural Resources/Office of Water Resources (IDNR/OWR) review and concurrence to permit prior to any local permits being issued.

Is the only way residential, retail and recreational development can be done in BG be through building a downtown? Is more of this stuff needed? There have been articles about retail stores recently that don’t paint a pretty picture. First, the Wall Street Journal said that 50% of teenage boys and 75% of teenage girls don’t shop in stores. They shop online. These are near-term, primary, future shoppers. There are also stories in the media that suggest both Walmart and Target may soon be gone as we know them because people are not shopping as they used to in huge, big-box stores. People now want smaller convenience-type stores near their homes. If this is the wave of the future, what kind of retail will be worth putting in a downtown?

If the retail idea is discounted and the main purpose is to build recreational and entertainment features in the downtown, what about the already existing and to-be-built features near BG. About one mile from the proposed downtown is a huge, “free” recreational parcel of land at Arlington Heights and Lake-Cook Roads. Picnic facilities, walking/hiking trails, etc. are there now. And this facility is soon going to be expanded further. Lake County Buffalo Grove residents are paying for this already. About four miles east of the proposed downtown, Wheeling, IL, has already approved a $100 million development of their “downtown”. This will include 275 residential units, several restaurants and eight theaters. Construction is supposed to start next year. In these two cases, Buffalo Grove will be in “catch up” competition to draw local audiences away from other, existing area features.

The feeling that BG doesn’t have an upscale restaurant which causes residents to spend their money in other towns is also brought up. (It’s thought that 60% of available BG spending money leaves the Village.) Some folks are suggesting that if BG builds a downtown, “Lettuce Entertain You” would immediately put two restaurants there. Now, you mean to tell me if that company really wanted to put restaurants in BG that there currently are no existing locations they could use? Only a downtown would do it? If there really is a problem of not having upscale restaurants in BG, why aren’t we addressing that individual problem? When Town Center was being built, several restaurants that seem to bring in the crowd were not allowed to be put in that area (Olive Garden and Chili’s for two). BG Trustees were involved in those decisions at that time. Interestingly, the September 7, 2014 Parade Magazine reports an 11% decline for restaurant meals eaten per person between 2000 and 2014.

In the original downtown proposal from the developer are some 8-9 story high-rise buildings. Is that really going to happen? One Trustee has already said no. Will there really be another grocery store in the downtown? Will downtown add to the approved but unbuilt residential properties in BG? If there are not enough residential units allowed, will the developer continue to work his plan? Or will he back out?

What if, for various reasons, after the downtown development is physically underway, the developer pulls out and leaves BG with no Golf Course and a torn up mud field? The Village says that there will be safeguards to avoid this with benchmark/checkpoints that must be met before moving ahead. Does history back this up? The residents in Lake County were given the Fort Sheridan golf course by the federal government. Lake County announced the course would be renovated. The course was closed and torn up for renovation. Then Lake County decided they weren’t going to renovate the course. So there it sits, a closed, torn up, unused piece of property. Recently a developer backed out of redevelopment of the old, BG Rogan Shoe store on BG and Dundee Roads. So the best laid plans sometimes do go awry.

In general, a downtown along Lake Cook Road appears it will bring more traffic on Lake Cook, duplicate a lot of the features/functions already in BG or nearby surrounding areas and is fraught with scary possibilities that could leave the Village “hanging” and not getting what it bargained for. Other points to ponder are the destruction of the fairly new police station, Golf Course Club House/Restaurant, remodeled Village Hall and Public Works Building. These buildings are planned to be re-built on the north end of the downtown near Old Checker Road. This will cause more traffic there and the plan suggests Old Checker Road will be widened to four lanes.

A common argument for a downtown is the fact that only golfers are being accommodated by the Golf Course while a downtown will accommodate all residents, primarily with the recreational and entertainment features. Another point mentioned is the expense of maintaining and operating the Golf Course. First, not all patrons of the Golf Course are golfers. I know of 8 or 9 off the top of my head (including me) who regularly frequent the course and restaurant who are not golfers. If the Golf Course is such a financial burden for BG, a suggestion is to keep it as open green space, shut the course down as a maintained property and allow it revert back to nature without maintenance and let people enjoy it as is. Or keep the Golf Course open and add walking paths and some picnic areas for all residents to enjoy. Many golf courses provide multiple uses. Thinking outside of the box on this may result in some really great ideas.

What about the potential for crime and nearby neighborhoods that will be adversely affected? When The Escape in BG wanted to hold teen dances on the weekend, the Trustees and Police were so worried about the potential for problems and crime in the area that they wanted police personnel on site and as a minimum television cameras that broadcast a view of the activities directly to the police station. If the downtown is to be a “destination” who will be coming to that destination? Not only will the downtown be open to all, but so will the surrounding neighborhoods. Will there then be more home vandalism and break-ins due to more non-residents frequenting the area? What about increased vehicle break-ins? Gurnee Mills has expended a big effort to combat the large amount of gang presence there and the robbery attacks in its parking lot. Are these incidents being caused by Gurnee residents? Several hundred feet from the east edge of the proposed downtown is Saint Mary School. How will that school be affected by the downtown’s people and vehicle traffic?

The neighborhoods around the proposed downtown will be adversely affected by a downtown in other ways. The quiet Manchester area will no longer be quiet and no longer be anything like it is today. Bernard Drive will become an “interstate-type bypass” at rush hours for drivers trying to avoid Lake Cook Road traffic. Surrounding residential streets will also be affected by traffic trying to “escape” Lake Cook Road. Will there be extra police controlling this? When there was Lake Cook Road construction a few years ago, the afternoon back-up at the four-way stop at Bernard and Weidner was two blocks long. Drivers were speeding along Bernard and when that wasn’t fast enough, they turned and sped along the side streets. When I requested the police place an officer at the stop sign to keep traffic moving on Bernard, I was told the police don’t have the manpower to that. Will the police have manpower to control downtown traffic that seeps into the neighborhood? If so, who pays for the extra costs? Add this to the increased traffic on a four-lane Old Checker Road.

In summary, building a downtown on the BG Golf Course will drastically change the “flavor” of BG. It brings the city into the suburbs. It is a flawed idea that doesn’t address the real problems facing the Village. And, it creates problems of its own. Being the large project it is it will tax Village manpower and facilities and cause extra expense that may not be covered by self-generated revenue. This may cause the tax increases that the project hopes to avoid to become reality. Could it put the Village in a financial bind? Other alternatives should be deeply considered before going forward with a downtown proposal.

Leon Gopon

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