Save Buffalo Grove Flood Plain Meeting 4/2

Please attend
SBG Community Meeting

BG Golf Course Flood Plain
Questions & Answers

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
7 PM-9:30 PM
Village Tavern and Grille
48 Raupp Road

Background Information:

Why a meeting on the flood plain?
Because there is a lack of good information available on the golf course flood plain and regulations surrounding it; many residents worry about what will happen if the Village decides to build on the flood plain.

Save Buffalo Grove (SBG) asked the Village to answer some fundamental questions about flood plains and, in particular, the golf course flood plain. This has evolved into the April 2, 2014 community meeting.

Has a proposal for the Downtown development been approved?
NO. Village officials say the Downtown Plan has NOT been approved and very little has been done on it in recent months.

Village officials say they are currently in an information gathering phase regarding the proposal to build a commercial downtown on 65 acres of the Buffalo Grove Golf Course.

To facilitate transparency, SBG has issued a FOIA (Freedom of information Act) request for copies of all Village communications regarding the Downtown Plan.

Did the Village Trustees approve a feasibility study to determine if the golf course is suitable for development?

Yes, the Trustees approved a feasibility study in February and it is now underway. The Village contracted with an outside engineering firm to complete the feasibility study by June 2014. It will yield a set of recommendations.

Did SBG voice opposition to the feasibility study?
Yes. Three members of the SBG Steering Committee stood up and talked at the February Board meeting; they voiced strong opposition to the feasibility study and to building on the golf course flood plain. There were about 15 members of SBG at this particular board meeting.

What’s on the agenda for the April 2 Flood Plain Meeting?
SBG gave the Village Engineer 20 questions to answer on flood plains in general and the golf course flood plain, in particular. We expect to hear basic flood plain information from Darren Monico, the Village Engineer.

In light of the feasibility issues, it is unlikely that Mr. Monico will provide any specific building plans at this time.

What has to happen before a Downtown plan can go forward?
The Village might need several years to secure the necessary approvals, permits, and rights before they can clear any land and begin building. Financing may also be a major hurdle.

At this time, it is unlikely that the Village Engineer will be able to comment on this approval process for the Downtown Plan. He will probably try to present in a neutral and bias-free way, when it comes to supporting or not supporting a Downtown Plan.

Where did this idea about creating a Downtown BG start?
In August, 2012 developer (Malk) proposed to the Buffalo Grove Village Board that the Village sell the Buffalo Grove Golf Course to his company (CRM) and he would build a downtown area consisting of residential, recreational and retail properties on 65 acres of the land. The Golf Course Club House/Restaurant, Village Hall and Police Department buildings would be demolished and new buildings would be relocated elsewhere.

What is SBG’s position on the Downtown Plan?
Save Buffalo Grove, a citizens group, is not in favor of converting open space into a downtown and has been voicing its opinion to the Village Board since 2012.

What’s the mission of SBG?
The mission of Save Buffalo Grove is to preserve the environment and green space of Buffalo Grove, to promote a beautiful community, and to help our public officials make wise decisions in this regard. Our initial objective is to oppose the development of a Downtown Buffalo Grove on the Buffalo Grove Golf Course.

What kind of organization is SBG?
SBG began as a small grassroots group of concerned citizens, but we have grown considerably. As a result, we are now beginning to formalize our organizational structure for greater impact and transparency in terms advocacy, education, and fundraising.

Who runs SBG?
SBG has a five-member Steering Committee composed of Buffalo Grove residents.

ALERT-Downtown Buffalo Grove project to be discussed on 2/3/14

A point of information:  The contact between the Village and the engineers on this proposal appears to have begun on 5/28/13 (eight months ago) and was revised on 12/30/13.  So while we were being told that there was nothing to tell us, the Village was actively working on getting a feasibility study done that will cost the Village $79,000.Buffalo Grove flooding
The downtown Buffalo Grove proposal will be discussed at the 2/3/14 village of Buffalo Grove board meeting.   A resolution to have a consulting engineer do a build-able assessment of the golf property will be up for approval.  Details of the items to be discussed are contained in the Board meeting agenda packet located on the Village web site, vbg.org. Here is a summary of what is included.
The resolution is to assess golf course flood plain characteristics, conduct hydraulic modeling of wetland and soils investigation and develop a buildable area plan.  The engineers will develop two alternatives to accommodate the two waterways running through the golf course (Buffalo Creek and Farrington Ditch) and provide a detailed outline of expected permitting and timelines.   The engineer is Christopher B. Burke Engineering (CBBEL).  The study will take 160 days, determine project feasibility and could refine the Buffalo Grove master plan.  Information obtained may be used for development purposes other than the proposed downtown project should the Board chose to pursue other options.  No traffic analysis will be done and the project could involve significant regulatory permitting.
Engineering recommendations will be in accordance with regulations of:
  1. Lake County Watershed Development Ordinance
  2. Metro Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
  3. IL Department of Natural Resources – Office of Water Resources
  4. US Army Corps of Engineers
  5. IL EPA
  6. IL DOT
The engineering study will:
  1. Document existing floodplain/floodway and wetlands on the site
  2. Do preliminary sizing of relocated waterways (concept sketches will be done)
  3. Quantify  the amount of floodplain and floodway fill
  4. Provide wetland impacts and storm water detention/water quality requirements
  5. Evaluate 2 alternative plans and each will include a small creek thru the center of the site with an overflow channel around the east or west side of the site
  6. Maximize useable Lake Cook Road frontage.

THE ENGINEERING STUDY SUMMARY REPORT COMPLETION AND PROJECT COORDINATION MEETINGS ARE SCHEDULED FOR 5/30/14. Cost of the study is $79,000.  There will be additional costs of 35 soil borings to be done by a sub contractor, Testing Service Corporation, totaling $23,800.  Total costs of the entire engineering study are not to exceed $79,000.

Save Buffalo Grove – Engineering Study Contract

Buffalo Creek Reservoir Expansion Open House January 22

MWRD, Lake County Forest Preserve District to host an open house to discuss Buffalo Creek Reservoir Expansion and Forest Preserve improvements

Who: The MWRD and the Lake County Forest Preserve District
What: Informational open house regarding concept plans for improvements at the Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve
Where: Buffalo Grove Village Hall, 50 Raupp Blvd., Buffalo Grove, IL
When: Wednesday, January 22, any time from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) and Lake County Forest
Preserve District (LCFPD) are working on a project to expand the existing Buffalo Creek Reservoir and
improve recreational access at the Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve.

To provide more information about the project, the public is invited to an informal open house to view the concept plans on Wed., Jan. 22, anytime from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Buffalo Grove Village Hall, 50 Raupp Blvd., Buffalo Grove, IL. No presentation is planned as part of the viewing but public comment will be welcomed.

Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve is located on the west and east sides of Schaefer Road between Lake Cook Road on the south and Checker Road on the north in the Villages of Buffalo Grove and Long Grove.

The joint project involves expanding floodwater storage at the MWRD’s existing Buffalo Creek Reservoir,
habitat restoration, and improving public access throughout the Preserve. Public access improvements
include adding and relocating trails and bridges to improve recreational opportunities.

Please see the following page for a map of the preferred concept. Additional information can be obtained by calling (312) 751-3247

Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve

 

 

Recap of December 16, 2013 BG Village board meeting

Nothing was mentioned at the 12/16 BG board meeting regarding the downtown BG proposal.

However here is some other information covered that may interest you.

1.  The village web site is being redesigned.  Some of the changes are already visible.
2.  There was a discussion on the approval of the Phase 1 study regarding the Weiland Road project.  The plan has been adjusted through several meetings with residents and modifications consists of:
    A. Reduced lanes north of Aptakisic
    B. Realignment of the curve south of Mirielle subdivision.
    C. Addition of pedestrian beacons along the road.
    D. Keeping old Prairie Road open to Aptakisic.
    E.  Lane width modifications for bicyclists.
3.  Police revenue for 2013, through October, is about $584,000 (tickets, tows, fines, etc.),
4.  There will be a vote to abate (reduce) BG Village taxes for next year by $204,500 or 1.85%. The Village property tax rate will drop from .9603/$100 to about .9340/$100.

July 18 Meeting recap TIF district for Downtown Buffalo Grove

Buffalo_Grove_Golfcourse

Save Buffalo Grove (SBG) is hosting a presentation on problems associated with Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for the proposed Downtown Buffalo Grove.  Please attend and alert your friends and neighbors.

Presentation:   Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for Downtown Buffalo Grove: Developer’s Dream  or Taxpayer’s Nightmare?
Speaker:              Brian Costin, TIF district expert with the Illinois Policy Institute
Date:                    Thursday, July 18, 2013
Time:                    7:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Location:             Village Tavern and Grille-Back Room, Raupp Road at Church Street
Please:                 Buy a drink or snack from the Village Tavern, as the room is free to SBG.  
Background: This program comes in response to the proposal for the creation of a new TIF district as a way to fund the Downtown Plan from the developer, Charles Malk of CRM Properties Group, and remarks indicating support for such a concept from the Buffalo Grove Village Trustees.
Brian will:
  • Discuss what TIF districts are, how they can affect taxpayers, and the unique circumstances surrounding a potential Buffalo Grove TIFdistrict.\Outline the legal steps involved in creating a TIF district in Illinois and how citizens can participate in the process to influence the outcome.
  • Present information on Illinois TIF statutes that require TIFS to be used for areas with “blight factors,” and the restrictions of TIFS on public lands occupied by golf courses.
  • Explore the numerous legal concerns surrounding CRM Properties Group’s unique TIF district proposal for a Downtown Buffalo Grove development. 
 “If this proposal proceeds, it might be the first time in Illinois history that a TIF district has been proposed for non-blighted lands entirely owned by the government,” says Costin. “Because the proposed development area overlaps the boundaries of several taxing bodies– Village of Buffalo Grove, Vernon and Wheeling Townships–local school districts and taxpayers in both Lake and Cook counties will be affected by the proposed TIF district.”

Downtown Buffalo Grove Proposal: Current Status and Golf Course History

Buffalo_Grove_GolfcourseBy Leon Gopon

Following is information I have gathered from official Village documents, Village Board meetings and casual conversations with various Village officials.

The people running both BG golf courses presented their upcoming golf season’s marketing plan for the courses at a Village Board meeting in December 2012.  At that meeting, the Village President reiterated that both BG golf courses will be open for the entire golfing season coming up.

As far as I know, there are many details to be fleshed out before anybody on the Village board can determine if it’s a yes or no project.  Before it gets to the Trustees, the plan has to go through several committees (Planning for example) and be approved by all of them first before the plan is passed on to the Trustees for a vote.  The flood plain issue is very complicated and can’t be resolved by just one agency.  When I talked to the Village Manager, he said a main controlling agency is FEMA.  Then there is the Corps of Engineers, Metro Water Reclamation District, the County and other agencies that have to get their two cents in.  I haven’t heard if any of these agencies being asked for their two cents as of yet, but that could be happening.

The developer has not received any commitments from businesses that would agree to locate in the proposed downtown area.  He wants the Village to approve his marketing plan so he can start soliciting businesses.  The Trustees, on the other hand, want to know what the plan will be before they sign off on it and let him solicit businesses.  The developer can’t tell what the plan will be until he get commitments from businesses.  Right now, that whole scenario is going around in circles.  I believe the developer wants to solicit businesses at a convention to be held in May in Las Vegas.

On March 7, the Save BG committee is having a Candidates’ Nite at the Village Tavern at 7 p.m.  The three Trustees running for re-election (Les Ottenheimer, Andy Stein, and Bev Sussman) will be there to talk with residents about their backgrounds, feelings about the pros and cons of the Village and to answer questions about the downtown proposal and Save BG’s requested referendum to approve the proposal.  So far, I have received positive thoughts about the referendum from two Trustees and we have over 230 signatures on the referendum petition.  Signatures are coming from all parts of the Village, not just from the area around the golf course.

On April 4, we’ll be holding another open meeting for residents at the Village Tavern.  The subject will be the flood plain issue on the golf course.  Greg Boysen, the Director of Public Works, will give a half hour presentation of the flood plain situation on the golf course and what compensation would be required because of any building on the golf course.  The Village Manager expressed interest in this presentation and he may also be at that meeting.  There will time for questions from the audience.

The golf course was originally purchased with a five-year installment contract between BG and the American National Bank in 1974.  When the interest rate on the loan was going to be raised by 17%, the Village passed an ordinance (76-56) to approve a new fifteen-year installment contract with Allstate Insurance for about $1.1 million, plus interest, to continue the long-term purchase option of the golf course.  The Village then had what they called “a back door referendum” to get residents’ approval on the ordinance to purchase the golf course with the loan from Allstate.  That referendum passed with 2142 yes votes and 164 no votes.  Reasons put forth by the Village to purchase the golf course were: open space, safety and health.  So, if we bought the golf course by having a referendum, it seems apropos that we have a referendum to sell the golf course.

I’ve had, and continue to have, conversations with Trustees Terson, Stein, Sussman, Trilling, and Berman, and Manager Bragg about the downtown proposal.  Everything I hear from the Village is that it’ll take about two years for the proposal to sell the golf course and approve building a downtown BG on it.  This is necessary to go through the red tape, committees, etc. before any Trustee vote will take place.  If approved, it’ll take about 8 years to build.  So, in total, it’ll be 10 years before there’s a downtown BG (if approved).

Here’s a brief history on how the golf Course was purchased:

  1. 1974 – Five-year purchase agreement arranged between BG and American National Bank.  A clause in the contract was “Purchaser (BG) shall not sell, lease, or encumber said golf course until the amount due under this agreement shall be paid in full, both principal and interest.”
  2. 1976 – Purchase revised as a fifteen-year installment contract with Allstate Insurance.
  3. Ordinance 76-50 was adopted to purchase the golf course.  Wording changes regarding the purchase caused 76-50 to be replaced by Ordinance 76-56.
  4. 1977 – A petition was presented to the Board of Trustees requesting a referendum for Ordinance 76-56.  Ordinance 77-5 was adopted calling for the referendum to be held on 2/19/77.  The vote was 2142 “for” purchase and 164 “against”.
  5. 1977 – An installment agreement was assigned to Allstate Insurance and American Nation Bank and Trust Company was paid in full.
  6. 1991 – the installment agreement with Allstate was paid in full.

Reasons to buy the golf course as determined in 1976 and taken from Village documents:

  • The golf course is essential to the Village of BG. It serves the public interests. It is necessary for public safety. The golf course provides cleaner air.  The golf course best serves the Village in its present form.
  • Golf course development will require unending demands for water, sewers, street maintenance, police and fire protection, as well as additional needs faced by the school districts.
  • Additional taxes will be needed, but golf course profits will be used to repay the loan for the major portion of the purchase.  It was estimated taxes would be $1.40 per $10,000 of accessed valuation each year for the 15-year life of the loan.  If the golf course were developed, the tax increase would be $25 -$30 each year per $10,000 assessed valuation.
  • Golf course profits were estimated to be $90,000+ per year, based on the 1976 audit showing $93,000 profit.
  • The golf course serves as a flood plain.  The golf course provides natural retention areas during heavy rains.  The open space controls flooding.  Building on a flood plain has consequences to the Village that can be severe.
  • Estimated costs for the school districts if the golf course was developed were about $613,000.
  • Green space was an issue.  The parcels surrounding the golf course have a residential character.  The golf course is one of the largest tracts of open space left in the northwest suburbs.  Open space is a non-renewable resource.  The golf course is a central focus for the open-space net in BG.  There is a village plan to link up all various open spaces in the Village into a single, continuous network.  Open space delineates and buffers certain functions of the town and serves as an excellent transitional boundary between various types of land uses.  The golf course is earmarked as open space by other agencies, e.g., NIPC open space plan and Lake County open space plan.
  • Golf course land must be identified as build-able or non-build-able.  No building can be allowed on non-build-able land.

February 4, 2013 Buffalo Grove Village Board meeting

Comments regarding the February 4, 2013 BG Village Board meeting, by Leon Gopon
Nothing was said about the Downtown BG proposal or the golf course at the 2/4/13 BG Village Board meeting.
Other noteworthy comments were:
Buffalo Grove has been noted as the 35th safest city in the U.S.  and second safest city in Illinois.
March 7, 2013 will be the 55th anniversary of BG.  There will be an open house in the Village Hall on 3/4/13 to celebrate.
As a result of the consolidation and changeover of electricity distribution to INTEGRYS, BG customers have saved a total of almost $2 million in the past 6 months (that’s about $321,000 per month).
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