2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,600 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


History/Purpose of Save Buffalo Grove – 10/06/2014

In August, 2012 a developer (CRM Properties Group Ltd, 740 Waukegan Road Suite 400, Deerfield, IL 60015, 847-948-6500, Chuck Malk President, cmalk@crmproperties.com) proposed to the Buffalo Grove Village Board that the Village sell the Buffalo Grove Golf Course to his company 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, Public Works and Police Department buildings would be demolished and new buildings would be relocated elsewhere (possibly along Old Checker Road).
The Save Buffalo Grove group is not in favor of converting open space into a downtown and has been voicing its opinion in this manner to the Village Board since 2012.

The mission of Save Buffalo Grove is to formalize actions against having a downtown Buffalo Grove built on the Buffalo Grove Golf Course, provide public education on the issue, raise and distribute funds, provide accurate record-keeping of activities and provide checks and balances for these activities. The Save Buffalo Grove Steering Committee consists of Brian Costin, Leon Gopon, Barbara Monsen, Dan Petersen, Bruce Rehberger, David Weidenfeld and Marilyn Weisberg. Information on the downtown proposal and Save Buffalo Grove comments can be found on the savebuffalogrove.com website.

The Save Buffalo Grove Steering Committee:
Is in regular contact with the Village Board and Village Manager
Has representatives attending Village Board meetings
Has submitted a FOIA request to obtain information on Village activities regarding the downtown proposal which was denied by the Village
Is mounting a petition drive to request that any approval to sell the Golf Course be done through a binding Village referendum
Continues to hold public education meetings on downtown proposal activities
Collects funds to provide information to the residents regarding our position against the downtown proposal
Will find and support Trustee candidates with our mindset on the downtown project proposal for election

The Save Buffalo Grove Steering Committee maintains a growing mailing list of over 500 supporters and has about 700 signatures on petitions to hold a binding referendum for the sale of the Golf Course.
As of today no formal approval has been given to the developer to build the downtown. The Village Board spent $79,000 in residents’ tax money to have an outside engineering firm (Burke) do a building and feasibility survey of the Golf Course completed. The factual information provide noted a modified downtown proposal can actually be done on 58.5 acres if $21 million is spent to remediate the land to handle stormwater by raising the area to be built on by 2.5 feet and moving the Farrington Ditch.

Any resident should feel free to express his or her opinion on the downtown proposal to the Buffalo Grove Village Board via email at villageboard@vbg.org.

Strong opposition by Oakwood Hills residents prompt withdrawal of plans for power plant

OAKWOOD HILLS, Ill. — The developers of a plan to build a gas-fired power plant in the northern Illinois village of Oakwood Hills have withdrawn their proposal, ending a project that drew strong opposition by residents, officials said Wednesday (9/24/14).

Enventure Partners and Northland Power, a Canadian company, were hoping to build a 430-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant that would supply electricity to 160,000 households. The developer’s decision not to build came after the resignations of Village President Melanie Funk, Village Attorney John Cowlin and Trustee Beth Gorr.

Chris Reining, a leader of the opposition, said the proposal’s sudden demise was a surprise. The opposition group surveyed the village’s approximately 2,000 residents, and nearly “900 people were against it,” he said. “Through the hard work and dedication of hundreds of people showing up at events; fundraising; canvassing neighborhoods; coordinating with elected officials and legal counsel; conducting research and a myriad of other tasks focused on this common goal,” Reining said, adding opponents are thrilled by the victory.

Oakwood Hills is located in McHenry County near routes 176 and 47.

If you’d like to get a lawn sign

If you’d like to get a lawn sign please send an email to goponls@earthlink.net.  Include your name and address.  We are asking for a $10  (or more) donation for each sign.  We use the money to buy more signs.  As of 10/15/14 we have distributed over 165 signs. Thank you for your support.

Village Manager Comments on Previous Posting of Enginering Report on 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…  This version has comments in red sent to me by the Village Manager which modify some of the original information.  Six comments basically say ‘there has been no decision” or “we don’t know/don’t have” information.  One comment says keeping a 9-hole golf course is improbable.

Send Letters and Emails to the Trustees at villageboard@vbg.org.

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


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. above the base flood elevation.

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. While a development team is contemplated, no decisions have been made as to the makeup of the team. This item will be discussed with the Board if a revised concept is presented by CRM Properties.

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. Now the “Planning & Zoning Commission.”

The concept development timeline is about 12 months. We don’t know if this timeline is accurate as we do not have a revised concept.

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.) Some of the different time frames relate to the original assumptions vs. the results of the floodplain study. Three years was the original projection.

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. While this was contemplated in 2012, I would speculate that the results of the floodplain study render the use of the remainder of the golf course property for a 9-hole course improbable.

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.). That is the plan, although without a revised concept we don’t know.

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. We are unsure if the Park District would want to move forward with replacing the former Beth Am property, but welcome them as a partner in the project.

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. At this point, we have no way of knowing any financial arrangements. Until a revised concept is known, a pro-forma cash flow on the development cannot be evaluated.

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. I believe you are referring to the 2012 drawings provided by CRM Properties. With the results of the floodplain study, these concept drawings could not be developed as shown in 2012.

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. None of these elements are known or even speculated at this point.

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.) Costs are unknown at this time. Again, we have no way of evaluating a pro-forma cash flow absent a revised concept plan.

A complex and substantial underground compensatory and flood control infrastructure is needed to manage stormwater. The floodplain study provides for all comp storage and stormwater detention to be provided “at-grade.” Underground storage is not contemplated at this time.

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. Again, we do not have any projected sales, tax or timeline figures to consider absent a revised concept plan. 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. The Farrington Ditch could be relocated, depending on a preferred development concept advancing.

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

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:


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

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


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.