Lake County officials will host the first of three open houses about a controversial development plan near Hawthorn Woods on Saturday morning.
The proposal concerns nearly 109 acres on the southeast corner of Rand and Old McHenry roads. Owned by members of the Dimucci family, it's the same land that was the focus of a heated legal fight over an ultimately abandoned plan for a shopping mall in the 1990s.
The new plan calls for a retail center, too. The land now is zoned for residential use.
The first open house will run from 9 a.m. to noon at Concorde Banquets, 20922 N. Rand Road, Kildeer.
Additional open houses are set for Wednesday, March 21, and Tuesday, March 27, at the banquet center. Those will run from 5 to 8 p.m.
The events are designed to give the public "a broad amount of information about the project," said Eric Waggoner, the county's planning director. They will feature a short video about the proposal and stations providing details about the plan and the approval process, he said.
Much of that information already is available on the county's website at lakecountyil.gov/dimucciproperty.
The Dimucci family has its own website about the plan, too: rdimucciproperty.com
County staffers will attend each of the sessions to answer questions and take feedback.
The Dimuccis have proposed changing the zoning rules to allow for a shopping center on 53 acres of the property. A developer is not attached to the project yet.
Municipal leaders from the neighboring towns of North Barrington and Hawthorn Woods oppose the plan, saying it violates a long-standing agreement over the land.
Additionally, concerned residents have complained about the potential impact a shopping center there would have on traffic congestion and property values.
The Lake County Regional Planning Commission, a group that advises the county board on land matters, held a public meeting on the proposal early last month at the Ela Area Public Library in Lake Zurich. However, the meeting was cut short because the room was not large enough to seat all the people who wanted to listen to the discussion.
The meeting has not yet been rescheduled.
Waggoner said he wasn't surprised by the controversy the proposal has created.
"Anytime you have a significant development ... (it's) going to generate some questions," he said.