Discussion of a controversial concept plan for commercial development on unincorporated land at Route 12 and Old McHenry Road in southwest Lake County is about to resume as the first step toward an official decision.
Whether the development of up to 53 acres of the 109-acre Dimucci property will proceed ultimately will be determined by the Lake County Board. However, that point isn't expected for several months and, even if approved, construction of any buildings could be years away.
Meanwhile, the lengthy path to determine what can or can't be done begins at 5 p.m. Thursday at Concord Banquets, 20922 N. Rand Road, Kildeer, as the Lake County Regional Planning Commission (RPC) holds the first of three public meetings.
"This is the first formal stage of the process. The regional plan commission stage is one of several we'll be going through," said Eric Waggoner, director of the Lake County Planning Building and Development Department.
An RPC meeting on the topic in February was postponed after an overflow crowd couldn't be accommodated at the Ela Area Public Library.
Once the RPC makes a recommendation, a series of public hearings will be scheduled before the Zoning Board of Appeals. A recommendation will be forwarded to the county board's planning, building and zoning committee for consideration before the full board decides on a preliminary development plan, according to Waggoner.
"This stage that we're at is sort of the preliminary stage," he said. "We have quite a ways to go."
All steps include an opportunity for public input, he added, and any final plan, if approved, would involve specific details and likely would be subject to various conditions.
Up to 4½ hours are blocked off for the first RPC meeting, which is scheduled to include a presentation by the property owners and Waggoner's department, followed by public comment. A second session June 20 will focus on public comment, and the commission is expected to deliberate June 25.
The concept plan includes 61 pages of design conditions that address the site layout, architecture and other measures and hasn't changed since a series of informal open houses earlier this year, Waggoner said.
The Dimucci family has submitted an application to develop the 109-acre parcel on the southeast corner, the same location of a proposed shopping mall in the late 1990s. That plan eventually was abandoned.
Owners want to rezone the site from a residential to general commercial use and seek approval of a planned unit development to allow up to 53 acres of "high-quality" commercial uses. The remaining land would be open space.
Opponents include the 9-member Barrington Area Council of Governments, which says use of the property should be governed by a 1999 agreement between Hawthorn Woods and North Barrington.
"The impact of the development will be local and the (agreement) should be honored, and it should be controlled by municipalities," said Janet Agnoletti, BACOG's executive director.
The group is concerned about the impact of an 800,000-square-foot shopping center.
Waggoner said the county has the responsibility to review applications in the unincorporated area.
Libertyville Attorney Mark C. Eiden said the proposed zoning could allow for other uses.
"It is not known exactly what the composition of the development will be," he said. "It's not accurate to assume it will be all retail and maxed out at 800,000 square feet."