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updated: 6/7/2012 9:40 PM

Residents still angered by Dimucci land plan

Family attorney argues it's better than mall idea

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More information about a controversial proposal for an 800,000-square-foot commercial development between North Barrington and Hawthorn Woods didn't appear to change the minds of area residents and local officials critical of it Thursday night.

But the presentation by the third-generation landowners of the 109-acre property at the southeast corner of Rand and Old McHenry roads was largely aimed at the Lake County Regional Planning Commission, which will consider its recommendation later this month.

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The Dimucci family, which owns the site, and their consultants argued that only 53 acres would be developed, while the rest -- more than half -- would remain open space.

The Dimuccis' attorney, Mark Eiden, pointed out that this was much less intensive than a previous proposal for a 1.2 million-square-foot regional mall by the Taubman Co. in the mid-1990s.

That proposal was ultimately barred by a boundary agreement between North Barrington and Hawthorn Woods in 1999.

But Eiden argued that the two villages' land-use plans, as well as that of the Barrington Area Council of Governments, all call for some amount of commercial development on the site.

"This is a far better deal than you're ever going to see again," Eiden said.

Barrington Village President Karen Darch said the council isn't opposed to commercial development on the land but rather the county's usurping of local control of the decision.

Scott Payne, who had been a North Barrington trustee during the Taubman proposal, said he'd been assured by county officials at that time that they would never consider such a project -- that it was between the two villages to work out.

And that assurance was what led to what he felt was an ironclad boundary agreement.

"It's embarrassing to me, but it should be more embarrassing to you," Payne told the planning commissioners.

North Barrington Village President Al Pino said the municipal sewer his village built in 2009 to address an issue in the nearby Wynstone subdivision is being used by the county to enable the commercial proposal and that the sales tax that would now go entirely to the county.

Eric Waggoner, director of the Lake County Planning, Building and Development Department, said his staff is recommending the proposal after a thorough review.

More public comment will be heard from 5 p.m. to 9:30 June 20 at Concorde Banquets, 20922 N. Rand Road in Kildeer. The regional planning commission will then deliberate at 5 p.m. June 25 at the same location.

Following that, public hearings will be held by the county's zoning board before the proposal reaches members of the county board.

Property: Public can comment again June 20

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