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updated: 6/15/2012 9:53 PM

Lake County mall plan comes up again next week

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  • People concerned about the proposed construction of a shopping center near Hawthorn Woods can share their opinions at a public meeting Wednesday.

       People concerned about the proposed construction of a shopping center near Hawthorn Woods can share their opinions at a public meeting Wednesday.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 

People concerned about the proposed construction of am 800,000-square-foot shopping center in southwestern Lake County will get another chance to state their opposition at a public meeting Wednesday.

The plan for the land known as the Dimucci property -- named after the family that's owned it for decades -- has met with considerable hostility since it surfaced this past winter.

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Much of that anger has been aimed at the Lake County Regional Planning Commission, a group that advises the county board on land matters and has met a few times to discuss the plan.

The group will host another gathering on the shopping center at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Concord Banquets, 20922 N. Rand Road, Kildeer. A follow-up meeting is planned for Monday, June 25, at the banquet hall, also at 5 p.m.

The goal of next week's meeting is to allow more public comment on the plan. At the June 25 meeting, the commission will debate the plan.

The 109-acre site is at the southeast corner of Rand and Old McHenry roads near Hawthorn Woods. Members of the Dimucci family have proposed building a shopping center on 53 acres of the land.

The rest would remain open space.

For the project to happen, the land must be rezoned to allow a commercial development. It's reserved for residential use now.

Representatives of the local governments in North Barrington and Hawthorn Woods oppose the plan, saying it violates an agreement between the two towns that was struck after a different plan for a shopping mall there was rejected 16 years ago.

Plenty of residents have opposed it too. So many people showed up for the first Regional Planning Commission discussion of the proposal in February, there wasn't enough space in the room for them and the session had to be canceled.

Planning commission member Larry Falbe wasn't surprised by the big crowd at that meeting or the interest in the project.

"Any time you have a development of this magnitude proposed, people are going to be concerned," said Falbe, of Mettawa.

Falbe, a former Mettawa trustee, compared the project and the resulting hubbub to the talks that led to the construction of a Costco warehouse store in his town a few years ago.

"People want to have a voice in what's going on in their community," he said.

Mark Eider, an attorney representing the Dimuccis, said he hopes the presentation he and his clients made at the last plan commission meeting lessened some public concerns. He didn't sound optimistic about winning too many of them over to his point of view, however.

"The emotions seem to be running high on this matter," Eider said.

The proposed zoning change has been endorsed by Lake County planning department staffers.

The county's zoning board of appeals would discuss the issue next, likely in July, county planning Director Eric Waggoner said.

The county board's planning committee could review the proposal in August, Waggoner said, and the full board could vote on the plan in the fall.

"There's a lot of complicated issues that are going to have to be considered," Waggoner said.

Anyone who can't attend the upcoming meetings at Concord Banquets is encouraged to submit their opinions on the plan by sending an email to ptierney@lakecountyil.gov.

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