Opponents to the proposed construction of an 800,000-square-foot shopping center in southwestern Lake County vastly outnumbered supporters Wednesday at the latest public meeting about the plan.
In fact, of the dozens of people who addressed the Lake County regional planning commission during the first few hours of its meeting at Concord Banquets in Kildeer, only one was a fan of the concept, and he was heckled for his comments.
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The others all criticized the proposal, which focuses on the Dimucci family's land on the southeast corner of Rand and Old McHenry roads near Hawthorn Woods. The family wants the Lake County Board to rezone the property to allow a commercial development.
Most of Wednesday's speakers -- including nearby residents, village officials and attorneys -- complained about potential traffic congestion, fretted about flooding and criticized the private talks that led to the development of the plan before it was unveiled early this year.
"I can't help but feeling this has already been signed, sealed and delivered," Hawthorn Woods resident Jeff Slagter said. "Why was so much done without public input or knowledge earlier?"
Traffic was a particular concern for Barrington-area resident David Dier.
"Both Rand Road and Old McHenry Road are frequently gridlocked during rush hour," he said.
A few minutes later, when North Barrington resident Matt Pouga supported the plan and said he has no trouble driving through that area, audience members laughed at him and shouted derisive comments.
Pouga called the plan "high class" and compared the designs to the Deer Park shopping center not far away on Rand Road.
North Barrington resident Bob Tate referenced the Deer Park mall when he later spoke against the plan.
"Why do we need another mall?" Tate said. "We're three-quarters of a mile from Deer Park."
Wednesday's meeting was set up solely so the planning commission, which advises the Lake County Board, could hear public comment about the plan. The group's members didn't respond to the comments, nor did they debate the plan.
That debate is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, June 25, at the banquet hall.
You can learn about the plan at the Lake County website, lakecountyil.gov.