Waukegan is entertaining plans for a 155-unit townhouse development on the city's far west side in Libertyville Township that's drawing concern from nearby residents.
If built, the project near River Road and Route 120 would be within the boundaries of Woodland Elementary District 50 and Warren Township High School District 121, both based in Gurnee.
River, which runs between routes 120 and 137, is a scenic country road abutted by exclusive subdivisions such as Nickels and Dimes, Huntington Lake and Daybreak Farms. That area of Waukegan is on the edge of Gurnee and the Independence Grove Forest Preserve in Libertyville Township.
Libertyville developer Mark Loeb is behind the proposal for 22 acres that may go before the advisory Waukegan Planning and Zoning Commission for consideration as soon as August. The Waukegan city council would get the final word on the development.
Russ Tomlin, director of Waukegan's planning and zoning department, said many questions persist about the project. He said the concerns include traffic that would be generated from the multifamily development and how trails and streets in the general area would be tied together.
"Like many parts of Waukegan, the River Road area is a gem and its integrity should be reasonably preserved," Tomlin said. "That's not to say a townhouse development absolutely can't work, but it will take a better understanding of the larger picture to determine how that might happen."
Suzanne McDonald, who lives near where the townhouses would be constructed, said at least 100 residents have signed a petition against the proposal and intend to attend the Waukegan Planning and Zoning Commission meeting next month.
McDonald said Friday the expectation of additional traffic on a rural road, more children for the schools and a potentially negative effect on property values are among the residents' concerns about the proposal.
Tomlin said Loeb must commission an updated traffic study for the River Road-Route 120 area. Loeb couldn't be reached for comment.
"While a single-family attached development may be conceptually appropriate for this (22-acre) site, it's fair for the River Road residents to wonder how the development of this site would fit into the larger area, given that there is a substantial amount of vacant property in the area," Tomlin said.