Protests persist after towns reach Dimucci mall deal
Lake County and municipal officials have reached a tentative deal that could pave the way for a shopping center on the Dimucci family's vacant property near Hawthorn Woods shown here in the background.
Paul Valade | Staff Photographer
Hearings on a controversial commercial proposal along Rand Road between North Barrington and Hawthorn Woods continued Thursday — though protesters were asked to ignore that the two villages they'd considered their allies had recently reached a compromise on what can go there.
The mayors of North Barrington and Hawthorn Woods announced last week that they had reached a tentative deal with two Lake County board members over what the county would agree to.
But after they formally put that on the record at the Lake County Zoning Board of Appeals hearing Thursday, anyone wishing to cross-examine the Dimucci family, who owns the site, was confined by process to discussing only the original proposal.
Nevertheless, members of the public continued to protest even the revised plan and the closed-door process by which it was reached. They argued that the compromise still exceeds what's allowed by a 2002 agreement between the two villages.
Former North Barrington Trustee Scott Payne told the zoning board he'd once led the charge for his village to give up 100 percent of the sales tax revenue from a regional shopping mall proposal on that site because it was the right thing to do.
Until now, Payne said, he'd never regretted that decision. But the county's consideration of its own deal was now making that decision look wrong, he said.
The revised plan for the 109-acre property at Rand and Old McHenry roads reduces the potential size of a commercial development there from 800,000 to 650,000 square feet.
The tentative deal also adds more detail to the site layout, limits parking structures to two stories and adheres to the existing agreement between the two villages in banning such uses as hospitals, adult entertainment and boat or car dealerships, among others.
Hawthorn Woods Mayor Joseph Mancino explained why he and North Barrington Mayor Al Pino considered the compromise they'd reached with Lake County board members Stevenson Mountsier and Craig Taylor a success.
"We weren't fighting the development in general. We were fighting for a seat at the planning table," Mancino said.
He and Pino had been among the loudest voices against the Dimuccis' original plan. But they said they supported the family's right to a reasonably sized development on the property that would not overwhelm the region.
The county zoning board's hearings will continue at 5 p.m. on both Tuesday, Sept. 11 and Thursday, Sept. 13 at Concorde Banquets at 20922 N. Rand Road in Kildeer.
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