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Article posted: 10/1/2013 5:56 PM

Buffalo Grove opposes Army Corps plan for Didier Farms

Buffalo Grove trustees this week passed a resolution opposing a proposal by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to turn much of the Didier Farms property into a stormwater reservoir. The proposal is part of a plan to reduce Des Plaines River flooding.

Buffalo Grove trustees this week passed a resolution opposing a proposal by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to turn much of the Didier Farms property into a stormwater reservoir. The proposal is part of a plan to reduce Des Plaines River flooding.

 

Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

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Buffalo Grove trustees passed a resolution this week opposing a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' proposal to convert a portion of the historic Didier Farms just north of the village into a reservoir.

The resolution states that the proposal, part of a recently released Army Corps plan to to limit flooding and restore ecosystems along the Des Plaines River, would have a harmful effect on the property and adjoining properties, as well as the character of the community.

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Village Manager Dane Bragg said the area, although unincorporated, is within the village's 1.5-mile planning boundary and has been designated in the village's comprehensive plan as far back as the 1970s for low-density housing, as well as parks, open space and commercial uses.

"This area has been on our radar screen for a long time," he said.

The area under consideration by the Army Corps also includes the nearby Hoffman Property and spans about 93.1 acres bounded by Buffalo Grove Road to the west, Aptakisic Road to the south, Brandywyn Lane to the north and Prairie Road to the east.

The village board already has referred to the plan commission a proposal to develop the Hoffmann property with low-density residential uses.

Under the Army Corps' plan, the site would be excavated to a depth of 4.5 feet, with a berm levee structure around the perimeter of the Didier and Hoffmann properties.

However, an Army Corps official told the Daily Herald last week that the agency will not attempt to seize the property through eminent domain or force the Didier family to sell the property. The Corps does not have eminent domain authority, but could work with a local government -- such as a village -- to pursue condemnation.

Army Corps Project Manager Jeff Zuercher said Tuesday all comments are taken into consideration. While there are other sites where this project can be undertaken, the availability of open land with all the attributes of the Didier property is limited, he said.

Among the guidelines for the project is that every dollar spent must result in at least a dollar saved on future flood damage -- and hopefully much more than that, Zuercher said.

While a study on the area is expected to be completed within the month, even that is not the end of the consideration process for the project, Zuercher said. Among the future steps needed is authorization from Congress.

Bragg said that in discussing the project with the Didier family they said they have no interest in selling the property that's been in the family for more than a century and expect to continue operating the property as a farm stand "for some time."

Officials said the village is working with the Buffalo Grove Park District, Aptakisic-Tripp School District 102 and Lake County to pass similar resolutions opposing the reservoir proposal.

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