Fittest loser
Article updated: 10/4/2013 11:20 AM

Pingree Grove wants to sell land to forest preserve

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Pingree Grove is in negotiations to sell nearly 55 acres off Route 20 to the Forest Preserve District of Kane County.

The village board voted 4-3 on Thursday to give preliminary approval to a draft purchase agreement stating the forest preserve would pay $13,500 per acre, or nearly $741,000.

Trustees Bob Spieker, Brian Paszkiewicz and Chuck Pearson voted against the plan.

The so-called Harrison property, located east of route 47, is being leased to a farmer. It was donated to the village around 2006 or 2007, and is part of a tax-increment financing district created in 2008, Village Attorney Dean Frieders said.

Business owner John Lambie expressed interest in developing on the property, but his plans were too vague, several board members said. Lambie owns Gilberts Guns in Gilberts.

Frieders said Lambie's plan has no budget and an unrealistic timeline.

"This whole thing is not a plan of any kind," Trustee Bernie Thomas said.

Trustee Wiedmeyer said Lambie's plan was a good idea, but very premature.

Lambie was under the impression the village would give him the property and also extend water and sewer service there, Village President Greg Marson said.

Trustee Bob Spieker said he approached Lambie about possibly developing the property but made no promises.

"I brought a potential developer to the village. That's all I've done," he said.

Lambie did not attend the meeting and was not immediately available for comment.

Spieker advocated waiting to see if any other developers are interested in the land. "The village has not invested any time in marketing the property."

The land includes about 19.5 acres of unbuildable land, much of it wetland, Village Engineer David Burroughs said. Extending water and sewer would have cost $260,000 to $312,000, he said.

Trustee Ray LaMarca advocated selling the land and saving the money for future projects.

Selling to the forest preserve would improve the quality of the area, Marston said. "A lot of us moved out here to have dark skies at night."

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