Citing the overall good of the community, the Buffalo Grove village board this week moved the Weiland Road-Lake-Cook Road improvement project to its next phase, despite a handful of citizens who object to the proposal and the reservations of a couple of board members.
The project sanctioned by trustees calls for widening Weiland to four lanes and the construction of a connector road between Weiland and Prairie Road north of Aptakisic Road.
It also includes widening Lake-Cook Road from four lanes to six lanes between Hastings Lane to Raupp Boulevard.
Now that the project, estimated to cost as much as $100 million, has moved beyond its initial phase, which included public comment, Village Engineer Darren Monico said the next step is Lake County's hands. That includes the engineering design phase, which will delve more into the hard numbers and details such as the new road's distance from existing properties. That phase, he said, will take about two years.
The vote by the trustees was nearly unanimous, with Trustee Andrew Stein casting what he called a "protest vote" against the process. Trustee Beverly Sussman voiced her objections to the proposed connector -- which could force the removal of as many as seven homes -- before deciding to vote with the majority.
Stein said he would have liked to have seen more public discussion about another option, which has been called "P2." Instead of the Prairie Road connector, which extends Weiland north of Aptakisic Road, P2 would involve widening Aptakisic, with Weiland continuing to dead end at Aptakisic.
"In the materials that were available prior to the (public) meeting in October, there was an option entitled P2, that I would have liked to have seen more public discussion about. And we didn't have it," he said.
Sussman said the Prairie Road connector will be viewed as an alternative by people who wish to avoid traffic on Lake-Cook Road.
"I think there will be more congestion. If you build it they will come," she said. "This is a very hard vote, because I do feel it is a road to nowhere."
Trustee Steven Trilling openly disagreed with both Stein and Sussman.
"I live off of Weiland Road," he said. "I'm affected just like everybody else who lives near Weiland Road. I believe that turning left on Aptakisic is the worst scenario that we could ever have."
Sussman said he decision to vote with the majority in spite of her reservations comes down to finances. The costs of the plan forwarded this week would be covered almost entirely by federal and county funding. Alternate plans would cost Buffalo Grove anywhere from $26 to $44 million, which would require the village to issue bonds and increase taxes to repay them.
"It comes down to the following: I could not ask the residents of Buffalo Grove to pay ($121.30 in additional taxes a year) for 18 years, if the road was not done for us," she said.
Residents who had one last chance to speak registered a variety of concerns.
Jamie Topolski said he is concerned about the safety of children.
"It is going to be a significantly wider road along which we have three parks and two schools," he said. "Kids do need to get back and forth to those."
"It will destroy the residential nature of our neighborhood," added Jack Schneiderman, who lives on Newtown Drive. "Weiland can be crowded at peak times. Most of the time it's OK. I think the four lanes will make this a nightmare."
Trustee Lester Ottenheimer III said he was satisfied that the village did its due diligence and heard from everyone who had a concern.
"There will never be a time that I can conceive of when the whole board makes a decision that doesn't affect somebody or the other," he said.