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updated: 5/9/2014 12:54 PM

Plan for homes instead of offices gets cold shoulder in Buffalo Grove

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  • A developer's proposal to build homes rather than offices on this land at Chevy Chase Drive and Milwaukee Avenue in Buffalo Grove met a cool reception from the village board.

       A developer's proposal to build homes rather than offices on this land at Chevy Chase Drive and Milwaukee Avenue in Buffalo Grove met a cool reception from the village board.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • A developer's proposal to build homes rather than offices on this land at Chevy Chase Drive and Milwaukee Avenue in Buffalo Grove met a cool reception from the village board.

       A developer's proposal to build homes rather than offices on this land at Chevy Chase Drive and Milwaukee Avenue in Buffalo Grove met a cool reception from the village board.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • A developer's proposal to build homes rather than offices on this land at Chevy Chase Drive and Milwaukee Avenue in Buffalo Grove met a cool reception from the village board.

       A developer's proposal to build homes rather than offices on this land at Chevy Chase Drive and Milwaukee Avenue in Buffalo Grove met a cool reception from the village board.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

 

Buffalo Grove trustees this week gave a cold reception to a property owner's proposal for new single-family homes on Milwaukee Avenue.

The village board would prefer that the property adhere to the village's comprehensive plan, which calls for office use.

Bill Johnson approached the board for a pre-application conference, which is a way of feeling out the board's willingness to refer a proposal to the plan commission.

Johnson owns six parcels on the west side of Milwaukee Avenue between Chevy Chase Drive and Prague Avenue. He has an existing building at 7 Chevy Chase Drive, which he uses as an office and where, he said, he raised his children. He wants to merge that with an adjoining parcel.

He wants to combine four other parcels on Prague Avenue into two residential lots. The proposal also calls for the village to vacate an alley.

Johnson told the board the office market simply is not there.

"The reason that I'm opposed basically to office is simply that there is an over glut of office in this area and has been for a good while," he said. "The taxes on the property are expensive. They run in the range of about $20,000 a year."

While not unsympathetic, the board was not inclined to capitulate, although some members were willing to have the plan commission look at it.

Trustee Jeffrey Berman said, "I understand the point you're making about commercial/office space."

But he said that the comprehensive planning process recognized that the lots are a natural and obvious buffer between Milwaukee Avenue -- which is only growing in intensity and traffic and will likely be expanded -- and residential properties to the west.

"The fact that it might make it beneficial to you doesn't necessarily translate in my mind to good planning," he said.

Trustee Andrew Stein said he was concerned that one of the lots, which belongs to a subdivision that goes back to the late 1930s/early 1940s, might have once contained a gas station.

Trustee Lester Ottenheimer III, who served for a long time on the plan commission said the commission takes the comprehensive plan very seriously.

Village President Jeffrey Braiman said he would prefer the area remain a potential site of office or commercial use.

"It's too valuable of an area to lose any potential commercial benefit," he said.

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