Planning for a small residential subdivision on the west side of Butterfield Road in Libertyville will proceed, but village officials made it clear that saving trees is a priority.
Whether a developer guarantees to fix any future flooding that impacts neighbors is another issue to be addressed before officials grant final approval the proposed North Pointe Estates.
Mount Prospect developer Paul Swanson wants to build 15 homes on a 7.6-acre triangular property bordered by Butterfield Road, the North Shore bike path just south of Route 176 and Victory Drive.
Originated last fall, the proposal has been reviewed at four public hearings and at one point was recommended for denial by Libertyville's advisory plan commission.
Swanson proceeded to the village board, but the plan was sent back to the advisory group for revisions. Among them was dedicating a wooded area at the tip of the triangle furthest from Butterfield Road as open space. The area would be maintained by a homeowner association, but the village also wants it available to residents living outside the subdivision.
A main issue for village officials, however, is how many trees would be removed. Stung by a near clear-cut of trees for another proposed development along Butterfield to the north, village officials this time want to save every tree possible.
Besides the park area, Swanson identified eight trees to be protected and preserved. The others are considered undesirable or potentially hazardous, according to the developer.
"This is the same rhetoric we heard on the cleared space over (at the other development) and what we end up with is everything is plowed down," said Trustee Donna Johnson.
Another proposed condition of Swanson's preliminary approval calls for saving mature trees along property lines "whenever possible."
"That's what we were told in the other subdivision, 'wherever possible,' and look what we got," said Mayor Terry Weppler. "I want to know which trees are going to be saved."
That phrase was deleted. In its place was a condition adding additional trees to the eight the developer promised to save.
"We know there are going to be some mature trees taken down, there's no question they're going to," Weppler said. "Our goal is to save every one that we can."
After more than an hour of discussion this past Tuesday, the village board approved the preliminary plat by a 4-2 vote. That allows detailed engineering and other work to proceed. Final approval will require another hearing before the plan commission and a vote by the village board.
"This alone does not give them the right or privilege to do whatever they want," said Trustee Rich Moras.