District 220 intends to join lawsuit against Hoffman Estates

Barrington Unit District 220 will seek to intervene on the side of a group of South Barrington homeowners in a lawsuit against Hoffman Estates and a developer to stop the controversial Plum Farms proposal at the northwest corner of routes 59 and 72.

The District 220 school board Monday directed its attorneys to file a petition seeking permission from the judge in the case to do so.

"I think our presence on the lawsuit hopefully will give us a stronger voice in what we hope is a diplomatic solution," District 220 board President Brian Battle said.

He added the district's position from the start has been to work with Hoffman Estates and the developer to carve out some parameters that responsibly address the effects new houses will have on schools.

"All the requirements that are in the zoning ordinance are very loose," Battle complained.

The Hoffman Estates annexation agreement approved in the spring allows for 1,250 dwelling units of various types, though the developer's most recently announced plans call for 1,035 units.

But District 220 opposes even the smaller number of units. School officials' concerns about the density remained even after the village addressed some of them by requiring a minimum 5.5-acre school site donation from the developer.

The suit specifically seeks an injunction to prevent construction on a 145-acre section of the total 185-acre site where about 546 single-family houses could be built.

Battle said District 220 has calculated such a development could generate about 719 to 862 new students.

Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod said he hadn't read District 220's petition to comment on it, but added that all parties have come up with different calculations of how many students the development could create using various criteria and housing types.

The lawsuit was filed in late July by more than 30 residents of the Regency at the Woods of South Barrington, an age-restricted retirement community across Route 59 from the development site.

Attorney Thomas Burney, who represents the homeowners, said his clients welcome District 220's intervention, and their suit already includes an affidavit from Superintendent Brian Harris as evidence.

Apart from Hoffman Estates, the defendants are the development firms of Golden Goose Enterprises LLC and 5a7 LLC. Anthony Iatarola, managing partner of the development partnership, declined to comment Wednesday.

Burney said the most recent action in the suit was the developers' motion to dismiss on the basis that a specific development proposal hasn't yet been filed. But he will respond that the zoning agreement approved this spring and the density it allows are sufficient grounds for the lawsuit.

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