A land use, boundary and zoning study underway in Prospect Heights is focusing on three areas of the city with development potential, including the Allstate property that's the site of an apartment proposal narrowly rejected by city leaders.
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning gave the city a $100,000 grant for the study, which is being conducted by Chicago-based planning consultant Solomon Cordwell Buenz.
"We can't do everything. Let's focus on the downtown (Route 83 and Camp McDonald Road), the 30 acres Allstate owns on Sanders Road and the area around the train station (55 S. Wolf Road)," Mayor Nick Helmer said. "We have to know what we have before we can figure what to do."
Last week the council increased the firm's scope of work on Allstate's site at 2700 Sanders Road, south of Palatine/Willow roads. Earlier this year, aldermen rejected a proposed zoning change that would have allowed the Finger Companies of Houston to build 350 apartments on eight of the 30 acres, which was once occupied by HBSC.
Helmer is hopeful that after the study is complete aldermen will be more amenable to the zoning change,
Alderman Patrick Ludvigsen of the 4th Ward, one of the council members who voted against the rezoning, said he appreciates the study but will need more information about the Allstate site and its future before reconsidering.
"I've always been willing to do the apartment project, but I want it done with the rest of that property with some part of it being multifamily," he said. "I want it part of an overall plan. I need there to be an overall agreement like any other large parcel. Once it's approved as a planned unit development, what goes where and how it looks, they could sell it off piece by piece."
Ludvigsen wants to avoid what he considers ugly, ineffective building projects that were constructed before the area was incorporated into Prospect Heights.
While Allstate agreed to sell the land for the apartments, the company wants to keep some of the area for its own future use, city officials have said.
Helmer said it is important to find out exactly where the city's boundaries are in the Sanders Road area. For example, he said, there's a two-acre parcel in the area that he thought the city owned, but when the city went to put up a sign there welcoming people to Prospect Heights they learned the property belongs to the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.