Pulte home plan for Cuneo property goes to public hearing

  • Pulte Homes is proposing a 128-home private, gated community on a portion of the former Cuneo property in Vernon Hills that was gifted to Loyola University Chicago.

    Pulte Homes is proposing a 128-home private, gated community on a portion of the former Cuneo property in Vernon Hills that was gifted to Loyola University Chicago. Courtesy of Loyola University Chicago

  • Neighbors near the Cuneo Mansion and Gardens are concerned about a plan to funnel traffic exiting the Loyola campus onto Museum Drive.

      Neighbors near the Cuneo Mansion and Gardens are concerned about a plan to funnel traffic exiting the Loyola campus onto Museum Drive. Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 11/7/2016 5:07 PM

Neighbors are expected to raise concerns about traffic during a discussion Wednesday on the long-envisioned housing plan at the former Cuneo estate in Vernon Hills.

But it isn't the proposal for The Residences at Cuneo Mansion and Gardens adjacent to the Cuneo Mansion and Gardens that has their attention. Instead, it is Loyola University Chicago's intent to build a 72-space parking lot west of the mansion and funnel exiting traffic onto Museum Drive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"That has caused a lot of contention from surrounding property owners," Assistant Village Manager Joe Carey said.

The village's planning and zoning commission will consider requests from Pulte Home Corporation to change the zoning from multifamily to single-family and other approvals during a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. at the village hall, 290 Evergreen Drive.

More than 200 residents from various neighborhood associations have signed a petition regarding the plan by Loyola to use Museum Drive as an exit from their campus on the property, and are expected to ask if there is an alternative.

"We're not really concerned with 128 single-family homes. Our concerns is they're building a road they're calling an egress onto Museum Drive," said Andrea Dolgin, president of the Baytree Condo Association. "It's like the Grand Prix now."

Pulte has long been in discussion with Loyola and the village regarding a neighborhood of single-family houses on about 53 acres of the 93-acre property acquired by Loyola in 2010 as a gift from the Cuneo family. Loyola has said the sale to Pulte would provide $3 million for repairs and upgrades to the century-old mansion, which for years was open to the public as a museum.

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Pulte made an initial presentation to the village board a year ago. The plan for the private, gated community nestled into the woods has been revised to address village board concerns about architectural features and other issues.

The residential development will consist of a private roadway network with entry and exit from an existing traffic signal on Milwaukee Avenue (Route 21), and controlled by an electronic gate. Students and visitors now enter the mansion property further south on Milwaukee Avenue, but the housing plan would eliminate that option.

"We're not fighting the planned homes," Dolgin said. "We truly don't understand why if they can come in on (Route) 21, they can't exit that way?"

Carey said an old bridge over a creek on that route limits traffic and could create a hazard. Plan commissioners may call for a revised plan or additional research on traffic options, and a second meeting is expected, Carey said.

@dhmickzawislak

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