Kane County on verge of final Longmeadow Parkway land purchases
By this time next week, Kane County officials will either own or have the power to own 100 percent of the land needed to build the Longmeadow Parkway.
Members of the county board's executive committee Wednesday unanimously supported a list of nearly 20 properties targeted for possible quick take. A final vote next Tuesday will give county transportation division staff members the ability to request quick take powers for the property through the Illinois General Assembly.
Quick take is similar to eminent domain but, if granted, the county would receive ownership to the land in question immediately upon asking a judge to determine a fair purchase price.
The list of quick take properties will combine with the purchase of a privately owned portion of Autumn Trail Road in Barrington Hills. There's also a sliver of Autumn Trail on the quick take list. Those deals have particular significance because Barrington Hills officials recently met with KDOT to express their ongoing opposition to the 5.6-mile parkway and pending toll bridge.
At that meeting, KDOT officials confirmed, the village shared its view that Autumn Trail Road is privately owned and not controlled by the village. Even though Barrington Hills opposes the project, public control of the needed right of way would make the county's move to gain ownership easier.
"We agreed to disagree on who controls that road," said Carl Schoedel, the county's director of transportation.
Schoedel said the county board's vote on the quick take and private land purchase would remove any potential obstacle created by the dispute with Barrington Hills.
Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin did not immediately respond to an interview request.
An audio recording of the most recent Barrington Hills village board meeting showed village officials also logged a vote against the Longmeadow Parkway with the McHenry County Council of Government. Village officials said they are "consistently and constantly" rejecting the project at every opportunity, and they will send a letter to IDOT emphasizing the village's stand. IDOT is working with the county on the acquisition of right of way for the parkway.
Jarett Sanchez is the lone voice on the county board opposing the project. He said he was not aware of the recent meeting between Barrington Hills and KDOT. However, he pointed to a lawsuit filed by local resident Geoff Petzel as an additional obstacle he hopes can prevent the parkway from moving forward.
Related to that lawsuit, the United States Department of the Interior recently sent a letter to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources rescinding its approval of a land swap between the Kane County Forest Preserve District and Dundee Township's Hickory Hills Park. The deal involves a section now designated as part of the Longmeadow Parkway project area.
Kane County officials said the lawsuit is in its early stages and may take years to resolve. They don't view it as an obstacle to parkway construction starting later this year.