Despite resident concerns, Mount Prospect annexes Birch Manor complex
Mount Prospect trustees voted Wednesday to annex the last unincorporated parcel in and around the United Airlines property, despite concerns from residents living in the newly absorbed land.
With the village board's unanimous decision, 18 acres at the northwest corner of Dempster Street and Linneman Avenue becomes part of Mount Prospect. That includes the 288-unit Birch Manor condominium complex, which consists of eight 36-unit buildings.
At previous board meetings, some of the complex's residents voiced apprehension about the annexation, citing concerns over higher taxes, fire service and public safety.
Village Manager Michael Cassady said a letter was sent to the residents spelling out all the potential impacts of annexation. After the letter was sent, the village did not hear back from any residents, he said.
Although the vote to annex was unanimous, concerns about fire alarms in the complex still exist. State law mandates fire alarms with pulls and interconnected smoke detectors -- something the complex is still without.
Cassady said the village will work with the Birch Manor association to make the transition. He previously indicated the village would explore using Community Development Block Grant revenues to help offset those costs.
Village Trustee Paul Hoefert also raised the issue of gas grills on decks and balconies, which the complex has allowed, but is barred under village code.
"If we are not enforcing our own code, that concerns me," he said.
"(It) concerns me because of life safety issues and because allowing them is not fair to other multifamily buildings," Trustee Colleen Saccotelli added.
Cassady said the village will work with the complex board to ensure its insurance covers any claims related to grills. He characterized the issue as "legal, nonconforming," meaning that it could be allowed after the annexation because the use previously was established when the complex was in unincorporated Cook County.
"This is not a precedent, but what distinguishes it is the loss of life potential," Mayor Arlene Juracek said.
The annexation will hike property taxes for the complex's residents. In January, village Community Development Director William Cooney said residents likely would see a 7 percent property tax increase, amounting to $55 on average.