Key votes move Woodman's project ahead in Lakemoor
The development of a Woodman's Food Market on 74 acres at a busy Lakemoor intersection took a big step forward this week, village officials say.
In a single, lengthy motion, the village's planning and zoning commission Tuesday set the framework for what is known as Lakemoor Commons Center at the southwest corner of routes 12 and 120.
Various designations, uses and plans approved by the panel will allow for a 240,000-square-foot grocery store, gas station, car wash and lube facility. It's been described as a $40 million investment in the site.
"It's another critical step that is needed to be accomplished to get construction going," said Matt Dabrowski, Lakemoor's director of community and economic development.
A key aspect is the designation of the site as a planned unit development, which establishes standards for the entire property, not just Woodman's and its associated businesses.
"As part of the PUD we get a higher-quality, stronger design" for buildings and landscaping, Dabrowski said.
The recommendation, subject to village board approval, includes 14 site-related exceptions for the number of parking spaces, as well as dimensions or number of signs, traffic islands and other details. Dabrowski said such exceptions are not unusual for large-scale developments and allow for flexibility.
Janesville, Wisconsin-based Woodman's operates 16 stores mainly in Wisconsin, but it is expanding in Illinois. The company expects to break ground this summer for a store in Buffalo Grove and in Lakemoor in April 2018.
But there are more steps before that happens, including amending a 2007 annexation agreement written for another development that didn't materialize.
"This is different, so we need to amend (the agreement) to be more specific to this project," Dabrowski said. The agreement will outline the responsibilities of both parties, he said.
The village is in early stages of extending sewer and water service to the site, and has submitted plans to the Illinois Department of Transportation for proposed road improvements.
Still looming is a legal challenge by Wauconda Unit School District 118, Wauconda Township and Wauconda Area Library to the village's designation of the property as a tax increment financing district.
The plaintiffs argue the land would develop without a TIF district, which defers new property taxes from them for 23 years.
Depositions in the case are expected later this month, according to Dean Krone, an attorney representing the plaintiffs.
Village officials say the TIF is necessary for development and have pledged up to $6 million in incentives.
Mayor Todd Weihofen said the village will prevail in court.
"It's a frivolous lawsuit," he said. "The project is moving ahead no matter what."