Life Time Fitness plan could go before Lake Zurich board on May 7
Life Time Fitness' revised plan to build a center in Lake Zurich heads to the village board for a decision now that the planning and zoning commission has recommended approval.
The commission's 5-1 vote late Wednesday came after about four hours of discussion and public comment. It marks a reversal for commissioners who opposed a previous version in January.
"It's not like we're now changing our minds and changing everything we said and our quotes mean nothing," Commissioner Ildiko Schultz told the capacity crowd. "This is a very different proposal."
Perhaps the biggest difference is the building's size. The original plan called for a three-story, 58-foot-tall luxury fitness center at 880 N. Old Rand Road, while the revised plan is for a two-story, 40-foot-tall building.
The building was also moved farther southwest on the lot, in response to concerns residents and the majority of commissioners raised that the property was too close to nearby houses and the parking lot entrances and exits would snarl nearby traffic.
Life Time now has 60 days to present the plan to the village board for a final decision, said Sarosh Saher, the village's community development director. Saher said he anticipates it will go before the board at the May 7 meeting.
Several plan commissioners praised Life Time, particularly the lengths the Minnesota-based company has gone to compromise on its plan since it was first presented to the village during a courtesy review in August 2017.
Commission Chairman Orlando Stratman said he's never had a petitioner come before the commission and offer as much compromise as Life Time has on this project.
"People watch what Lake Zurich does," said Stratman, who was the only commissioner to vote for the previous plan in January. "If we have a candidate come in such as Life Time, and if we can't work together as a community to make this happen, it doesn't bode well for someone else to want to come in because they look like they are facing an uphill challenge."
Commissioner Mike Muir, who did not vote on the plan in January because he was an alternate, said he's heard Lake Zurich has a reputation among developers as a hard place to do business.
"I hope this will be the start of more development," Muir said before voting for the plan.
The only commissioner to vote against the plan was Vice Chairman Kurt Baumann, who sided with neighbors and said he remembers how it felt when a big commercial developer was allowed to move in next to his first house.
The revisions didn't go far enough for some neighbors, who spoke during the hourslong public comment Wednesday.
"This still does not address major concerns. My property value will decline as a result of this project," Linda Lyon said. "Please don't accommodate this commercial monstrosity."
However, more speakers favored the plan than at the previous three planning and zoning meetings.
Resident Mia Hirschel said she believes her concerns and the concerns of her neighbors have been addressed by the revised plan.
"I don't think we are going to find a developer willing to please its neighbors as Life Time has," Hirschel said. "I think they will play a vital role in revitalization of Lake Zurich's downtown."