Why revised Life Time Fitness plan got OK from Lake Zurich commission

 
 
Updated 3/22/2018 6:55 AM
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  • Life Time Fitness has revised its plan to build a luxury fitness center on the former Hackney's property at 880 N. Old Rand Road in Lake Zurich.

    Life Time Fitness has revised its plan to build a luxury fitness center on the former Hackney's property at 880 N. Old Rand Road in Lake Zurich. Rendering courtesy Life Time Fitness

The Lake Zurich planning and zoning commission voted late Wednesday to recommend the revised plan for a new Life Time Fitness center to the board of trustees, who will ultimately decide whether the long-discussed development will be built at the old Hackney's site.

The 5-1 result in favor is the opposite of what happened when commissioners voted on an older version of the plan in January. The dramatic change reflects the significant revisions Life Time made to its plan.

"It's not like we're now changing our minds and changing everything we said and our quotes mean nothing," Commissioner Ildiko Schultz, who voted against the older plan in January, said to the capacity crowd before voting yes. "This is a very different proposal."

Perhaps the biggest difference between plans is in the size of the building. The original plan called for a three-story, 58-foot-tall luxury fitness center at 880 N. Old Rand Road. The revised plan calls for the building to be reduced to a two stories and 40 feet tall.

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 homes and the entrances and exits from the parking lot would snarl nearby traffic.

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 last 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 changes to the plan didn't go far enough for some neighboring residents, who were part of an hourslong public comment period before the plan commission's discussion and vote 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."

More speakers were in favor of the plan than at the previous three planning and zoning meetings where they were in the extreme minority.

Resident Mia Herschel said that while she was very concerned when she first heard where the proposed Life Time Fitness was to go, 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," Herschel said. "I think they will play a vital role in revitalization of Lake Zurich's downtown."

The only commissioner to vote against the plan was Vice Chairman Kurt Baumann.

The revised proposal will now go before the village board.

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