Proposal for data center on Itasca Country Club golf course meets with resistance
The proposal to build a data center on Itasca Country Club's golf course met with steep opposition from village officials and residents who weighed in as plans were presented Tuesday.
Bridge Development partner Nick Siegel outlined plans for a 34-acre data center on the north part of the golf course, reviving a concept that was shelved in November. Larry Swets, president of Itasca Golf Real Estate Holdings, had said he brought the proposal back because Bridge signed on.
The village board made it clear that there would be little support. No formal application has been submitted for Plan Commission review.
Mayor Jeff Pruyn favors keeping the golf course zoned R1, for single family homes, with all other trustees in agreement.
"For me to change it from being R1, you would have to find something that's less impactful on the homes," Pruyn said. "We would rezone it if it's a benefit to the village, the residents who live by it and the landowner. I don't ever see that as a possibility."
Siegel's proposal showed the data center would be three 100,000-square-foot buildings that would be up to 50 feet high. Construction would be completed in five to 10 years.
Siegel said the village would benefit from tax revenue generated by the data center and from the country club's continued operation with its clubhouse and a golf course with a reduced number of holes.
More than 20 Itasca residents commented during the online meeting, including some living adjacent to the golf course, like John Dakajos.
"I have no problem with anybody trying to make an honest buck in this world, but when you put an eyesore like that in front me, that's when I have a problem," said Dakajos.
Many other residents also voiced concerns over potential flooding caused by the construction.
"I know that there may be ways of keeping flooding from happening, but this doesn't need to be done," resident Martin Jones said. "This building is inappropriate.
Candidates running for trustee and mayor in the April 6 election chimed in as well.
Dustin Sneath, a candidate for trustee and an IT superintendent at the Elk Grove Park District, said a data center would be useful to the community and the golf course is an ideal location, but he thinks it should be built across North Prospect Avenue on a smaller scale.
"This was pure gatekeeping," Sneath said. "It's disappointing that the board just outright dismissed this idea and potentially scared off someone trying to do a positive thing for the village."
Joshua Beauchamp, another trustee candidate, also supports the data center.
Thomas Pawlicki, a mayoral candidate who lives adjacent to the golf course, led opposition last October. He said that a data center would be a good idea for the village, but not on golf course property, citing the high flood risk and view obstruction.
"This is not where it should be," Pawlicki said. "Shrubbery and trees being put around the buildings would not improve the view and make it acceptable to the village."
Itasca Country Club owner Larry Swets said that he was disappointed by village staff's response to the proposal. He said he is considering whether to move forward.
"Last night's meeting was disappointing, not just because of the outcome, but more importantly due to the village trustees' process or lack thereof," Swets said. "We were shocked at last night's behavior because the trustees seemed focused on shooting down the whole process and made no observable effort to provide a good faith discussion."
• Trey Arline is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.