Life Time opponent wants Lake Zurich engineer ousted
An opponent of the plan to build a Life Time Fitness on the site of the former Hackney's restaurant in Lake Zurich demanded Monday night that the village board fire the village engineer, Manhard Consulting, over what he says is a conflict of interest stemming from its work for the health club company.
But Village Manager Ray Keller said no conflict exists, after the village hired a different firm, Christopher B. Burke Engineering, to review Life Time's application process.
Manhard has served as Lake Zurich's village engineer for the last three years. The Vernon Hills-based firm also represents Life Time on its proposal to build a 125,000-square-foot health and fitness club and outdoor pool deck at the former restaurant site, 880 N. Old Rand Road.
Geoff Petzel, a village resident opposed to the plan, said Manhard shouldn't have been allowed to represent Life Time because of the firm's relationship with the village.
"That's completely unacceptable and inappropriate, and I demand that staff review our contract with Manhard," he said. "And I would ask this board terminate services immediately and put this project out to bid."
Petzel argues Manhard has an unfair advantage as it relates to the Life Time project because of its access to village documents and a desk space in village hall.
But Keller said the village is keeping Manhard away from the Life Time project. Whenever the project is discussed by the village staff, Manhard representatives leave the room.
"My question is what advantage would they have?" Keller said. "Even if they had an advantage, that's why we have another firm overseeing the process.
"Engineering is engineering," Keller added. "It is a lot less subjective than you might think. Stormwater measurements are stormwater measurements."