Dundee Township to acquire Sleepy Hollow wetland property
Dundee Township will acquire about 70 acres of open space from Sleepy Hollow to ensure the wetland property is properly preserved.
More than 40 acres was established in 2003 as a wetland mitigation bank, which the village was obligated to care for as viable open space according to Army Corps of Engineers standards, Village President Stephan Pickett said. The property extends north of Boncosky Road to just south of village hall.
Over time, the village has been unable to properly maintain the land, causing invasive species and other issues to spread into an adjacent wetland mitigation area under the township's jurisdiction, Township Supervisor Trish Glees said.
Spending additional time and money trying to reverse the damage is "kind of a losing battle," she said. So after months of deliberations, both parties agreed the township had more experience and resources, and could better maintain the whole property.
"It'll just allow us in the long run to actually save money," Glees said. "It's a win-win."
The Sleepy Hollow village board voted 5-2 this week to approve the land transfer. According to the agreement, village employees still will be asked to perform a maximum of 160 hours of maintenance work under the township's control.
Trustee Dennis Fudala, who voted against the measure with Trustee Tom Merkel, said he doesn't believe the village should be relinquishing the land. He also doesn't want village employees spending labor hours on property not owned by Sleepy Hollow.
"I think it's a bad deal for the village, and I think it's a bad deal for the taxpayers," he said. "The trustees and board failed to keep the best interest of the Sleepy Hollow residents in mind."
Glees said the agreement ensures residents can enjoy the wetland property -- and a pathway along the perimeter -- for years to come. Conservation easements prevent the wetland area from being developed.
"Really, the township and the township resources was the right place for the property to land," she said.