District 220 won't contest dismissal of lawsuit

Barrington Unit District 220 won't challenge a Cook County circuit court judge's decision last month to dismiss a lawsuit the school system filed against Hoffman Estates and developers of the stalled Plum Farms proposal at the northwest corner of routes 59 and 72.

Hoffman Estates' development agreement limits Plum Farms to 1,250 homes of various types. The most recent plan submitted by a development partnership calls for 1,035.

But the last indication of progress on Plum Farms was interrupted by the filing of a lawsuit in July 2017 by residents of the nearby Regency at the Woods of South Barrington retirement community.

District 220 intervened in the complaint on the side of the residents, with the developer and village named as defendants. The density of the proposed development and the potential for additional students' costs to exceed the increase in tax revenue were at the heart of the school district's concerns.

While the residents' original lawsuit was settled last summer, District 220 kept its part of the case active until it was dismissed in December. School board President Penny Kazmier announced at a meeting Tuesday night that the district will not pursue any further legal action in the case.

District 220 could have asked the judge to reconsider the dismissal or filed a motion to appeal.

Officials did not immediately have an estimate on the district's legal expenses in the case.

"I think that we've been at it for a while and, unfortunately, the judge's ruling was not encouraging to us and, in conversation with our counsel, that's what led us to our decision," Kazmier said after the meeting.

Citing the case of Hinckley-Big Rock School District vs. Village of Sugar Grove, the judge found District 220 did not and could not plead a "direct, substantial and adverse effect" from the Plum Farms proposal.

As proposed, Plum Farms would include single-family homes on 145 acres previously disconnected from Barrington Hills at the northwest corner of routes 59 and 72. The remainder of the land would combine multifamily housing and commercial development.

"The board is committed to continue monitoring this development very closely and will continue to attempt to work with the village of Hoffman Estates to the benefit of both government bodies," Kazmier said.

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