Update on 1850 Glenview, Hart Estate properties

Legal proceedings have been pushed back for two Glenview properties subject to plans for development.

Pertaining to the case regarding the property at 1850 Glenview Road, the Cook County circuit court schedule for Station Place Townhouse Condominium Association, et al, vs. defendant Village of Glenview has been pushed back two more weeks, per request by the attorney for the plaintiff, The Law Offices of William J. Seitz.

1850 Glenview Road, where the former Bess Hardware once stood, is intended by the village to be the site of a 68-unit multiple-use development.

The plaintiffs are seeking zoning information from a past case they believe could aid their current litigation.

On Feb. 10 Circuit Judge Alison Conlon granted a stay until March 4 for plaintiffs to file a second amended complaint. The matter is set for status on pleadings on March 11.

In a Jan. 5 court hearing three of the plaintiff's five original counts were dismissed. The remaining counts - denial of substantive due process and violations of the Open Meetings Act - had been scheduled for court status on Feb. 11. The defendant also seeks to have those counts dismissed.

On Nov. 23, 2020, the court also denied the plaintiffs' emergency motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction regarding the demolition of the Bess building, which occurred in December.

While the case remains in court the developer, The Drake Group, is challenged to obtain a clear title or title insurance by the closing date. In a third amendment to the June 2018 purchase and sale agreement between the Village of Glenview and The Drake Group approved on July 20, 2020, the closing date had been re-established to Jan. 19, 2021.

On Jan. 5 the Glenview board of trustees granted a fourth amendment to extend the closing date to the earlier of 60 days after Glenview is able to deliver a clear title, or 60 days after the final resolution of the lawsuit.

In another ongoing case, on Tuesday came the latest development concerning the former Hart Estate at the southwest corner of Willow and Pfingsten roads. First, some background.

The 8.55-acre plot is sought to be developed by GW Properties into the Willows Crossing Shopping Center, which would include a 35,000-square-foot grocery store, three multi-tenant buildings and 2.35 acres maintained as stormwater retention.

The project remains under a temporary restraining order issued by the Illinois Appellate Court on July 30, 2020, as a result of a lawsuit by a group of neighboring residents known jointly as Willow Pfingsten SW, against the Village of Glenview. That restraining order prevents any further development on the property until the circuit court makes its determinations.

It dates back further than that. In May 2019 GW Properties filed an application to rezone and develop the Hart Estate, which according to the Appellate Court "triggered" the village to rezone the bulk of the property to a local business district from the residential status it held since being annexed in 1988.

The neighbors, who did not desire a dense adjacent commercial development, sued the village in September 2019 on the basis that there was no proper legal notice of the zoning change and it also was "prohibited contract zoning."

The circuit court dismissed the suit in December 2019, but in November 2020 the appellate court overturned the decision and remanded it back to the trial court.

Given the appellate court's decision, Glenview moved the property's zoning designation back to residential - which in January spurred GW Properties to request a further zoning change. The Plan Commission was to consider that on Jan. 26, but after Carol Sullivan of plaintiff Willow Pfingsten SW, notified the village that notice of the hearing was not published in a newspaper, it got moved to Feb. 23.

At that point, GW Properties petitioned the circuit court to intervene in the underlying case, and also asked for a $7 million bond. On Feb. 12, two other neighbors, not part of the original suit but filing as interested parties, also petitioned an emergency motion of injunction based on the appellate court ruling.

On Tuesday, Feb. 16, the petitions moved to the circuit court - without conclusion.

Circuit Court Judge Michael Mullen requested the parties return on Feb. 22, one day before the Plan Commission, in a public hearing, is to consider the final site plan review and rezoning of Willow Crossing with possible recommendation to the Glenview board of trustees.

On Feb. 22, the court will decide who can intervene, who cannot, and if the restraining order will be extended.

  Now fully demolished, the former Bess Hardware site in downtown Glenview remains the subject of legal action. Joe Lewnard/
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