South Barrington Park District again seeking voter permission to sell land

It's not déjà vu - South Barrington Park District officials again are asking voters to approve selling 34 acres off Bartlett Road and Route 59.

It's the fourth time the district has brought the proposal to voters. It was rejected in 2018 and 2019, and then approved in 2020 - but officials couldn't finalize a deal with either of two interested developers before a one-year window expired, Park District Executive Director Jay Morgan said.

Still hoping to unload the property, park district leaders have put the question on the April 4 ballot.

"We are once again required to go to referendum to ask for approval to sell the property," Morgan said.

If approved by voters, the district will hold an auction to sell the property, he added.

The park district bought the land, once home to a tree nursery, about 20 years ago as part of a lawsuit settlement. But because of its topography and other factors, officials determined the land isn't ideal for recreational activities and would be too costly to develop.

With a sale approved by voters, the district tentatively struck a deal to sell the land - sometimes called "Area N" - to Burr Ridge-based McNaughton Development in 2021 for more than $1.6 million, But the company's plan to build 50 houses there got a cool reception from the village board and the deal fell through.

Trustees at the time questioned the proposed density of the housing development.

Other companies since have inquired about the land, Morgan said, and their proposals could be more to the village board's liking.

If the property goes to auction, Morgan anticipates a sale price of about $2 million.

"If we get to the auction stage, we will sell to the highest bidder as long as the board is comfortable with their offer," he said.

The money would be used to renovate other district properties, including 5-acre Dunteman Park, the district's oldest park, Morgan said.

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