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Glenview Village President discusses the purchase of Green Acres

Green Acres is apparently the place to be for a nice drink.

The May 14 Northbrook Village Board of Trustees meeting began with a statement about Green Acres and ended with being green Tuesday evening.

Northbrook Village President Kathryn L. Ciesla opened the meeting with a message to the new owner of the former Green Acres Country Club site.

The 127-acre parcel (916 Dundee Road) was sold to the DuPage (County) Water Commission (DWC) for $80 million, to the surprise of Northbrook village officials. The DWC plans to develop pipe systems to deliver Lake Michigan water to its million DuPage customers. https://www.chicagotribune.com/2024/05/10/eyeing-water-independence-dupage-water-commission-buys-former-northbrook-golf-course-for-80-million/

News of the May 6 transaction shocked many because of the lost tax revenue from a planned data center. A seniors’ home was also among the failed projects when that developer suddenly withdrew in May 2023.

The latest Green Acres proposal came when village officials unanimously approved a resolution Dec. 12 for a non-binding pre-development agreement with owner GA Northbrook LLC.

This was the December 2023 proposal for the former Green Acres Country Club site with open timberland, 25 acres for municipal firehouse use and the remainder for a data center.  Handout/Village of Northbrook
This was the December 2023 proposal for the former Green Acres Country Club site with open timberland, 25 acres for municipal firehouse use and the remainder for a data center. Handout/Village of Northbrook

The Green Acres proposal then included 10 acres of promised land for a new fire station along Dundee Road, more than 50 acres of open space to the west designated for possible purchase by the Forest Preserves of Cook County, and an estimated 65 acres for the data center. . A Tax Increment Financing District (TIF) was proposed for financial support. The new fire station would ideally have replaced the outdated current fire headquarters at 740 Dundee Road.

Ciesla read from the podium the May 14 statement on the purchase of DWC.

“Since Green Acres Country Club closed in 2016, the village has worked to properly redevelop the property,” Ciesla said. “Over the past eight years, the village has held dozens of meetings … with the property owner, potential developers, neighbors, residents and staff to advance proposed projects.”

“Had the village been aware of this land purchase prior to its closure, the village board would have informed the water commission of its many concerns.

“The local government of Northbrook does not have the authority to review, approve or deny the private sale of real estate,” Ciesla added.

“Going forward, we look forward to meeting with the DuPage Water Commission to understand its intentions in our community,” Ciesla said, adding, “The village will keep residents informed.”

Question about the consent agenda

Trustees did not add anything to the Green Acres statement, but the consent agenda caused Trustee Michelle Z. Kohler to ask about the annual village contribution to the Northbrook Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

The Village donates 10% of annual hotel tax revenue to the chamber, with 2023 receipts calculated at $60,402.

Northbrook Village Trustee Michelle Z. Kohler addresses the audience during the Northbrook Village Board of Trustees meeting on May 14, 2024. (Karie Angell Luc/Pioneer Press)
Northbrook Village Trustee Michelle Z. Kohler addresses the audience during the Northbrook Village Board of Trustees meeting on May 14, 2024. (Karie Angell Luc/Pioneer Press)

Kohler asked, “Are we addressing how that money is used?”

“No, no,” Ciesla said, “but it’s something we can talk about.”

Kathleen Quinn, executive director of the chamber, told Pioneer Press that the chamber’s partnership with the village dates back to the 1990s, when a hotel tax was implemented in Northbrook.

“At that time, hotel management agreed not to fight the tax with the understanding that 10% of the revenue would go to the Chamber for the promotion of local businesses,” Quinn said. “These services have been provided consistently, even during the pandemic. When hotel tax collections plummeted, the chamber fully maintained services and programming.

“The funds allocated to the chamber are intended to be used for a variety of services to promote the entire Northbrook business community.”

New restaurants proposed for Skokie Boulevard

Two new restaurants (no names announced) may be coming to 333 Skokie Blvd., one with a brunch menu.

Trustee Johannah K. Hebl expressed his delight, describing Skokie Boulevard in Northbrook as a burgeoning “restaurant row” on the North Shore. Hebl requested visible new striping at a traffic light on Skokie Boulevard for pedestrian crossing safety.

820 Dundee Road adjacent to Green Acres

Then there was the new proposal to redevelop a residential strip of about two hectares that happens to be adjacent to the former Green Acres site next to where the new fire station would be built on the same north side of Dundee Road. The parcel at 820 Dundee Road borders the side and rear of the 25 acres proposed in the data center plan for a new fire station.

An applicant from Des Plaines proposed 15 townhomes in three buildings at 820 Dundee Road, also adjacent to the Ballantrae Drive subdivision to the east.

“It’s a bit landlocked,” said curator Robert P. Israel.

While the board commended the developer for meeting Northbrook’s affordable housing needs, concerns included safe access to Dundee Road and whether emergency vehicles or school buses would have room to turn around to adequately reach townhome addresses, especially at the back.

And where would plowers store the removed snow during snowstorms? On top of the proposed playground?

The 820 Dundee Road application was sent to the Planning Board. The applicant could return with a revised proposal based on feedback from the board, including what Trustee Joy U. Ebhomielen proposed.

“I would like to see a little more green space here,” Ebhomielen said.

Pioneer Press asked Northbrook officials if the village would consider purchasing 820 Dundee Road to avoid having to negotiate with the DWC for additional adjacent land granted by the DWC to combine for municipal acreage along the site where the new fire station would be built according to the data center plan.

“I know other options will have to be explored if the GA (Green Acres) property is no longer an option,” Nicholas Glenn, the village’s communications manager, wrote in a return email to Pioneer Press. “However, I don’t think we are at a point yet to consider other properties.

“The 820 property appears to share too many of the disadvantages of the current station (proximity to water mains, train tracks),” said Glenn of 740 Dundee Road, the current fire station headquarters.

Waste management Garbage bins are recycled

Being green became the bookend to close Tuesday’s meeting.

On September 1, Northbrook residents will have new containers for recycling or waste when a Waste and Recycling Franchise Agreement comes into effect with qualified new supplier Lakeshore Recycling Services (LRS). Do you have a cracked lid on a waste bin in your area? There will be new plastic sidewalk-friendly bins.

However, residents can expect their service costs to increase. The cost of transporting waste to remote pastures “increases the rate,” Kohler said.

Trustees officially elected LRS over WM (who ran the village corporation for six years). WM would not renew its contract for another three years at the current customer billing rate.

Northbrook Village Trustee Johannah K. Hebl immediately following the Northbrook Village Board of Trustees meeting on May 14, 2024. (Karie Angell Luc/Pioneer Press)
Northbrook Village Trustee Johannah K. Hebl immediately following the Northbrook Village Board of Trustees meeting on May 14, 2024. (Karie Angell Luc/Pioneer Press)

LRS customers can choose to use an organic waste bin for compostable garden waste and food scraps.

“I’m hopeful that we’ll get more people into composting so we can actually reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill,” Kohler said.

The rate and contract will be negotiated in time for the expected May 28 approval by the trustees at the next board meeting.

Heather E. Ross, trustee and chair of the board’s Community and Sustainability Committee, said, “As the board looks at our budget for next year, we will consider potentially using a surplus from our general fund to turn into a nominal grant to provide. perhaps to hopefully make this rate increase even less, if possible.

Karie Angell Luc is a freelancer for Pioneer Press.