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Lake County Approves Dimucci Plans for Shopping Center

By unanimous vote, the Lake County Board approved the revised Dimucci rezoning and PUD at Rte. 12 and Old McHenry Road.

The following news release was submitted by Friedlander Communications Ltd., the public relations firm representing the Village of North Barrington. 

The Lake County Board Tuesday (October 9, 2012) passed a resolution by a vote of 23 to 0 to approve a plan for a potential shopping center, local community activity center and offices on the controversial 108.75 acres of land known as the Dimucci Family Property at Rand and Old McHenry roads.

Strict requirements were placed on the Dimucci family about what can go onto 53 acres of the land with the remainder to be held forever as open space. It currently is available as farm land.

Features for building on the site are under pages of codicils for storm water, quality of stores, what may not be considered for inclusion on the property, for architectural features, materials to be used in construction, landscaping, lighting and other items.

Bonnie Thomson Carter, an 18-year member of the board, who also was president of the Lake County Forest Preserve District, said the resolution is unique in Lake County. Carter said that the county has never put so much effort into finding the right balance between the interests of the property owner and the public.

She also chaired the Planning, Building and Zoning Committee that gave the final committee approval of the resolution in concert with North Barrington, Lake County and Hawthorn Woods.

The resolution was worked out in detail by the heads of two villages, their staff and, with the Lake County Planning, Building and Zoning Department and two county board members. Many hours of work were required to reach an agreement.

 Albert Pino, president of North Barrington, said there was little desire for the shopping center. But it also was recognized that the property owner has rights and if a workable plan was not presented, there would be years of expensive lawsuits the villages probably would not win.

He noted that as it now stands, this agreement has taken two decades to reach fruition for what could be the most upscale shopping area in the United States.

On this same property a developer in 1992 wanted to build a 1.4 million square foot shopping center. After this was defeated the same company officials came back with a plan for a 1.2 million square foot shopping center that was approved by the North Barrington Planning Commission and was barely defeated by the Village trustees.

Pino said that when the plan for the 800,000 square foot shopping center surfaced earlier this year after Lake County staff and the Dimucci family had been planning this project for nearly three years, it seemed unlikely that it could have been prevented.

He said all of the Barrington area municipalities and townships with considerable assistance from the Barrington Area Council of Governments came together in a very professional and cooperative manner to help defeat the huge shopping center.

County Board members Craig Taylor and Stevenson Mountsier helped in developing the plan and requirements for changing zoning from two acre estate to general commercial under certain conditions. Taylor supported the statement by Pino that the property owner also has rights noting that nobody wants government to tell them what to do with their land.

Taylor said he had been to all of the meetings except for one and all of them were fruitful. To reassure residents in the Barrington area, he pointed out there now are three government bodies to oversee what will be done on the property. He promised the county will work with the villages.

Mountsier noted that the property will remain two acre zoning until the land owners can come up with a plan that meets the requirements for the site and even then the public will have input as the final plan will have to return to the county for hearings.

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