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Construction Site Near Camelot Park Causes Concern

Village and park district officials say there's nothing they can do to protect children from a Long Grove construction site beside a Buffalo Grove park.

A parent’s plea for local governing agencies to address a safety concern near a Buffalo Grove park has officials from all three bodies saying they don't have the authority to intervene.

Construction recently began on a new home in Long Grove’s Eastgate Lane subdivision, just behind . A two-foot silt fence surrounds the construction site, and is the only barrier to the park, which is in Buffalo Grove’s Strathmore Grove neighborhood, near .

Thus far, the home’s basement has been dug, but no foundation covers the top, leaving a large pit visible from the park. A construction vehicle and piles of dirt are nearby.

“There’s no fence keeping out young children who want to wander over there,” said Buffalo Grove resident Eric Scott, who lives near the site. “From the point of view of a child playing at the park, interested in checking out big machinery, it would be easy for them to get into that site.”

Many children pass by the park as they walk to and from school, said Scott, a father of two. He said he has also noticed caregivers fail to keep close tabs on young children as they play. He fears that a child might hop the short barrier and become injured by construction machinery or fall into the exposed concrete basement.

“I know these are ‘what ifs,’ but my feeling is it doesn’t look like it would take much to set up a temporary barrier to prevent something from happening,” Scott said.

No government officials contacted by Buffalo Grove Patch argued that the environment is safe, but all of them said they can’t do anything to address it.

A Buffalo Grove Park District official said that the construction site, on a Long Grove parcel that juts into Buffalo Grove, is out of the park district’s jurisdiction. And a Long Grove official said that according to that village's code, which does not require protective barriers around construction sites, the homebuilder is doing nothing wrong.

“While I understand where Mr. Scott is coming from, and I applaud his efforts to go above and beyond to help keep kids safe, I don’t know that there’s anything we can do here,” said park district spokesman Mike Terson. “We don’t have any jurisdiction and we cannot assume other people’s liability. It’s not the park district’s responsibility to make a private resident’s construction site safe. “

“We cannot assume that liability and it would not be wise to use park district resources in that manner,” he said.

The silt fence around the site is required by Lake County. Its purpose is not to keep people out, but to prevent soil from leaving the construction site, said Long Grove Village Manager David Lothspeich.

“We don’t require any other additional protective fencing,” Lothspeich said.

After being made aware Wednesday of Scott’s safety concerns, he said Long Grove's village staff would follow up with the homebuilder to see if any additional barriers can be put in place.

"We can’t require it, but we will talk to the builder to see if we can convince him it’s the right thing to do,” Lothspeich said.

If the construction site were in Buffalo Grove, it would be required to be fenced off, said Deputy Building Commissioner Brian Sheehan. Excavation sites are generally protected by 6- to 8-foot fences, he said. 

Sheehan said a Buffalo Grove village inspector visited Camelot Park to assess the situation and then contacted a Long Grove building official about the concern.

That’s all Buffalo Grove can do, Sheehan said. “We can’t fence off a property that’s not in our jurisdiction,” he said.

Scott said he understands the limitations of the park district and the two villages, but he hopes the parties will decide to come together to find a solution.

“I think it’s something where people have to close the rule book and say, ‘It’s an accident ready to happen. Let’s decide to do something to make sure young kids are safe,’” he said.

BG-Resident August 31, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Where's Lisa? This is right up her alley: a safety issue outside the jurisdiction of Buffalo Grove. She can call her friends at the FBI.
Maybe her 'coalition' can run over and check to see if the groundwater is being contaminated? She can have her 'pet experts' then write a study without even going to the site, as they did for L&L Landfill, and we all in the tri-county region be worried about our drinking water.
ed conner August 31, 2012 at 02:20 PM
My goodness -- we really have become a nation of wimps and crybabies. Children young enough to fall into a basement should not be left alone in a park to do so, and children old enough to be left alone should have enough common sense to avoid falling in. When I was a kid, there were many houses under construction in our neighborhood (none of them were "fenced in" for our protection), and all us kids explored those job sites after hours and on weekends. And this was among the tamest of our activities -- we did stuff far more dangerous. To my knowledge, all of us somehow made it to adulthood.
Janet Sirabian August 31, 2012 at 02:36 PM
This is an opportunity for parents to review the possible dangers at this site and make sure that their children stay away from it if they are in the park or walking to school. And parents and caregivers of small children in the park need to be sure that they are carefully observing the children to be sure they do not go near this site. There is no barrier that can replace parental direction and observation.
Heartstone Custom Builders August 31, 2012 at 03:53 PM
FYI - all Buffalo Grove concerned residents. I am the home builder at this site. My company is currently getting bids to construct a fence ASAP. Although it is not required byy Long Grove I will construct a permanent fence to protect the park. Thank you for your concern and patience in this matter.
Albert August 31, 2012 at 04:44 PM
I give Heartstone Custom Builders a big round of applause. They are going out of their way to help the concerned residents of BG. I would advise parents to do their job and watch their children while at Camelot Park. It is a very small playground but young children should never be left unattended. If a child is old enough to go the park alone they should have enough common sense to not fall into the foundation of a construction site.
RELENTLESSCRITIC August 31, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Classy, classy move on your part. Thanks.
Janet Sirabian August 31, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Very nice move on your part. You are going above and beyond your responsibility. Thank you.
Walter White August 31, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Yes, assuming that is actually the builder who is posting. Veryfy the info first.
Heartstone Custom Builders August 31, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Fence update: We are scheduled to install a 6' high privacy fence starting Friday Aug 7th. Any questions please feel free to contact my office at 847-550-9112 Thanks, Steve Melnick - President
BG-Resident August 31, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Wow just the mere thought of having to tangle with the classy, lovely, elegant and demure Ms. Stone was enough to get this resolved. Thank you, Lisa. And much more seriously, thank you to Heartstone Builders for recognizing a potential safety issue and doing the right thing.
Walter White August 31, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Not to mention very intelligent and full of mocksie.
Yep ... they're going beyond what is legally required and I agree that parents need to take some responsibility and teach their children or not let them 'run wild' at an age that they don't know what the right thing is to do.
RELENTLESSCRITIC August 31, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Heartstone- I think you probably meant September 7th. Nonetheless, really cool you're doing it.

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