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'Save Buffalo Grove' Group Opposes Downtown Proposal

Members of the citizens group have expressed concerns about the proposal and say they are considering taking steps to recall some elected officials.

Buffalo Grove residents who are concerned about the proposed downtown development have established an opposition group called Save Buffalo Grove and say they are prepared to circulate petitions to recall some Village Board members who have expressed early support for the proposal. 

“We have been very alarmed by some comments from the Village of Buffalo Grove about the development plan,” Dan Peterson, one of the group’s organizers, said in a statement released Oct. 2 to Patch. “In particular, one trustee said he ‘started to drool’ when seeing the concept, while others were already talking about ‘moving in’ or ‘shopping’ at the development. These kinds of comments are premature, at best.”

“The Buffalo Grove community is being blindsided by this proposal and most residents are not even aware of it, or its implications,” said Marilyn Weisberg, another member of Save Buffalo Grove. “We have been living in Buffalo Grove, along the golf course for 17 years — it’s why we moved here, and nothing like this has been proposed before. It’s not what we want. It’s not what our neighbors want. It’s a grandiose plan for these economic times.”

The following concerns about the downtown development have been raised by Save Buffalo Grove members:

  • The effects on the community and property values from the additional condominiums and retail space in a village where commercial vacancy is high, retailers are hurting, and home prices are dropping.
  • Additional congestion to already heavily congested roads, including Lake-Cook Road, which is bumper to bumper after 3 p.m. Old Checker would take on additional congestion with new lights and traffic patterns. Private streets would take on new and unwanted traffic.
  • Safety of the children of the neighborhood and adjacent school.
  • The potential financial effects, including tax consequences, on the
  • community should the project fail.
  • Overcrowding of schools caused by the proposed addition of almost 600 residences in a small area.
  • Increased flooding due to the destruction of the golf course flood plain in an area known to have flooding problems. Currently, when it rains, many parts of the golf course flood.
  • Disruption of the quiet neighborhoods of the residents from the retail space and high density housing resulting in increased noise and light pollution. Residents could see a drop in property values and be unable to sell their homes due to the construction itself or the impending plans.
  • Years of exposure of nearby residents to toxic pesticides present in the ground that will be disturbed during construction.
  • Loss of the golf course and green space, which include protected species as inhabitants. This is a beautiful, serene environment that is enjoyed by hundreds of residents, and would be destroyed. .
  • Risk of living in concrete jungle of empty stores and residences, should the project fail.

“The Save Buffalo Grove group believes that protecting the residents of Buffalo Grove should be the highest priority of the village. Many of the residents in this community want to live in a quiet community and do not agree with the developer’s vision of making Buffalo Grove the retail center of the area and are taking action to prevent it,” the group said in its statement.

“It seems inconceivable that the village is considering selling this land at a real estate market low to promote a retail development despite the glut of retail space in the village and surrounding communities, the uncertain economy, the public questioning of many such projects across the area... even as online sales soar and brick and mortar stores close,” Petersen said.

As a precautionary measure, Save Buffalo Grove members said they filed a notice to of intention last week to recall some Village Board members following their “overly favorable reaction to the proposal while showing little ability to meaningfully query the controversial developer,” they said.

“The recall notification is a precautionary measure that may be used to ensure that should the citizens of Buffalo Grove have an actual voice in the future of their community and that the Village Board members act in the best interest its citizens. At this time, the group has not committed to filing the actual petitions pending the village’s response to the citizen’s concerns.

They needed to file the notification, they said, due to timing requirements in the village's recall ordinance, the group said.

Save Buffalo Grove is considering running a slate of citizens who are opposed to the project, they said. Three trustee seats will be on the 2013 municipal ballot.

Save Buffalo Grove has established a Facebook page and invites interested residents to join the group by emailing SaveBuffaloGrove@att.net.

Charlie Barker October 04, 2012 at 08:29 PM
I'd love to know the specifics of the "protected species" which is typically an last ditch tactic to stop development that someone doesn't like. Or maybe these folks are going to pull a "Lisa Stone" and invent data in the absence of any facts.
Walter White October 04, 2012 at 08:33 PM
I think she is busy saving the antelopes in Crested Butte, Montana.
ed conner October 04, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Well put, RC.
Charlie Barker October 04, 2012 at 08:40 PM
DeAnn, That is disingenuous. Yes, the current Board does not have a say in the Town Center. But past Boards have their fingerprints all over it's development to the point of trying to dictate the establishments that went in it. Overall, this is the kind of political tripe that drives people crazy. Yes, this concept came out of thin air a few weeks ago. Yet the entire Board seemed to be uniformly on board with it the minute it was hatched. The total lack of contrary voices coming from anywhere on the Board begs the question. The Board needs to answer numerous questions before they can ask people to get behind it. 1) What makes the Board think that this retail development will not fail when BG and surrounding communities have a glut of empty retail space? 2) What is the financial commitment/liability will the Village be stuck with if this doesn't pan out? 3) Why does the Board think this will work considering the complete lack of retail development along the Milwaukee corridor (and no it is not the economy)? and 4) Why does the Board think this will work when the Town Center has been a total failure? And let's not try to mimic the answers already prepared for you by the developer. It would be nice to hear at least one person on the board ask some rational and fair questions before jumping in the conga line of "we think you need a downtown."
RELENTLESSCRITIC October 04, 2012 at 08:57 PM
GO BG- The only complaint I have is when uninformed cretins like you fire off dimwitted half-baked opinions. I agree people should question government. What I don't agree with is this group's tactics. They didn't question, they ACCUSED and THREATENED. Rather than collecting more information and maybe having some conversations with the board and staff, they came out of the gate swinging- making all sorts of suppositions and accusations and arranging to invoke recall- all before the village had a chance to respond appropriately to their concerns. Shoot first, ask questions later. If they have questions about what their government is doing, then they should ask them. There are many avenues and forums to do that. Making threats and baseless accusations (i.e.; residents being blindsided by the project) and trying to intimidate the board really makes them look like alarmists- especially since they obviously haven't seen all the information currently available about the project. Or maybe they don't care about it details they are simply against the project. Period. Their attempt to disrupt the due diligence process that ALL residents expect and are entitled to (not everyone opposes it) by threatening the board with recall amounts to little more than political thuggery. Whether people are for or against the project, we shouldn't tolerate residents who threaten elected officials for doing their jobs properly.
DeAnn Glover October 04, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Charlie Barker, I remember when the Town Center went in all those years ago. At that time, I was not in favor of the way it was laid out. I felt something so much better could have been done with that whole area between BG Rd., Rt. 83 & Lake-Cook Rd. However that is not what happened. I have been castigated for my opinion about the Town Center in the past. I was out of town when the Downtown development was introduced at a VB meeting, & my first response was "what!" but I think we all need to take a step back and hear everyone out. Whatever the trustees reactions were, I am sure they will take a very close look at the project and examine all the issues and problems that need to be addressed. Charlie, you have some very rational comments and questions that this board needs to address thoroughly. This is a project of such a hugh proportion that this discussion will not be completed overnight. There are many studies that must be done to see if this projest is even viable from an engineering standpoint, plus economic issues. A lot of the conversation on this comment board has been knee jerk which accomplishes nothing. (continued)
DeAnn Glover October 04, 2012 at 09:52 PM
(continued) The Village makes it very easy for its residents to know what is happening in their village. The best way is for residents to attend VB meetings at Village Hall on the 1st & 3rd Mondays at 7:30. The meetings are also televised on Channel 6 on Comcast and Channel 99 on AT&T everyday on the 8's. There is also the Village E-News an on-line newsletter which comes out once a week. The Village Newsletter is another publication that goes out to the residents of BG. I am sure I am missiing something but investigate what possible sources of information are available to you. Visit the Village website at vbg.org. Please take the time to learn more about the project, attend board meetings, plan commission meetings, where the real work is done. There will possibly be special information meetings, if so, attend. That is the best way to gather correct information on this project or any other issue.
Charlie Barker October 04, 2012 at 11:26 PM
DeAnn, I think most people feel this project should be approached with a great deal of skepticism. Perhaps that skepticism would be lowered if the citizens saw a little more skepticism on the part of the board. And by the way, I don't appreciate being lectured about where to find information(gee do you think that folks here haven't already look at the data provided by the village?) provided by the village especially when it sounds more like a sales job to convince us that the Board knows better versus the Board actually representing the citizens and asking legitimate questions about this development. To date, all I have seen and heard is "wow this is great" and when citizens question the seemingly in masse acceptance by the board, we get lectured with a "get informed" from more than one Board member. It might help the Board if you would assume that many citizens legitimately think this is a bad idea and stop trying to sell it and start presenting information that indicates why it will be successful and asking appropriate questions. Stop saying "trust us." Start acting like you represent all of us.
sankar October 05, 2012 at 03:29 AM
Just so you understand, filing for recall by "Save BG" is not a threat. They are doing what is allowed by law. You are exaggerating.
sankar October 05, 2012 at 03:31 AM
Why not the recall as referendum for the project?.
Soccer Mom October 05, 2012 at 04:57 AM
Start acting like you represent all of us? Charlie Barker, it sounds like you think DeAnn is on the board. You also in the same sentence say stop trying to sell it and start presenting information that indicates why it will be successful. Presenting information why it will be successful? Isn't that the same thing as selling it? BTW, I went on the village website and they did present information, a ton of it. I'm a resident and I think this is a fantastic idea. I cannot wait to see how this turns out.
Charlie Barker October 05, 2012 at 03:02 PM
LaL, I realize she isn't on the board. Yet she presents directly presents this idea as an advocate for it which is fine yet you have to wonder. And my comments were directed at the Board who I am sure she continues in close contact with. The problem is, and this is something since you are right now in favor of it in the near absence of any detail (and all they present ,no matter the volume, is generic pablum), is there appears to be nary a questioning voice on the Board. That is stunning given the breadth, scope and impact of this "idea." I am open to it but the vast vast majority of people I have talked to have the same skepticism that I do. The reigning question is pretty clear: what evidence is there that this will be successful and not another fancy strip mail with empty store fronts. And there is a huge difference between selling this concept, which is what is going on now with the infomercial as one example, and asking valid and critical questions(they are too numerous to note here) about it's true viability when the Village has been totally unable to develop a much more viable retail corridor along Milwaukee avenue filled with empty space. To date, not one, NOT ONE, village official has done anything other than salute.
DeAnn Glover October 05, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Charlie, First, not lecture--just information, and Yes, from some of the earlier knee jerk comments, I do believe that those who commented might not have gotten much information. Second, for you to assume that I am an advocate of this project is highly presumptious. You know what they say about people who assume. I am skeptical about this project as are most of the commenters who have posted. I need a lot more information before I will say I support the "New Downtown" or not. If I were still on the VB, I probably would have expressed my concerns about the project. It is an exciting idea, but there are so many hurdles to cross that it very possibly may never see the light of day. I truly understand a lot of the concerns posted here and agree with many, but I am willing to go into the process with an open mind. As for my being in touch with the VB members. I see them from time to time in social situations, but I have never discussed this Downtown idea with any of them. At some point in time, I may reach out to someone on the board just as every resident of BG has the right to do. There is going to be a People, Places & Issues program on Channels 6 & 99, but I forgot the times. It is only going to be 1/2 hour long so I am not sure the purpose of it. I guess I'll watch & find out. I hope it will give information on when there might be forums for open discussions betwen the VB and the residents, the developer and staff.
Sandy Klein October 05, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Well, I for one, am completely against this at this time. Maybe in a few years when there are fewer empty retail spaces, the economy is better and people are spending more money, then I would be willing to consider something like this. Even in a good economy, however, I have these concerns: People keep saying that BG already has two golf courses, and that's true, but many people can't afford the one that will remain standing. Those who play at BG Golf course will leave town to play, not go to the Arboretum. Should that matter? Probably not, but let's not pretend the two courses are interchangeable. Once again, just as was done when certain retailers were turned away from Town Center, we're hearing the word "upscale". Listen, this town isn't Highland Park and you have to play to all residents of Buffalo Grove, not just those with money. To me, this shows a lack of understanding of the market and it appears no study was done on the spending habits by residents. We keep hearing of the wonderful town centers in other towns but those have some VERY important elements this one won't have. They are easy to walk to from the train station and they're highly visible from major thoroughfares. The streets are used for parades and other events that bring the people into the center to spend money. They have on-street parking, which I'm not sure this plan has, for convenience. CONTINUTED
Sandy Klein October 05, 2012 at 09:26 PM
And based on what I've heard from real estate agents who have worked in various towns as well as in BG, the difference between our community and others is that we're not really a cradle to grave town. People in Glencoe, Oak Park, Libertyville, Park Ridge, etc., feel strong ties to the community. They remain in town even after their families grow and leave the nest. They may move, but they don't move out of town. Here, people often move to surrounding towns, such as Long Grove, or leave the area once their kids are out of school. Many leave the area because they can't afford the property taxes anymore. When I think of a community with strong community ties, Buffalo Grove isn't on the list of places I think of. Maybe a defined downtown would help with that effort but this isn't the right time, in my opinion. We blew it once in a good economy. Let's recover and really plan well this time.
Soccer Mom October 06, 2012 at 12:42 PM
CB, I think you are full of it. Just my opinion and I'm entitled to it. How can you say that this concept is absent of any detail? The info on the village's website has much detail. Have you even read it? What details are you looking for that aren't there? The fact that you would even refer to it as another fancy stripmall tells me that you really havent looked at it. What fancy stripmall do you think it looks like? I understand why some people might be against it if they live near the golf course, but what I don't understand is why you and others are criticizing the board for being excited about the idea of possibly bringing something like this to BG. I don't know who you are talking to, but the vast majority of people I talked to like the idea. Maybe those answers depend on where you live relative to the golf course.
Charlie Barker October 06, 2012 at 02:45 PM
LaL, Give me a break. THERE ARE NO DETAILS, ONLY CONCEPTS. Typical of someone who supports the idea to give the silly impression that it is about the golf course. FYI, I have lived in BG for 30 years and I have golfed there once. Need some questions? How about these? 1) What are the anchors going to be? A food store? I can drive to 8 right now within 10 minutes of my house. A department store? I can drive to dozens within 15 minutes of my house. 2) Despite long time overtures by it's advocates, a performing arts center has never found much traction with residents. What makes advocates think it is going to work this time? 3) Movies theaters? Again, virtually all of Buffalo Grove can get to a variety of movie theaters withing 10-15 minutes of their homes? What makes the developer think another one,in this location, is going to work. On top of that, movie theaters are a know gathering place for gangs. The Board of Trustees made a big deal over the risk of gang attraction during the discussions for the "dance hall" at Eskape. I could come up with a dozen more. I've looked at the concept. And at this point is that all that has been presented thus far is a cookie cutter approach to suburban development which is part reflects some of the pet projects long advocated, but never gained traction, by different constituencies in the Village. It will be interesting to see if the Board asks the questions that need to be asked.
Soccer Mom October 06, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Yep, I see all sorts of gang activity by the movie theaters in Lincolnshire, Deer Park and Randhurst. But, feel free to stick with that argument. I don't need more questions. I asked you some though and you never answered them. I still think you are full of it. But you are entitled to your opinion too I guess.
Jilly October 06, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Why is everyone arguing with each other? It's wasted energy that should be used to stop this project. Please, can't we all get along and not sink to a new low by being nasty and calling each other names? The best way to stop this and let the board know we are serious about it is to be unified, express our feelings and not make this a personal attack against each other. Please people, acting like a bully is not cool.
Lisa Stone October 08, 2012 at 06:03 AM
Not a chance, Sandy. That's not how I roll. If so, I'd post many more posts in various names as you and your masked friends do. I'm about the only person on political matters that posts in my name, so try again to desperately alter public perception. As you've noticed....the people have finally woken up and your party is on its way out. I'm just me, but my Coalition has great presence in the world. You don't see them, but trust; they're there. I'm the vocal one on the water concern, but they are the big shots behind the scenes on critical matters in society. While I appreciate Erica's stepping up, it's Kitty, Kevin and Brenda that I work with. I do tell it straight, which was & is BG Governments worst nightmare. I don't lie, and can't tolerate or stomach liars, which anyone that knows me would attest. Trust is everything so I don't play games with my word or bond... with anyone, including you.
Joseph Bloseph October 08, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Erica, Who is the idiot who changed her moniker then tried to act like she wasn't the same person? Ha Ha Ha. Maybe you are Lisa's facebook friend Erica Samuels that graduated from two different Stevenson High Schools (Stevenson Alabama) and Harper College all in 2006. LMFAO (look it up).
Jilly .... right on! However, 'the community activist' has a years-long-history of making accusations, innuendoes, etc with nothing to back them up and those on 'both sides of the coin' tend to sink to her level. I too have been guilty of this. You are correct that if the people of VBG 'band together' they can go before the board and get answers/etc. However, it doesn't seem like there's a clear-cut majority on either side of this yet. Previously, I believe, I agreed with someone that it should be, at a minimum, put on the ballot as an advisory vote. Then those in VBG, and it doesn't seem to be a majority of the residents based on past election turnouts, could use the democratic process to tell the board what they think. Yae or Nay on the project.
Poop Mcfaceington February 12, 2013 at 08:24 PM
And your small town feel goes out the window. These people like the town they are in because of the feel not because it has potencial to be like somewhere else.
Concerned Citizen February 26, 2013 at 03:23 PM
To take down a golf course to build concrete jungle and a parking lot.Wow, what a great idea. While we are at it, why not take down all the forest preserves and build shopping malls. I can also see expansion of 53 somehow going through BG road so that we can get more mall traffic. This village is run by idiots. Let's reelect them next time. An let's check into their finances litle more to make sure there are no under the table deals or kickbacks on this one.
RELENTLESSCRITIC February 26, 2013 at 04:27 PM
Gee Concerened Citizen, you sure do enjoy muckraking, don't you? Commenting on a 4 month old article? The village is run by idiots, huh? Then explain the very high bond rating and strong financial position the village is in. And while you're at it, compare how your municipal taxes (not state, county or schools) have increased in recent years VS neighboring communities- you'll quickly see that things aren't nearly as bad as you make them out to be. It is always nice to allege wrongdoing against elected officials who are doing what they are elected to do- explore options for economic growth and development. We should kick them out if they're NOT doing that. Doesn't necessarily mean that this- or any other- project could or should actually happen. But to have them reject any development outright (or approve one, for that matter) without proper due diligence and vetting with the community is simply wrongheaded. Just because YOU (or even a couple of hundred residents) disagree with a potential project doesn't make it bad, or wrong. Nor does it make our elected officials idiots or crooked. FYI- I am not a big fan of this project, but I understand the importance of understanding the big picture- as well as hearing what the community at-large thinks before running around like an alarmist fool with my hair on fire and making baseless and unfounded allegations about elected officials who are simply doing what they're supposed to be doing- exploring options.
DeAnn Glover February 26, 2013 at 10:54 PM
Well said Relentless Critic. As for you Concerned Citizen-- I served on the village board for 16 years & chose not to run in the last election. If the VB is made of of "idiots", & you accuse them of being "on the take", where were you when petitions were being handed out for the village election of three trustees in April? You are just like so many who demonize the village & those who serve but NEVER step up to the plate yourselves. It is easy to hide behind a monicker & post garbage, but when it comes up to serving, you and others are no where to be found. I do not know what is going to happen with this "Downtown" idea, but I am willing to listen & then make my decision unlike you and others posting here who are not willing to do the same. BTW- this post may show "reject", but it is not really rejected by the Patch.
Iben Ayid February 28, 2013 at 03:50 AM
We need to vote Lisa Stone back in as a trustee.
DeAnn Glover February 28, 2013 at 07:12 AM
Iben that is the craziest thing I have heard. She wrecked havoc on the VB for 18 months. The voters were smart & voted her out by a landslide. Maybe you weren't here during her reign of terror, but I was. She came after the VB with a vengence & made all kinds of unfounded accusations & in essence hurt BG's reputation. She wasted staff's time with her ridiculous demands & in general wasted village resources. She hated the members of the VB, & she especially hated me & made my life a living hell. I only hope she moves out of BG, & if I ever see her again, it will be too soon. If you think you can get her elected as a trustee, you are drinking too much of her koolade.
ed conner February 28, 2013 at 02:33 PM
DeAnn, I think it may be that Iben's comment was meant to be sarcastic.
DeAnn Glover February 28, 2013 at 10:25 PM
Iben if your comment was sarcastic, I apologize for my response. As you can see, Lisa is a hot button issue for me. So again, I apoligize. Ed, thank you for pointing that out to me. Usually I am much more reserved, but she put the VB & me personally through so much.

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