How the discussion might go regarding 700+ empty acres in the middle of suburbia

A new large plot of land may soon be available in the middle of Lake County, Illinois. What should go there? Here is an early idea:

The family that owns the Chicago Blackhawks wants to turn more than 700 acres of farmland it owns near Mundelein into a housing, commercial and industrial development, village officials confirmed.

If the Wirtz family’s vision becomes reality, the land would be annexed into Mundelein and become the largest development by acreage in Lake County, Village Administrator Eric Guenther said.

“This is a big deal,” Guenther said. “(It) could prove to be a very extraordinary development for Mundelein, the Wirtz family and Lake County as a whole.”…

Guenther declined to detail the family’s specific plans for the land. They will be unveiled to the public at the village board’s Dec. 12 meeting.

Given what I have seen regarding suburban development, here are some of the steps to come and the common responses from involved actors:

  1. The landowners will bring a plan to the municipality that maximizes or at least includes a lot of profit through developing the land.
  2. The Village of Mundelein will receive the proposal and work on it through elected and appointed officials plus professional staff.
  3. There will be public hearings regarding the property and proposed plans.
  4. Community residents will chime in with a variety of concerns, including regarding traffic and noise. The local school district and other actors will wonder how new development will affect local services and amenities. The village will want to consider the tax base on how the tax revenues add up from such a property. Some actor(s) will propose keeping the property or part of it as green space.
  5. There will be some negotiations between the developers and the community. This could go relatively quick or slowly, depending on the changes asked for and the vision of the developers. They could happen behind the scenes or be more visible to the public.
  6. Roughly 1-2 years from now a plan will be in place and development can start.

Each of these steps could proceed differently with the potential for plans to move more quickly or more slowly. There is no guarantee that the proposed project will go forward.

However, given the size of this parcel, there will be a lot of interest from everyone about what happens with this land and how this might affect Mundelein – whether it is the community’s character, revenues, or land use – for decades to comes.

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