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Mayor Explains Council's Decisions on Whole Foods Proposal

The developer decided to pull its proposal after it couldn't agree with the city on certain stipulations.

The City of Lake Forest released the following statement from Mayor Donald Schoenheider regarding the City Council's decisions on a proposed Whole Foods development that led the developer to pull the proposal

As Mayor of the City of Lake Forest, I would like to thank the community for the public discussions to date on the proposed Amberley Woods Commercial Center on Route 60.  The discussion for this site will continue.  It is important to understand that this property, located on the southeast corner of Route 60 and Saunders Road, is already planned and approved for commercial use.  This is a prominent site because it is an area considered one of the “gateways” to our beautiful city and is one of the last properties available for development along the Route 60 Corridor.  If a plan were presented to enhance the historic and architectural integrity of Lake Forest, the City Council and many in the community have made it clear that there is interest and support for a mix of retail, restaurants and service businesses at this site.

After several months of study and public hearings, presentations by the developer, and public testimony that spoke to all sides of the issues, the City’s Plan Commission forwarded a series of 25 recommendations regarding the proposed Conway Market project to the City Council.  Each Alderman devoted considerable time studying the various aspects of this issue along with the detailed plans from the developer and the impact it would have on the entire community.  The Aldermen also reviewed the developer’s plan in conjunction with the “process” for the approval.  Issues that were considered include, but are not limited to:

- Proposed uses and density

- Revenue potential

- Compliance with policies and regulations

- Impact of traffic to the area

-  Neighborhood compatibility

- Potential preservation of an existing building

- Tree removal and drainage.              

On July 7th, the City Council heard directly from the petitioner and listened carefully to residents’ testimony on both sides of the issue. From a procedural perspective, the Council had no mandate to hear public testimony; the Council did so to give all interested parties a fair opportunity to express their position.  Following, each Alderman thoughtfully and candidly summarized their position and offered direction to the developer.  The developer unequivocally stated that he could not implement some of the recommendations and would not change the plan to include the 100-foot setback and stated that he would withdraw his petition.

Throughout the City’s public hearing process on this matter, many speakers referenced the City forefathers who faced the very same difficult decisions over the past 150 years that we face today; attempting to balance development and vitality with the important community qualities that define who we are.  We take the results of these challenging development related decisions for granted every day as we enjoy the natural beauty of Lake Forest’s open spaces; the diverse and stunning architecture throughout the community; the high quality of businesses and institutions located here and the splendid and magnificent beauty of our beach.

It is through the involvement of our residents, our devoted volunteers and the City’s thoughtful, comprehensive, and sometimes lengthy, review process that will allow us to develop mutually beneficial partnerships with those offering proposals for change.  I am confident that together, we shall achieve an impressive commercial development on Route 60; one that preserves the community’s character and standards, while at the same time, adds to the community’s distinction and vitality.  We live in an extraordinary place, and together, we will find the right solution for this site as we have done so many times in the past.   


IgnorantA July 15, 2014 at 12:36 PM
Outsource IT is a great place to start.
George Washington July 15, 2014 at 11:22 PM
This situation is shameful- According to all reports, the developer and Whole Foods has been working with city staff for a couple of years on this project. This is so similar to the loss of Costco several years ago. Now the citizens of Lake Forest will have to travel to another nearby community to enjoy the fine offerings that Whole Foods offers – AHH – but the city once again will lost significant economic benefit, not to mention, the fact that we don’t have one of the finest food stores in the nation to buy quality wholesome food. This never should have happened as city staff and our various councils, committees, planners etc. should have made sure that a positive outcome resulted. There is an incredible lack of respect and concern for the wishes and amenities desired by a significant percentage Lake Forest residents. It seem our city management would rather focus things such as a BMW Golf event, a new lakefront park that doesn’t have adequate funding ( let alone not completed as promised) and a east side train station (the one with the $ million dollar slate roof done two years or so ago) that was to have been renovated quite awhile ago. It’s time to get priorities straight – A letter from our mayor feebly trying to justify that it’s all because Lake Forest is so special – One of the writer above is so accurate in his observation about our lack of vibrancy and convenient retail shopping. We don’t even have a real hardware store – but rather what was one is now a bank parking lot. We used to have quite a bit of apartments available in the downtown area, but almost all of them have been converted to trust fund offices – aren’t they great for instilling a sense of community and life in the downtown area? Just think about the number of parking spaces taken by relators that occupy a significant part of our retail space along with the aforementioned offices – Apartments require very little parking per sq.ft and often only at night. This has become a rant – so sorry – Please LF officials wake up! PS - Related to Costco - so then our wise City Council decided to move the municipal services building to where Costco wanted to open - we STILL own the old land which was supposed to pay for much of the new facility - DONG - wrong - we still have tone old site on Laurel = built a very fancy business about as far away as all the east side maintenance workers could travel - - imagine all the wasted gas - imagine that most of the city workers who have duties on the east side - have to leave their job sites early in order to get back to about the farthest possible location in Lake Forest so they can clock out on time - HMM - what does that cost Ok I'm done
Programmer Corner July 16, 2014 at 09:16 AM
Do nothing. Sit there and drink a beer on your driveway, and watch kids play. Go for a walk in what Mother Nature has given us: a quiet town on a lake, with nice homes. I really don't want LF to become Vernon Hills, so I'm opposed to Whole Foods. There is plenty of quality food at Fresh Market, Jewel, and Sunset. You really need Whole Foods? Then drive less than 10 minutes to Deerfield. I'm really not sure what this obsession is with "development" and "moving into the future". The future is: autonomous cars, cellphones, and drones for delivery. In other words, not much for humans to do... except stand there and drink a beer. (And read Rex Stout, Shakespeare, Plato, Gelven, Mann, go for a walk, run, party with friends, take a virtually free cab anywhere, conserve energy, lower emissions, eat fairly right, and play.) If you REALLY must work, go out and cut a neighbor's lawn for $15. Nah. Let the illegals do it.
Me July 16, 2014 at 09:31 AM
I am OK with losing Whole Paycheck because it wouldn't generate much in terms of sales tax revenue. Although I hate to admit it, I am with PC on the issue of cutting expenses. Lake Forest is out of control in terms of salaries. We don't need all of those people and Keilly is interested in nothing more than seeing his own salary go ever higher.
IgnorantA July 16, 2014 at 09:50 AM
George, I like the way you think. Have you ever considered running for office? In other local communities, Whole Foods is affably referred as "Whole Paycheck" If there is one area, in all of the entire metro area where the patrons could afford such food it is in Lake Forest. Please put on you magic glasses and imagine for one moment. Image if the old Marshall Field was a Whole Foods.... oh wait no... we need another bank... never mind

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