Bear down Arlington Bears? You're in good hands with Dermody Properties?
What will the year ahead mean for big developments we keep hearing about. Will "Bear Down, Arlington Bears" become a new chant, or will "You're in good hands with Dermody Logistics Shipping" be a new slogan for the Allstate property. Only time will tell.
In fact, hours of meetings and hearings and discussions will determine the fate of the projects. That's the way it works. There may be contracts to acquire and develop the properties, but those contracts are filled with contingencies. The governmental bodies involved will all have much to sort out in weighing the pros and cons. The questions are endless when it comes to projects of this magnitude. As residents in communities near these developments, you should be paying attention and speaking out about you how you feel based on facts and information which will unfold in the months ahead. You ought to participate, since the decisions will affect you and your neighbors for years to come.
The various questions that come up, that you and the governments involved have to think about are common ones that need to be taken into consideration in any development, but they are magnified in mega projects with 232 acres on the Allstate property and 326 acres on the Arlington Park property. What, if any, are the impacts on traffic, on our schools, on local budgets and the costs to service the developed projects? Will added revenue generated through taxes bring down our property taxes or will local governments get saddled with expenses? Who is going to pay for the infrastructure that services the project? Is the road network adequate to support the project? What needs to be included in the Development to make it work financially? Will a residential component be included, and at what density and at how much high end versus moderate versus affordable; and how many students might be generated? Will there be a commercial, office or industrial component? How do the uses tie in to the transportation network? What will be the impact on drainage or flooding? How much open space or public space is available? Is there adequate parking? Will the project take Environmental issues into account? What types of zoning is needed for desired uses? Are the uses compatible with surrounding areas and are there noise issues to be addressed? What is the versatility of the project and how will it be used throughout the year? What type of Government support through incentives, special approvals or waivers or otherwise does the developer want or need from the State, County or local governments and what if anything should be considered? Does the developer seek to annex to one of the nearby communities for property that is not in a community? Will there be competition between communities for the project or organized opposition?
These and countless other questions will typically get looked at and reviewed at Planning Commissions and zoning boards who will make recommendations to the Village boards or County board after hearings where there is opportunity for public input. Then the Village boards or county board may in turn review those recommendations and hold their own hearings. At each level the boards may ask for answers or commitments from the respective developers, and the developers will likewise ask for commitments from the boards.
Projects often fail to move forward when there is not agreement from one side or the other despite the best efforts to resolve them. Oftentimes lawsuits get filed to challenge denials or approvals. Such events can drag out the process, and often re-evaluations are made on how or whether to proceed. Bottom line is that it is a long way off before or if any one should start thinking about tail gate parties in Arlington Heights or planning their shipping from a logistics center on the Allstate property.
At first glance, having the Bears in Arlington Park sounds exciting and like it might be the type of significant development that might be an asset to the community and region, and having a mega logistics and shipping center on the Allstate property in an area that currently is not near much residential development might not be intrusive and be a good alternative to unneeded office space. Nonetheless there are many issues and questions to be answered knowing that such large projects often evolve as they unfold to have much more added to them to make them work financially and otherwise. It is the job of our local governments with our input to fully answer those questions before they move forward. Happy New year to all as you roll up your sleeves to get involved!
• Elliott Hartstein of Northbrook is an attorney and a former Buffalo Grove village president. If you are interested in possibly discussing this topic further over Zoom with Elliott and others, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.