Mayor's Message - Lake County ZBA Vote (Sept. 21, 2012)
For those of
you following the Lake County hearings on the rezoning of the Dimucci
property on Route 12 at Old McHenry Road, I wanted to inform you that
last night at the Lake County Zoning Board of Appeals meeting the
commission voted unanimously in favor of the rezoning change from
Residential to General Commercial.
In addition to the
19 pages of conditions presented at the meeting, there were three
additional conditions placed on the development by motion on the floor
last night by the ZBA.
- A landscaping berm that does not interfere with the vision
triangle and meets the requirements of the transportation agencies
shall be placed at the ultimate right of way line at Old McHenry Road.
Said berm shall have a minimum height of 10 feet and shall be planted
with a minimum of 2 plant units for every 100 feet. (A plant unit
consists of overstory trees, evergreens, and lower shrubs and bushes)
existing berm currently located along the south property line shall be
extended to the ultimate western right of way line of Route 12. Said
berm shall be planted with a minimum of 3 plant units for every 100
- No building shall exceed the height of 40 feet with a 15 foot allowance for architectural features.
recommended conditions will be in conjunction with the tentative
compromise reached by the Villages of Hawthorn Woods, North Barrington,
and Lake County. This compromise includes the reduction in retail space
to 450,000 square feet, with 200,000 square feet of local services and
As I have
personally stated to many of you, this process is not yet over. The
ZBA's recommendation will now proceed to the Lake County's Planning
Building and Zoning Committee on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 in their
County Building at 18 North County Street, Waukegan, at 8:30 am. All
residents are invited to continue their participation on this matter
and voice additional concerns throughout this process before Lake County
either in person or by email to your County Board representatives. The
Village will continue its presence at all meetings in Waukegan and
continue to work within the framework of an IGA (Intergovernmental
Government Agreement) between the County, North Barrington and Hawthorn
Woods. This IGA continues to be in draft form to include many of the
comments and conditions voiced by the participants at these hearings.
The Village will impose our insistence on a smaller scale development
and perimeter buffering for all of our residents.
Finally, if the
County Board does approve the recommendations of the ZBA to rezone, the
property will remain in Estate residential zoning until or unless a
developer comes forward with a final site plan. That plan will need to
go through the full public process before any grading or development can
occur. The applicants are seeking 5 years allowance to market the
property for a developer who would build a project within the planning
standards and conditions outlined throughout this process.
I remain sincere in
my commitment to serve all residents, and I thank you for your support
and trust as we continue to work on behalf of the entire Village to
negate or lessen some of the impacts of the Lake County proposal.
Mayor, Village of Hawthorn Woods
Mayor's Message - Dimucci Conceptual Agreement
I personally wanted to reach out to you to describe the Village's position on the announced conceptual agreement between the Village of Hawthorn Woods, the Village of North Barrington and Lake County.
In February of this year, and without prior discussion, we all learned of the property owner's application for the rezoning of the property. The surrounding villages had not been notified in advance of this application and had not been asked for any input before the process of the application began. This exclusion from the regional planning process, along with the concern of the proposed size and scope, left the Village in a position to strongly oppose the development application before Lake County. While this property does not lie within the municipal boundaries of the Village of Hawthorn Woods, the Village hired professional expert witnesses to testify before the Lake County Planning Commissions to reject the consideration of the proposed development because of its large-scale regional impact.
Your Village's elected officials, professional staff and committee members worked all summer attending numerous public meetings regarding the application. Our experts spoke about major concerns raised through public outcry and pressure by our residents and surrounding neighbors. Of all the concerns raised, a common thread seemed apparent: residents were concerned about the size and scope, height of structures, allowed use, and the impact to local services and residents. With the support of our Village Board, I have consistently advocated for a regional solution that included the stakeholders in a resolution.
Over the last two months, the villages closest to the Route 12 parcel, Hawthorn Woods and North Barrington, sat down to meet in regional planning efforts to address the application for development before the Lake County Government. We stripped away the threats of lawsuits against one another and had direct, professional dialogue regarding our opposition to the lack of municipal involvement. As a result of those initial discussions, the Villages were invited to meet with the planning staff at Lake County and discuss the vision of the Villages as it was depicted in the 2002 IGA that was adopted a decade ago.
After several frank discussions at the planning table, and a word-by-word struggle with the document, it is my belief that the Village of Hawthorn Woods, along with its officials and professional consultants, have designed a conceptual plan for the unincorporated parcel that meets the high-end and low-impact character of our community.
The conceptual agreement we reached with North Barrington and Lake County includes the following provisions:
- The size of any proposed development has been reduced from 800,000 square feet of general commercial to 450,000 square feet of retail with an allowance of an additional 200,000 to be used for restaurants, entertainment, local commercial service, and other neighborhood-oriented uses or general office use.
- Structures within 300 feet of Old McHenry Road will be limited to 35 feet in height, with an additional 15 feet allowed for architectural features.
- A myriad of uses will be prohibited, including gas stations. The prohibited uses were incorporated from our 2002 agreement.
- Lighting will be limited to 0.75 foot candle along Route 12, and 0.25 foot candle along Old McHenry Road, with all lighting meeting Dark Sky criteria.
- Additional screening/buffering with berms and landscaping along frontage abutting Old McHenry Road, and all perimeter properties including unincorporated Lake County residential areas.
- Separate structures, rather than an indoor mall, with individual external entrances will be designed. Other amenities promoting open-air circulation of pedestrians and community plazas will be featured.
- Concurrent review and approval responsibility by the Storm Water Management Commission will be implemented for secondary runoff oversight.
- Performance bond guarantees for landscaping and berming equaling 130% of cost will be mandated.
- Tax Revenue sharing equaling 60% to Lake County and 40% to the Villages of Hawthorn Woods and North Barrington will help each Village manage the impact of development.
These are just some of the conditions that will be imposed on the property should the application be recommended by the Lake County ZBA to the Lake County Board for consideration. Other specific details will be presented at the upcoming Lake County ZBA hearings, where the public will be able to provide input in the continuing rezoning process.
The proposed compromises have not come easily. And while no one walked away with everything they desired, we arrived at these with the support of our Board and through the consultation and advice from our hired legal experts, professional consultants and staff. Please understand that past agreements have not resolved this issue. Instead, they have brought tens of thousands of dollars in collective litigation, acrimony amongst the villages, the county, the property owner and various developers that have spilled over into other interests, village-wide. On the most recent path, we can only expect more of the same results. Unless there is an agreement between all affected governments, we should expect years of litigation and millions of tax dollars spent in the process from all the respective agencies.
I personally have considered the financial risks of years of litigation on a parcel that is not in our Village versus negotiation and arbitration to such a proposed three-party Intergovernmental Agreement. The risks involved to the Village in some of those alternatives are serious and go well beyond impacts to this one parcel of land. After consultation with our legal counsel and professional experts, I believe this to be the best opportunity for us to actually have a seat at the table on the development of a property that lies beyond our municipal control, and the best opportunity for us to influence the outcome of that development that is not in our town.
All residents are invited to continue their participation in this matter and voice additional concerns throughout this process before the Lake County Zoning Board of Appeals. The Village's experts will be present next week for the cross examination of the County's presentation and the Village will present its requests for the reduction of size, height, scope, and massing on the site and the increase in open space and impact fee distribution to include both of the Villages nearby this parcel. While your voices will continue to be heard, the Village will also continue its presence and insistence on a smaller scale development on the perimeter of our town. We have come a long way in two months toward regional inclusion, and we could not have been at the planning table without all of you and your collective voices.
We asked the county to stop the process and include our voices of concern regarding the development. You helped us achieve that delay, got us to the table, and allowed us to negotiate your concerns into an enforceable document that must be implemented by all surrounding government jurisdictions.
I remain sincere in my commitment to serve all residents, and I thank you for your continued support and trust. I look forward to voicing our concerns and remedies publicly during this process as the hearings resume on September 6th, where the Village will present its requests to Lake County. However, I wanted you to hear them from me first. Every resident will continue to be heard at the public hearing before the Lake County ZBA, and all are welcome to add additional concerns to the Village's testimony.
Mayor, Village of Hawthorn Woods
Mayor's Message - RPC Vote Outcome
Last night, July 11, at the
Lake County Regional Plan Commission meeting, the commission voted in
our favor and recommended a denial of the proposed zoning change on the
property at Route 12 and Old McHenry Road, commonly known as the Dimucci
property, to the Lake County Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA).
the meeting the commissioners called on several experts in the audience
including representatives from the Village of Hawthorn Woods. The
commissioners asked questions based on the massive input by residents
and Village representatives. After deliberation by the commission, a
motion was made to approve the application as presented and recommend it
to the Lake County ZBA. The final vote of the commission was 5 nays and
2 yeas, with one commissioner abstaining. The recommendation against
the rezoning request will now proceed to the next hearing board next
would like to thank everyone that was involved in the process of
presenting our views on this issue to the commission - the Village's
voice, your voice, was heard loud and clear. I would like to thank our
Village staff members who have dedicated countless hours of research,
and that of North Barrington for working together with Hawthorn Woods. I
would like to thank our own Village Board, for their support, trust,
and involvement during this initial process. We also express our
gratitude for so many Mayors and Village Presidents from our surrounding
towns who came out to testify on our behalf and testified before the
Lake County Regional Plan Commission to respect our local planning
process, municipal authority, and intergovernmental agreements that
govern this site.
would also like to thank each and every resident who invested time in
order to become informed and involved in the process. Your voice was the
clearest of all to this commission.
was made clear by the RPC Chairman last night, this vote does not stop
the process of the application. The chairman stated, "If voted down,
that does not mean we stopped the process. It is going all the way to
the County Board."
application will now be heard by the Lake County Zoning Board of
Appeals on July 18, 2012 at 5 p.m. at Concorde Banquets, 20922 N. Rand
Road in Kildeer. You can learn more about this upcoming meeting here.
This meeting will be critical in the process, and I encourage every
resident to attend the meeting and offer any comments you may have on
the proposal and process.
Village's position on this issue remains the same. The Village is not
anti-development, but will continue to press for a clear voice and
presence in any development issue in and around our community,
especially one that would bring such impact to our Village. What is
known about this proposal is that the potential size and scope of the
project do not fit with the vision and character of our community. What
is not known about this proposal remains most troubling to the majority
of residents residing in the municipalities surrounding this land on
Route 12 and Old McHenry Road. This proposal asks for a Planned Unit
Development and Special Use Permit without a plan, without a declared
Village of Hawthorn Woods will continue to oppose this proposal as
presented, challenging this process legislatively, procedurally and
legally, while strongly advocating for a true regional solution
involving all stakeholders in the process. Your Village staff, elected
officials and professional consultants are prepared for the next step in
the process. We will be well represented at next weeks meeting of the
Lake County Zoning Board of Appeals. Your presence and involvement will
again clarify our voice.
I thank you again for your support, trust, and for the privilege to serve as your Mayor.
Mayor, Village of Hawthorn Woods
Mayor's Message - July 11, 2012 Update
a great time to live and to serve in the Village of Hawthorn Woods. The
longer I serve in office, the greater my appreciation for our
recent annual 4th of July celebration was just one example of community
spirit made possible by hours of volunteer work, staff planning and
support from our partners. Funding for our event began with our annual
Village Golf Outing fundraiser held in May of this year. Proceeds from
this fundraiser went directly to cover our community event, with
terrific support from friends and vendors of the Village. The 4th of
July event itself had some 40 volunteers who gave up their personal
family time to help make the event possible. You may have encountered
these folks, who are better known as CERT - Community Emergency Response
Team. Along with our staff, our police officers and public works
employees, please join me in thanking these individuals for their
efforts and community spirit.
community activities will continue throughout the summer and early
fall. Our Friday night Concerts in the Park series includes a Farmers
Market and a new, growing collectible car show at Community Park. Check
our website for details about these and all of our Village summer
Continuing our transformation of Village operations, I am excited to report on recently hired team members on our staff:
Erika Frable, Director of Public Works
- Erika is a civil engineer and an excellent administrator. Her talents
are obvious and paying off in the short term, with bigger payoffs in
the long term operation of our village. Erika is the only engineer on
our full-time staff. Her degree and experience bring added value to many
of our departments and operations. Erika fills a vacancy created by the
voluntary departure of the previous director of Public Works.
Matt Bartlett, Superintendent of Public Works & Parks
- Matt joins us with 22 years of experience in Public Works and
operations from the Village of Vernon Hills. A great communicator with
critical skills in the industry, Matt will supervise and innovate our
field teams in the Public Works Department including roads, village
asset management and park maintenance. His employment helps rebuild our
Public Works Department following workforce reductions made in 2008.
Karen Baker, Executive Administrative Assistant
- Karen has been part of our team for several months now, and joined us
with years of administrative experience from the Village of Round Lake.
You may recall the budget cut-backs of 2008 that unfortunately claimed
many job positions in the Village. Karen fills one of those positions,
and in her capacity has become an integral part of our team and
operations. Department heads now have additional support for the
multiple roles and tasks they perform in the Village. Karen fills a
vacancy created by the voluntary departure of the former executive
part-time help has been hired for the summer to assist in road,
property and park maintenance. This strategy helps reduce overtime and
increase our staffing level with part-time labor during the summer
months when it is most needed to provide essential core services to the
continue to build our team in the Village following your Board's
original vision of excellence and the transformation of our operations
to reflect a modern small business. I am thrilled at the progress in
this respect, I look forward to the future benefits, and I am eager to
continue down this path.
As Mayor I work on many issues with varying timelines. As an update to some important issues:
- This month, our Finance Committee completed its research and has
recommended to the Village Board to place a municipal electric
aggregation referendum question on the Nov. 6, 2012 ballot. This item
will go before the Board for a vote at its July 16 meeting at 7 p.m. The
Village decided to take a different approach to this issue, and has
been monitoring early results from municipalities that have already
chosen to consider electrical aggregation. In short, the Village would
negotiate for electrical power from a third party supplier at reduced
costs per wattage used. This cost savings would be passed on to the
residential customers. The program would be an "opt out" program, where
each resident would have the opportunity to simply opt out of the
program. An educational and informational effort will be conducted prior
to asking for resident input at the ballot box.
- At July's Board meeting, the Board also will be considering a
change to our open burning ordinance. The current ordinance allows for
controlled open burning of leaves and twigs during certain times of the
year. Staff has conducted research on this issue and presented findings.
Our Environmental Committee has been discussing this issue for some
time, and the Board will consider a change in this ordinance at our next
Board meeting, scheduled for July 16 at 7 p.m. This ordinance is being
considered in the spirit of a clean air action, and in response to
- You may have recently noticed some grading activity on property
in our Village along Midlothian Road. The contractor on this project is
grading the property, preparing it for an eventual development
opportunity. As part of an agreement with the village, the contractor
will provide maintenance on Kruger Road. With the installation of sewer
service to the Midlothian Corridor now complete, projects such as this
bring development one step closer to shovel ready status.
- You may have heard news recently regarding a new grocery store
coming to the area - Mariano's Fresh Market. The chain will be opening a
new grocery store at the northwest corner of Quentin Road and Route 22
in Lake Zurich. What you may not have heard is that the Village of
Hawthorn Woods will be receiving 20 percent of the sales tax revenue
generated from this exciting new venue. After resolving interpretations
of several intergovernmental agreements with neighboring villages
regarding this property, Hawthorn Woods entered into a
multi-jurisdictional sales tax revenue sharing agreement with Kildeer
and Lake Zurich. It is a landmark agreement, the first of its kind for
Hawthorn Woods, locking in hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue
in perpetuity for our Village.
- The recent rezoning application on the Route 12 and Old McHenry
Road property before the Lake County Regional Plan Commission is still
pending a vote from the commission. Our Village continues efforts in
opposition of the rezoning as currently presented in Lake County. The
Village is not anti-development, and I will continue to strongly
advocate for a solution that best serves the interests of all
stakeholders in the process. I believe such a solution would be better
achieved prior to any further action by Lake County on this application.
We continue to actively monitor and take part in the process to date.
you should have any questions or comments, please feel free to drop me a
note directly. I thank you for your continued support, and for the
privilege to serve as your Mayor.
Warmest personal regards,
Mayor, Village of Hawthorn Woods
Dimucci Property Update - June 6, 2012
This Thursday, June 7, the Lake County Regional Plan Commission (RPC) will hold its first of three public meetings to consider and review the application by the Dimucci family to rezone property generally located at Rt. 12 and Old McHenry Road. The meeting will be held from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Concorde Banquets, 20922 N. Rand Road in Kildeer.
The application is a request for rezoning the property from the current residential Estate Zoning to General Commercial zoning with a planned unit development that would allow up to 800,000 square feet of development on 53 acres of the property. The RPC will evaluate this application for consistency with Lake County’s Comprehensive Plan.
According to a notice from the Lake County planning department, the June 7 meeting will include a presentation from “the developer” – which I assume to actually be the property owner because there is no development contemplated at this time – and the Lake County Planning Building and Development Department. These presentations will be followed by public comment.
The notice indicated two additional public meetings of the RPC scheduled for June 20 and June 25 at the same location and time as the first public meeting this Thursday. The notice also stated the June 20 meeting will focus primarily on public comment, while at the June 25 meeting the RPC will discuss and deliberate the application.
The Village of Hawthorn Woods will be well represented at all of these meetings by elected officials, staff and professional consultants. Our representatives will offer comments and testimony relating to Lake County’s process and the actual application being considered. I anticipate the Village of North Barrington will also be well prepared to offer comments and testimony to the RPC. If time is short, we will be prepared to deliver our comments at the next RPC meeting.
Just as with the last RPC meeting, I encourage all residents to attend the scheduled meeting in order to be informed and offer comments to the RPC.
As outlined at our February Village Board meeting, we will continue to oppose this application as presented. We will continue to challenge the process and this application statutorily, legislatively and legally in order to protect our rights, our municipal authority and the voices of our residents.
Thank you for your continued trust and support.
Mayor, Village of Hawthorn Woods
Dimucci Property Update 2
On Monday, February 6, the Lake County
Regional Planning Commission held its public meeting to consider a Zoning
Change, and a Conditional Use Permit for a Planned Unit Development on the
property commonly known at the Dimucci property.
The meeting was to be held in a
community room at the Ela Area Public Library. After some words from Lake
County staff, the Dimucci family began to present their application and
proposal. It was obvious to most in attendance that the room would not be able
to hold all of the people who came to take part in the meeting. As the
presentation continued, police and fire personnel had to keep a crowd of
approximately 50 people from entering the room, keeping them in the hallway.
As a point of order, the
Village of Hawthorn Woods objected to the continuation of the meeting until a
larger venue could be provided, and a more convenient time be set for the
meeting so that the public would have the best opportunity to attend. The
Village of North Barrington also made a point of order, echoing our concerns.
Furthermore, there was an objection as to the time of day this meeting was
being held. After some resistance from the Commission chair, the entire
commission voted to continue the meeting to a future date and location. We will
update our website and inform you via e-mail as information becomes available.
Our strategy remains as before,
to object to the process, the lack of a plan, and the disregard for local
municipal authority and participation. The Village was well represented at the
meeting with Village Board, staff members, and our professional consultants
being present, and we will be well prepared to attend all future meetings.
I want to personally thank all
of those who attended the meeting. The large attendance at this meeting sent a
clear message to the applicant and the county. On behalf of the Village of
Hawthorn Woods Board of Trustees, I encourage your continued involvement.
Information on this issue will
be updated on the Village of Hawthorn Woods' website.
Please pass this email on to your friends and neighbors. Encourage them to
register their email with the Village through our website for future updates.
On behalf of our Board of
Trustees, I thank you for your continued support.
Mayor Joseph Mancino
Village of Hawthorn Woods
Dimucci Property Update
wanted to reach out and thank all of the residents and guests who
attended our Village Board meeting on Thursday evening to express their
thoughts regarding the upcoming Lake County Regional Planning Commission
meeting. We have received many calls, emails, and correspondence in
support of the Village of Hawthorn Wood’s action.
Lake County Regional Planning Commission (LCRPC) will be holding a
public meeting on Monday, February 6, at 3 p.m. at the Ela Area Public
Library. The owners of the parcel, generally located at Old McHenry Road
and Rt. 12 (also known as the Dimucci Property), have made application
to Lake County for a zoning change and a Conditional Use Permit for a
Planned Unit Development. This application will be considered at
Monday’s meeting of the LCRPC. The agenda for this meeting can be found here.
subject of this meeting, and the action taken by the Village of
Hawthorn Woods at our special call board meeting have a long history in
our region. During the period of 1998-1999 Taubman Properties proposed a
regional shopping center on this property. The Village of North
Barrington as well as the Village of Hawthorn Woods considered this
proposal. Both villages made attempts to annex this property, eventually
leading to costly litigation. Meanwhile, residents of Hawthorn Woods,
North Barrington, and surrounding unincorporated areas began a grass
roots effort in opposition to the shopping center proposal.
the Village of Hawthorn Woods and North Barrington settled their legal
dispute. In April of 1999 the two villages agreed to an
Intergovernmental Boundary Agreement outlining a harmonious plan for
land use and revenue sharing. This agreement outlines a mixed use of
commercial, light office, and residential use aligning with existing
residents in Hawthorn Woods and the surrounding area. In the early
2000s, the Village of Hawthorn Woods secured and purchased sewer
capacity from Lake Zurich and water rights to specifically serve this
property in accordance with our Boundary agreement, and in anticipation
of eventual annexation of the property into the Village of Hawthorn
Thursday, January 26, 2012, the Village received a notice from Lake
County regarding this zoning change/PUD application. The village
received the same bulk mail notice that was sent to the residents in the
area. I was stunned by the notice, and by how it was communicated by
the county. The short notice given prior to the meeting of the LCRPC
equally surprised our staff. Since that time, the village has been
working long hours to prepare a strategy of opposition to the process
and the application as submitted.
Thursday, February 2, the Village of Hawthorn Woods held a special call
meeting of the Board of Trustees. Discussions among the Board and
comments from the public led to the unanimous approval of a resolution
in opposition to the proposal. You can view the resolution here.
our board meeting, the village outlined our efforts during the short
time since we have been noticed of the proposals to Lake County:
a meeting of the Mayors of Hawthorn Woods, North Barrington, Hawthorn
Woods staff, and legal counsel of both Villages. Discussed strategies
and cost sharing.
- Met with and retained special legal counsel to assist us in our official and statutory objections.
- Met with and retained a professional expert in the field of civic planning to assist us and object on our behalf.
with our Village engineers to assist us in objecting to the
infrastructure plan contemplated in the proposal, and to assist us in
presenting our stake in water and sewer to the property.
efforts begun by the Village Board to our County Board members,
neighboring community elected officials, and other regional elected
officials in a legislative effort objecting to the proposal.
During our board meeting we had an overwhelming support from the public in attendance. We also had public support expressed by:
Legal Representative of the Village of North Barrington. North
Barrington is in lockstep with our efforts. Their board will be
considering the same resolution in objection passed by Hawthorn Woods.
- Village President Kathleen Leitner of Tower Lakes gave us her public support.
- The Chairperson of the Barrington Area Council of Governments (BACOG) gave us their support.
- The entire Village of Hawthorn Woods Board of Trustees expressed their support.
Chairperson, and several members of the Village of Hawthorn Woods
Planning, Building, and Zoning committee expressed their public support.
staff also prepared an informational hand out sheet regarding the
proposal, and how to contact elected officials and county officials to
express their objections. That list is available here. I anticipate our
list of supporters to grow during this process.
of Hawthorn Woods to not only objects to the application as submitted,
but to the process by which it is being considered by the various County
commissions and the County board. The applicant is specifically asking
- A rezoning of the property from Estate to General Commercial (GC)
- A conditional use permit for a Planned Unit Development.
- An automatic extension to 5 years (usual 2 years) to the Planned Unit Development.
are not objecting to a “mall.” An actual plan is NOT being submitted
for the property. This application, if eventually approved by the
County, would provide for blind zoning on the property for the current
owner, or any other owner that may purchase it in the future.
application, if approved, would allow for up to 800,000 square feet of
retail space, building heights of up to 65 feet, and millions of square
feet of parking surface. In contrast, the Boundary Agreement signed in
1999 between Hawthorn Woods and North Barrington and then amended in
2002 calls for half of the retail space as a maximum, and building
heights no more than 30 feet, and a mixed residential component. While
the applicant supplies a “pattern book” showing possible architectural
styles and uses, there are no requirements mandated by these suggested
materials and styles. In general practice, a PUD status is awarded only
in conjunction with a supplied plan of development. This is only part of
our objection to the process.
a boundary agreement exists between Hawthorn Woods and North Barrington
covering this property and despite our ownership of infrastructure
service rights, this application and how it was submitted gives no
consideration to the local municipal authorities.
Monday, the Village of Hawthorn Woods will be well represented in
objecting to the proposal at the LCRPC meeting. Your help is critical in
this process. The Village fully supports grass roots efforts by our
residents and those others affected in the area that desire to oppose
the plan and the process. Anyone can attend the LCRPC board meeting this
Monday, February 6, and address this County commission with any of your
concerns. The meeting time is 3 p.m., but it will continue until 7 p.m.
to allow for public comment.
Village of Hawthorn Woods Board of Trustees will support the voice of
its residents. We are committed to communicating our actions and
information to the public as this issue develops. Please pass this
message on to your neighbors and friends and encourage them to register
on our website for timely updates.
I thank you in advance for your continued support and the trust you have placed in our Board.
Mayor Joseph Mancino
Village Board, Staff Oppose Aqua Illinois Rate Increases
In early January, I traveled with staff to an Illinois Commerce Commission meeting to formally object on behalf of the residents to the proposed Aqua Illinois water and sewer rate increases. Then, at the Village Board's January 17 meeting, the Trustees unanimously passed a resolution opposing these excessive and capricious rate increases
Additionally, I encourage all Aqua Illinois customers in Hawthorn Woods to contact the ICC to object to these rate increases
before that regulatory body takes action at the end of February.
Please know that your Village Board and staff are working on your behalf to try to effect change. Also, see below for the text of my letter to the ICC that I read into the record at a public hearing earlier this year.
Mayor Joseph Mancino
527 E. Capitol
Chairman Doug Scott,
Commissioners Lula M. Ford, Erin M. O’Connell-Diaz, Sherman J. Elliot, and John T. Colgan.
Re: 11-0436 Aqua
Illinois, Inc., Proposed general increase in water and sewer rates.
I am Joseph Mancino, the Mayor of the Village
of Hawthorn Woods, located in
southeastern Lake County, Illinois. Today, I would like to comment on
Aqua Illinois’ rate increase request before the ICC and its impact on a large
portion of our residents and businesses. I am representing our Village Board
and the Hawthorn Woods residents that would be impacted by this overly
burdensome rate increase request.
Our Village is in a unique situation relating to this
proposal, as we have two types of Aqua Illinois customers in Hawthorn Woods.
One type of customer purchases their water from Lake County through a bulk
water rate agreement with Aqua Illinois, while the other purchases their water
directly from Aqua. These water and sewer customers make up approximately 30
percent of the homes in Village, and 50 percent of our businesses.
With regards to our residents who buy water in wholesale
rates through Lake County, I ask the Commission to consider the potential
financial impacts of the proposal, as well as the recent crushing
infrastructure costs that each resident had to bear just 18 months ago. The EPA
mandated an upgrade to the County-owned system that resulted in a direct cost
of more than $11,000 per home. This was not including any upgrades necessary to
their own plumbing. Many residents suffered loss and endured financial
hardship. In some cases it was a crushing loss, as some residents could not
afford the payments for the new infrastructure and retain their home.
Aqua is proposing a rate increase to these already-burdened residents
that would result in a 30 percent increase in their water costs. Aqua, Hawthorn
Woods, and Lake
County all recently
agreed to a rate structure for these residents. Just two weeks after reaching
this agreement, Aqua requested this excessive rate increase and broke its
commitment to our residents.
Also, please consider that the infrastructure paid for by
our residents was constructed just 18 months ago, making Aqua’s arguments of
needed upgrades seem unfounded and unfair. The added unjustified burden of this
proposed rate increase makes the simple delivery of potable water for these
residents an ongoing and unprecedented financial strain.
With regards to our other type of Aqua customers, those who
buy directly from Aqua, their rates will also be greatly affected. Residential
wastewater bills would rise 45 percent, while water bills to these 400
households would rise a whopping 70 percent. This represents an increase of
more than $764 per year for the average customer.
These customers also received a 35 percent increase in their
bill from Aqua in 2008, and now are being asked bear the burden of this
additional increase. If approved, these homeowners will endure a total increase
of 113 percent in about 36 months. This is infrastructure that is nearly 7
years old, with no known improvements planned to the village.
In an agreement among Aqua, the Village, and a developer,
Aqua again agreed to certain rates for these residents, and, again, Aqua has
not come close to honoring those rates. Utility companies should not use
deceptive practices to bait-and-switch rates.
I see a pattern with Aqua in these instances in our Village,
and I ask the commission to also consider these points regarding Aqua’s
- Aqua’s proposal for a rate increase mentions a possible
Village-imposed franchise charge of 3 percent of the amount billed. This
village board has not considered and is not considering such an agreement with
Aqua. For Aqua to propose to have this right is disingenuous at best. IF the
Village should ever consider such an agreement, Aqua would surely get benefit
from such an agreement, and not an entitlement to charge our residents more
- The timing of Aqua’s rate increase filings came
just two weeks after agreeing to a new rate agreement with the Village of
Hawthorn Woods and Lake County on supply and rates for a new group of
customers. In fact, Aqua notified the Village of the rate increase filing just
24 hours prior to the actual filings.
I ask the Commission to consider the rate shock that Aqua’s
proposal would cause to some 624 homeowners in our Village. I ask the
Commission to consider the equity and fair treatment of customers so that those
costs incurred by expansion and improvement of utility services are paid by
those who caused those costs and enjoy their benefits. In this case, our
residents did not cause any additional infrastructure costs to justify this
I ask the Commission
to consider a significantly reduced rate increase, as well as the phasing in of
ANY increases granted over a reasonable term to cushion the blow to the
residents of Hawthorn Woods.
Thank you for your time.
Mayor of the Village
of Hawthorn Woods
Welcome to Our New Website
Welcome to the Village of Hawthorn Woods' new website. As some of you may know, I ran for this office on a platform of open government. This new website makes the Village more transparent and more accessible to residents and other stakeholders.
Residents can now report potholes and road damage using their smart phones as well as file a Freedom of Information Request using our simple form. An improved search function allows visitors to the site to find the information they are looking for with ease. This improved communication tool also allows you to contact me, Village Board members, and Village staff using special forms.
Feel free to contact me using this form
with any comments or suggestions you may have to make our new website an even better asset for our community.
Mayor Joseph Mancino