Salem Lakes rejects agreement that would open Silver Lake parcel for development

A environmental corridor mitigation agreement between a developer and Salem Lakes was rejected by the Village Board in a split vote Monday.

The agreement between the village and Bear Development would have allowed a parcel along Cogswell Drive east of Lakeview Drive to be developed with 27 homes by swapping a primary environmental corridor on the site with another, larger piece of land about three-quarters of a mile north that Bear would have created as a prairie.

Trustees split on a motion by Trustee Bill Hopkins to reject the agreement with Trustees Hopkins, Ted Kmiec and Dennis Faber voting to reject the agreement and Trustees Ron Gandt, Mike Culat and Dan Campion voting against the rejection. President Diann Tesar broke the tie by voting to reject the agreement.

Earlier in the meeting, several residents of the neighborhood adjoining the parcel spoke out against approving the agreement, citing concerns about flooding and density.

On the agenda, was a presentation by Paul Maggio who owns land near the property. He made a case for rejecting the agreement. Instead, he said Bear should develop about half the homes it sought to build and leave the environmental corridor on the site intact.

Maggio said that the property absorbs a lot of water.

“This area of the village doesn’t have primary environmental corridor to spare,” Maggio said. “It’s doing the job it was meant to do. The corridor should remain here and do its job, preventing flooding.”

While village staff did not have a formal recommendation on whether to approve the agreement, some made points that seemed to favor approval.

Village administrator Mike Murdock said approving the agreement would in staff’s opinion be better for the lake than the current situation. It would give the village some control over two parcels that flow into Silver Lake.

Storm water concerns caused by development of the site nearer the lake would be addressed by a storm water plan required before construction started, said Bradly Zautcke, utility districts administrator and land use coordinator.

“We believe the offsite mitigation would do better in benefiting everyone,” Murdock said.

Village attorney Richard Scholze said that while the property to be developed is designated as a primary environmental corridor it would not quailify as such in its current state, in which it was clear cut of trees and is now mowed.

“You have a chance to benefit the village by controlling two parcels,” Scholze said.

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