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posted: 12/7/2022 1:31 PM

Glenview trustees support new Willows Crossing proposal

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  • Rendering of the Willow-Pfingsten property development proposal being reviewed by the Glenview Village Board. Glenview trustees vote 4-2 Tuesday to send Willows Crossing Shopping Center to a second consideration.

    Rendering of the Willow-Pfingsten property development proposal being reviewed by the Glenview Village Board. Glenview trustees vote 4-2 Tuesday to send Willows Crossing Shopping Center to a second consideration.
    Courtesy of village of glenview

 
 

Glenview village trustees voted 4-2 Tuesday to send GW Properties' plan for a 57,000-square-foot, five-building commercial development at Willow and Pfingsten roads to a second hearing on Jan. 5.

The approval came despite 28 residents speaking against the proposal that would rezone the 8.3-acre property from residential to light business. Tuesday's discussion lasted 3 hours and 25 minutes.

But it's the umpteenth consideration of the Willows Crossing Shopping Center proposal, which has gone through more than three years of debate spanning different commissions, boards and even village presidents and recently was twice tabled for further tweaking.

"I've lost track of how many times this board has been asked to vote on this," said Glenview Trustee Chuck Gitles.

The saga includes a 2019 court decision successfully appealed by a neighboring group of residents opposed to the development -- and the developer's current, stayed suit against the village after trustees denied a previous plan in 2021.

Rendering of the Willow-Pfingsten property development proposal being reviewed by the Glenview Village Board. Glenview trustees vote 4-2 Tuesday to send Willows Crossing Shopping Center to a second consideration.
Rendering of the Willow-Pfingsten property development proposal being reviewed by the Glenview Village Board. Glenview trustees vote 4-2 Tuesday to send Willows Crossing Shopping Center to a second consideration. - Courtesy of village of glenview

"Everything is better now compared to what was proposed three years ago," Gitles said, noting discarded aspects like a 35,000-square-foot Amazon Fresh store. "As a steward of this community it's our job to find the best possible outcome and the least risk.

"Given the surety and permanence of this option versus the risk of a judge with no familiarity, essentially no ties to the community, and making a decision that we could regret, it is my position to take the improvement in front of us," he said ahead of Tuesday's vote.

Gitles was joined by trustees Jim Bland, Mary Cooper and Tim Doron.

Trustee Gina DeBoni, concerned with the center's interior circulation and that a third commercial development at the busy intersection didn't mesh with "the look and feel of Glenview," voted against the proposal.

As did Trustee Adam Sidoti, who favored a zoning change but not a site plan he thought too dense.

Aiding GW Properties Principal Mitch Goltz's case as the property owner were adjustments his team made since the trustees requested changes at the last meeting on Nov. 15.

They included retaining residential zoning on the south end of the property closest to residents living along nearby Miller Drive, a "no build" covenant on the property's south and east sides, extension of a south berm to the east of the property to shield neighbors' views and, crucially, signage restricting outbound left turns onto Pfingsten Road from 7-9 a.m. and 3-6 p.m. weekdays.

Throughout these meetings the consistent worry of both the public and trustees was the danger traffic posed whether at the Pfingsten curb cut, the crosswalk down the street, the Willow-Pfingsten intersection, or cars cruising on side roads such as Miller Drive. Also, inside the complex where a potential 140 children and their parents' cars will visit a proposed school and day care center.

"This proposed zoning and site plan does not solve the fundamental flaws of site location, site accessibility and vehicle and pedestrian safety," said Brett Hanley, who along with Miller Drive neighbor Carol Sullivan led the residential opposition.

"While as an immediate neighbor I do appreciate some of the mitigations, this proposal is an accident waiting to happen," Hanley said.

In Bland's explanation as to why he would support the project, he noted adjustments to the proposal since an early rendition that included a gas station.

"What a long, strange trip it's been," Bland said quoting the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia and lyricist Robert Hunter. "In short, when you take emotions out of this and look at the current plan, objectively taking into consideration all the changes and concessions that have been made, this is a good deal in front of us."