Buffalo Grove on Thursday held an open house at the Arboretum Club to kick off village planning efforts for the area around the Prairie View Metra Station.
The area of Lake County to the north, which encompasses both incorporated and unincorporated properties, is beginning to feel development pressure, the village's community development director, Chris Stilling, said. It has experienced growth in recent years with such residential developments as the Easton Station and Prairie Landing townhouses.
The village will go through a seven-month process resulting in a vision for the area. The process will incorporate community input, the expertise of consultant RATIO Architects, and feedback from a steering committee consisting of property owners, business owners and representatives of such agencies as Metra and Vernon Township.
Stilling said there are a number of "for sale" signs on properties in the area, many of which are outside the village border, and he is greeted regularly by inquiries from developers.
"Right now, we don't really have a plan. I can't give very good direction," Stilling said. "So what ends up happening is you have a developer-driven plan which puts the village and the community in a reactive position. We want to be able to be put in a more proactive position, to help prevent hodgepodge, piecemeal development."
The evening included various exercises to engage people in the planning process.
Project head Lesley Roth of RATIO presided over a table with cards depicting various images intended to help people think about a vision for the Prairie View Station Area, taking notes on the results. At another station, visitors used blocks to create a physical model of what Prairie View should look like.
Corinne LeVine, referring to the limited Metra Service on the North Central line, said, "If this would bring better train service, then that would be a plus."
Resident Dan Lewis said, "My top thing that I want is a sidewalk down Main Street." During the winter when he is getting off the train and heading home, "It's always dark. I'm worried that cars are going to hit me."
He also said the area around the train tracks is ugly. He'd like to see trees or bushes to make it look more attractive.
Justin and Stephanie Levenbrook, who live in Whispering Oaks, expressed concern the impact of residential development. "We don't want overcrowded classrooms," he said. "We would like to have more quality restaurants in the area too. Look at Lincolnshire. They did a great job, opening a lot of restaurants."
For more information on the plan, visit www.prairieviewbg.com