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Mission Hills' Residents Try to Protect 40 Year Old Planned Unit Development at Two Public Meetings This Week
Red Seal Launches Media Blitz to Attack Owners Protecting Scarce Open Lands, Their Homes, Property Values, & Way of Life

Monday, November 10, 2014
Special to suffredin.org
by MIssion Hills' Residents

Two High Stakes Meetings Today & Tomorrow

#1 Red Seal Rezoning Remanded ZBA Public Hearing

Monday, November 10, 1 pm, Niles Human Services

999 Civic Center Drive, SE Corner of Oakton & Waukegan

 

#2 Northbrook Trustees' Board Meeting

Tuesday, November 11, 7:30 pm, 1225 Cedar Lane

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Two important public meetings this week will help determine the fate of the 40 year old planned unit development (PUD), Mission Hills Country Club Village, in unincorporated Northbrook. Red Seal Development Corporation is a local developer that has set its sights on Mission Hills, attempting to gobble up 44 acres within the long-established mixed-use community of singles, couples, families and retirees living quietly as they enjoy peaceful, open spaces and the environment.

Mission Hills was designed as an integrated community with the open lands of its separately-owned golf course surrounding the condominium buildings and townhouses. Red Seal is attempting to carve its own PUD out of half of the Mission Hills golf course. PUD's are not supposed to be broken up, but the ZBA (Cook County Zoning Board of Appeals) has an opinion from the State's Attorney's office that allowed Red Seal to apply for rezoning permits although the ZBA is claiming Attorney/Client Privilege and will not make that ruling public.

If the rezoning is allowed, it will be at the expense of more than 1000 homeowners and residents in Mission Hills and the surrounding neighborhoods. Owners' serenity, property values, and the permeable, open spaces are at risk. The only winner would be Red Seal, not owners, neighbors, the flora, the fauna, or the environment.

Red Seal must be very concerned about the public outcry from the vast majority of Mission Hills' residents and neighbors against its proposed development or it would not have mailed apparently desperate, last-ditch letters of appeal to all Mission Hills' residents or paid for full-page ads in almost all the area's newspapers last week. Red Seal even trotted out the old red herring to scare residents that one of their developments would be better than a nursing home that could have been built instead! NO, the open spaces we already have are better than anyone's development could possibly be!

The Mission Hills golf course has had several owners through the years and was never owned by the Master HOA, which is comprised of 13 sub-associations. A few officers on the Master HOA decided to negotiate a set of Agreements with the golf course's new owners and Red Seal, which had an option to buy 9 holes of the golf course almost immediately after it was sold to the current owners in Spring, 2013.

Unfortunately, those officers didn't consult the rest of the board about their intent to negotiate for concessions such as a landscaping fund for a buffer between the developments. They expected owners to believe the propaganda that the permits were a "done deal" and that it would be fruitless to fight against Red Seal.

A few officers railroaded through a vote to accept the Agreements on June 19, which is when the Agreements were announced to owners who happened to be at the meeting! The HOA president decided that the HOA should remain "neutral," but Red Seal has portrayed HOA's position as in favor of the Red Seal development, which is not true. There is nothing in the Agreements that even required HOA to be "neutral" and they do not go into effect unless Red Seal's rezoning permits are granted.

Many owners did not think that the "done deal" could possibly be true and chose to fight for our community. We chose to believe that fighting this rezoning attempt was the right thing to do in order to preserve our community and protect the precious environment and natural habitat of the flora and fauna. Mission Hills' owners who were appalled and felt "thrown under the bus," scrambled to organize a defense with less than three weeks' notice that there was a public hearing and that the Master HOA was not going to fight for our zoning, as expected.

Red Seal certainly didn’t go to any effort against Mission Hills Openlands' opposition for the July 9 hearing. Red Seal and their attorney, Jimmy Banks, evidently thought it was going to be a cakewalk and were surprised by the crowd that showed up, requiring a continuance until July 21 for more space at Glenbrook North.

The HOA/Red Seal Agreements DO NOT approve or disapprove the Red Seal development rezoning requests. Red Seal has disingenuously implied to the ZBA, the Village of Northbrook, and local media that the Master HOA has shown approval of Red Seal's rezoning requests, but that is not true. Red Seal's comments appear to have willfully misled the unwitting public and government officials into inferring that the Agreements approve what most residents feel is Red Seal's transparent attempt at a hostile takeover of our community's open spaces.

Government officials are charged to protect the environment's open lands and citizens. Thus, we feel assured that the Cook County Board of Commissioners, the ZBA, and the Northbrook Trustees will protect and maintain Mission Hills' open lands and its environmentally sensitive status. We appreciate the Village of Northbrook's intent to carefully consider this issue at Tuesday's meeting and present their potential objection (Link Below) at Monday's ZBA hearing where Mission HIlls Openlands will be represented by our attorney, Bernard I. Citron.

The incorporated and unincorporated adjacent sections of western Northbrook are dependent on the Mission Hills' watershed for drainage. Mission Hills' open spaces are integral to the Des Plaines River watershed's drainage. Mission Hills' elevation declines almost 25 feet from the east side of the property to the west as the tributaries within Mission Hills move toward the Des Plaines River, a short distance away.

Northbrook has massive stormwater management issues throughout the Village. In the last decade, neighbors and Mission Hills have been exposed to an accelerating number of flashfloods. Flooding is prevalent as water backs up to the east and in surrounding neighborhoods and Mission Hills during storms. This is a very serious problem and we are heartened that it has become a priority in the state's new stormwater management legislation.

We know that the county and the Village recognize that watersheds are a community responsibility and know no boundaries. If these open spaces are not a golf course, then they could be a stormwater management retention area designed as a private nature preserve, similar to the beautiful, public nature preserve and water retention at The Glen.

Hundreds of trees would be clear-cut if Red Seal's permits are granted. Look at Meadow Ridge, Westgate, or the synagogue under construction on Techny to visualize what that devastating loss of trees would mean for residents in Mission Hills and its neighbors. In addition to their beauty and the air purification benefits, those trees are needed to absorb runoff and help to ameliorate flooding. How many decades would it take for Red Seal's newly planted trees to grow to maturity so they would be beneficial?



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