Here’s the winter letter to Lakewood residents from Village President Erin Smith:
From the President
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we want to extend our very best wishes for a joyous holiday season to each of you and your families.
There are a number of issues and projects which merit mention, and these are summarized below:
As I have stated on numerous occasions, economic development is a priority for both the staff and elected officials. Not only does the addition of businesses provide new and accessible products and services for our residents, but diversification of our tax base is the most significant step we can take toward lowering our property tax rate (still the second lowest municipal rate in McHenry County).
Our newest business, Confetti Gourmet, opened at the end of September and has had great success to date. In addition to offering a variety of cooking classes for both youth and adults, there is a “Gourmet to Go” option that provides a healthy homemade dinner solution for busy families. As a patron of this feature, I am happy to provide a personal testimony! Confetti Gourmet also offers catering and a variety of in store spices and herbs.
I am also pleased to report that Steve Middaugh will be opening an Edward Jones office at Lakewood Commons in March. Steve Middaugh has been a financial advisor since 2002. The Lakewood Commons address for this new location is 8505 Redtail Drive, Suite K and the telephone number is 815-356-5401. Please join me in welcoming Steve and his staff to the Village of Lakewood.
We are also in discussions with a bakery to assume another one of the units at Lakewood Commons. If successful, only two units will remain open at Lakewood Commons. As always, please do not hesitate to contact our Village Manager, Catherine Peterson, with any prospects for commercial development within our community.
We are also experiencing an increase in residential development as three new homes have been built in The Reserves and a number of new homes are also under construction in Woodland Hills. Eight new townhomes are also under construction in The Highlands at RedTail. Several other new homes are under construction on scattered lots throughout the community. We anticipate that the spring will bring numerous building permits for new homes.
On a larger scale, the Board of Trustees has taken the first steps in the creation of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District in the area of the Illinois Route 47 and Illinois Route 176 intersections.
TIF is a program authorized by State Statute that allocates future increases in property taxes from a designated area (or TIF District) to pay for improvements within that area. Normally, property is taxed by several different governmental jurisdictions.
The property taxes levied on a parcel of property are allocated to each district in accordance with its tax rate.
Under TIF, property taxes resulting from increased value due to new development, rehabilitation or improvement, property appreciation, equalization, or rate changes are all allocated to the municipality.
It is another step in the realization of our long term strategic plan for high quality commercial development in this corridor.
A Public Hearing about the proposed TIF District will be held at 7:00 p.m. on January 13, 2015 at Turnberry Country Club. A copy of the TIF Eligibility Study is available on the front page of the Village’s website.
Architectural Review Committee
Pursuant to the direction of the Board of Trustees, a group of residents was called together to serve as the Architectural Review Task Force. The group consisted of an architect, a builder, a trustee, and a staff member.
Meeting over the course of the past few months, the Architectural Review Task Force was asked to review and analyze our existing architectural review process and identify areas of improvement. Their efforts resulted in two primary recommendations. The first was to incorporate architectural guidelines throughout the Municipal Code into a single location, which resulted in the creation of a new chapter of the Municipal Code – Chapter 36 Architectural Review Process. The second recommendation was to dissolve the Architectural Review Committee and replace it with a Village Architect, who has been serving as the Chairman of the Architectural Review Committee for many years. A summary of some of the more significant changes regarding building design and materials are listed below:
- Consistent, but not redundant message requiring continuity of design and detail, as well as the harmonious use of materials. While vertical termination is still prohibited at an outside corner, the Village will now allow for an 18” wrap of the masonry material.
- A run of an exterior wall greater than 36’ will require a visual break.
- Variations to the required 7/12 roof pitch will be allowed, provided the pitch is consistent with the architectural design of the project.
- “Bubble” type skylights may be considered.
- There are no minimum R-value requirements for windows, which allows the existing Energy Code to appropriately establish minimum standards. Windows must be aluminum or vinyl clad wood or fiberglass composition.
- Exterior mechanical requires screening.
- Ornamental lights do not need to be “carriage” lights and the type of bulb is no longer regulated. Colored bulbs remain prohibited.
- Treated engineered wood is an acceptable exterior finish.
- Standing seam metal is an acceptable roofing material. Roofing must have a minimum wind resistance of 110 miles per hour.
- Fences and pools will be subject to the standard building permit review but will no longer require architectural review.
Our sincere thanks are extended to Trustee Carl Davis, resident/architect Pat Harris, resident/builder Keith DuShane, and Deputy Village Manager Shannon Andrews for their efforts to streamline our process while upholding our high architectural standards.
Building Department Updates
We are happy to announce that the Village has hired a new part-time Building Inspector, Brian Fragassi. Brian comes to the Village with a solid background, including municipal inspection experience and multiple certifications. He will be splitting his time between working mornings and afternoons to accommodate a variety of inspection needs.
East Side Sewer
I am pleased to report that we have successfully reached an Interim Agreement with the City of Crystal Lake until the installation of the new sewer mains on the East Side.
We are actively working with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) for final engineering approval of the project and to secure a low interest loan. Our goal continues to be to bid the project in the winter and begin work as soon as weather permits. Thank you to the residents who were able to attend the public presentation about the project on October 14. As a reminder, a report about the East Sewer project is available on the front page of the Village of Lakewood’s website.
The summer of 2014 included one the largest roadway programs ever undertaken by the Village of Lakewood, and the program for the summer of 2015 will be even more significant. The entire length of Lakewood Road will be repaved from Haligus Road to Ackman Road, with the addition of bicycle lanes. Lake Avenue will be repaved from Huntley Road to our western corporate limits. As a reminder, 80% of this cost will be paid for with grant funds.
Additionally, I am pleased to report that the Village has recently secured another roadway grant. This specific grant will pay for the repaving of Lake Avenue from our eastern corporate limits to Huntley Road. The total cost is expected to be $850,016 and the reimbursement will be $648,013.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me with questions regarding any Village related matter.