Just as Lewis and Clark opened up the Northwest Territory for the United States, Rawson’s Bryn Mawr Corporation did the same out west near Route 47 north of Route 176 where you can see the Ryland Homes subdivision sign.
Things surely cannot have worked out the way he had hoped, though.
Laying the sewer pipe north of Route 176 didn’t work the way it was planned.
A peat bog got in the way.
Trying to fix the problem by digging under Route 176 to bypass the peat bog didn’t work out as planned either.
It was supposed to be finished in August, but, then, the rains came. 10 inches of it.
The pipes that were stacked at Haligus Road are now gone, presumably underground.
But machinery is still visible at what I believe is a lift station location behind the landscaping company on Briarwood. (If you want to see what happened when land on the watershed is disturbed, take a look at the ponding in the grass near there. You can see standing water days after it rains.)
In any event, Rawson has opened Crystal Lake’s Northwest to development, pretty much to where Crystal Lake has a boundary agreement with Woodstock.
Whether he will make any money on the development is probably a good question.
Is it possible city fathers and mothers think they owe him for the unexpected risk?
Why does the 1960 Johnny Horton country song, “Way up north, north to Alaska,” come to mind?
Rawson has land he wants to develop that is kitty-cornered across from McHenry County College. 85 acres are on Route 14. He also wants to build 255 single-family dwellings and 92 townhouses. He calls the subdivision Barton Steam.
Part of the property is in Crystal Lake’s watershed, but most is in that of the Kishwaukee River.
“It is opening the entire area for development,”
asserted McHenry County Conservation District board member Nancy Williamson.
Realtor Gail Plunkett said:
“We have to look at this north corridor. It’s the keystone of future development.”
Public comment, however, was dominated by a planner based in Crystal Lake named Jerry Davonport, hired by the neighbors to present their case.
Davonport asserted that the proposal did not meet a significant number of the requirements for a planned unit development (PUD). Its planned use did not match the farms or residential estates around it, not to mention that there is no commercial anywhere near the location; its density is considerably higher; existing property values would be damaged; and the traffic would increase tremendously.
Regarding traffic, the issue that tipped the scales against McHenry County College’s baseball stadium proposal, Davonport pointed out that Route 14, at 19,300 trips per day (a 2005 count), is already at capacity.
He estimated that the 960,000 square feet of commercial space (12,000 per acre) would generate about 32,000 trips per day, with maybe 20-30% already on the road.
“This is a lot of trips!” his letter to the council suggests.
“In order to accommodate this project’s impacts, we would have to five-lane the entire road from Woodstock to Crystal Lake, and even then the road would be at capacity.
“Does this sound like Randall Road?” he asked.
Residential traffic, which Rawson wants to build out in 4, rather than 7 years required by ordinance, would add about 3,000 trips per day.
He wondered if the developer would be required to put signals at Lucas and Route 14 and at Briarwood and Route 176, an even more dangerous corner.
“With regard to the residential….”Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley started to ask.
“”We’re not objecting to the residential,” Davonport interjected, adding that his clients would like one acre or greater lots.
Shepley pressed on, asking what Davonport would recommend along Route 14.
“I would look for low density institutional uses,” was the reply. He pointed to Sun City’s backing up of homes to Route 47.
Davonport argued for differentiation between towns.
In other words, a person ought to be able to tell where Crystal Lake ended and Woodstock began.
“We’re just going to become one big mess,” he said, comparing a future Route 14 with Randall Road where one cannot tell where one village ends and another begins.
“The neighbors I talked to all agree that development is coming, but you need to help it go forward in a way that will not be detrimental.
“The traffic needs to be addressed before hand” and “the developer needs to be responsible for signage and signalization.
“If you hold the developer’s feet to the first and make them operate within the law, it will (be good for the community.)”
Was it time to pay Rawson back for the risk he took in opening up Crystal Lake’s northwest?
I don’t know, but this was the second item on the city council’s Tuesday agenda that was destined to bring more money into the city treasurer. The first was the annexation and zoning for Extreme Ford on Route 31.
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All images can be enlarged by clicking on them. Most of the detail on Davonport’s map is large enough to be useful. The satellite image comes from Google Maps. No photographs were taken at the meeting.