Lakewood President Erin Smith Writes on Turnberry Condo Proposal, Promises Town Hall Meeting

Got a letter from my Lakewood Village President today.

For the first time I can remember, she signed it “Mary Erin Smith.”

Very formal.

Before the signature line I remember was “Erin.” (See 12-30-15 letter below, for example.)

The topic of this letter was the proposed conversion of Turnberry Country Club into a condo development.

An aerial view of changes proposed to the Turnberry Country Clubhouse.

An aerial view of changes proposed to the Turnberry Country Clubhouse.

The following articles may provide some useful background:

Maybe the First Class letter that just arrived was in response to this email 1-30-16 email from Trustee Paul Serwatka. I did not publish it previously.

To my neighbors, fellow residents and fellow village board members:

In my short time as a Lakewood Village Trustee, I have spoken out, on many occasion, of the fiduciary duty we, as trustees, have – as well as to whom it is that we owe this fiduciary duty. THE RESIDENTS!

I have since had many occasions where I find myself quite perplexed, even appalled, by the behavior, actions and inactions of my fellow board members e.g.:

  • FOIA requests revealing disturbing email communications.
  • Assertions that the state can mandate how trustees are to vote.
  • Enacting policies and taxing residents based on documentation that board members acknowledge they have never seen or doesn’t exist.
  • Intentionally evading the efforts and requests of residents wishing to have discussion on major issues.
  • Knowingly and intentionally enacting policies that put residents at undue financial risk.

To demonstrate this, we need only look at the recent January 26th village board meeting.

I believe the actions, as well as inactions, of trustees, Furey, Thomas, Davis, Iden and Santowski, along with President Smith at the January 26th village board meeting were a flagrant example of a board of trustees that has either lost it’s way, is confused as to it’s fiduciary duties, is grossly incompetent, or perhaps something worse.

I challenge each of these trustees to stand before the residents (and I will stand as well) and explain their actions at this meeting, particularly:

1. After multiple requests, by multiple residents, on multiple occasions, to have an opportunity for a two-way discussion with the board regarding new information uncovered in a lengthy FOIA request by residents’ attorneys, regarding the Turnberry/RedTail Expansion/Development –each of these trustees intentionally refused to entertain a motion to allow residents to discuss this issue openly with board members.

In refusing to allow this motion, each trustee knowingly, and intentionally, forbid the residents’ simple request to have an open dialogue with the board.

I challenge each of these trustees to justify their intentional efforts to silence residents.

I further challenge each trustee to explain how they believe their actions in this matter were in anyway in the spirit of good government.

To simply say “We had no more information to give” is not an excuse!

2. To trustees: Furey, Thomas, Davis and Iden –

By voting in favor (and Iden’s abstention) to the Dist-200 Intergovernmental Agreement, these trustees knowingly and intentionally placed the substantial burden and tremendous potential risk, on Lakewood residents, of having to pay approx. $8700 per year/per child (plus annual increases to allow for inflation) for the education of any children who may come to reside within the TIF Dist. This burden, of course, would be for the life of the TIF – 23 to 35 years.

Each of these trustees, along with our village President, acknowledged the risk and echoed the hollow promise “We would never allow for any residential development with children in this area, but, we can NOT speak as to what future boards may do.” And with this, each of these trustees voted to assume this tremendous risk, on behalf of the unsuspecting taxpayers of our village.

Trustee Santowski, who did vote NO, stated he did so, not because of the risk posed to residents but, because he believed the $8700 (approx.) per student/per year was a bit higher than it should be.

I challenge each of these trustees to explain how they believe that placing this undue burden – this tremendous potential risk – on Lakewood taxpayers, is in any way beneficial to the taxpayers.

I challenge each of these trustees to explain how they believe this decision can, in any way, be construed as good financial stewardship.

= = = =
If any property owners in the Turnberry area wish to contribution their take on this proposal, McHenry County Blog would be happy to publish it.


Lakewood President Erin Smith Writes on Turnberry Condo Proposal, Promises Town Hall Meeting — 12 Comments

  1. This letter contains falsehoods.

    First, Erin Smith set up a meeting with a private, member only organization — the TPA — without informing the public at large or all of the trustees. Only when word got out about the meeting did the Village put out a press release.

    Second, Erin did NOT merely introduce the idea or the developer. In fact, the developer wasn’t even there! Instead, Erin flat out shilled for the developer, telling the TPA members that this was the only option available to them and if they didn’t take it, Turnberry would close down.

  2. 240 new high end housing units= 24 additional low income housing units in TIF to comply with Illinois Affordable Housing Act.

    124 low income housing units = 74 new students in Woodstock D200.

    Per IGA signed with D200, each student will require $8680 paid by Lakewood.

    74 x $8680= $642,320.

    Lakewood levy = $1.7 muillion.

    PTELL = cap on levy increase to 1.05 x $1.7 million = $1,785,000.

    $1,785,000- $642,320 = $1,142,680.

    Question: what spending will Lakewood cut to comply with PTELL AND honor the terms of the IGA with D200 regarding the Lakewood TIF?

    Question: Is it LEGAL to FORBID ‘development of low income housing in the TIF which might produce school aged residents’?
    Is Lakewood Zoning Board run like a Restricted Country Club?

  3. This and a big portion of the State Route 47 & State Route 176 TIF involve golf course properties.

    Most or all of Red Tail / Turnberry is in Crystal Lake Elementary District 47 / High School District 155.

    The State Route 47 & State Route 176 TIF is in Woodstock District 200 schools.

  4. the new development of 240 new poshy units in ANY PART of Lakewood requires that 10% MORE low income housing be built as an offset.

    100 units are now resolved to cover CURRENT deficiency.

    240 MORE poshy units requires 10% of 240=24 MORE than the 100 needed already.

  5. And I suppose that ALL the Lakewood golf courses will be targeted for high-density residential development, and that similar ADDITIONAL low-income housing unit compliance needs will be generated over and above 74 current.

  6. So what you are saying Susan is that any low income housing that would have to be built as a result of new residential construction in the Red Tail / Turnberry development; would be built in the Illinois State Route 47 / State Route 176 TIF; not in the Red Tail / Turnberry development.

    That seems to be what you are saying?

  7. Yes. It is so stated in Lakewood ordinance of July 28, 2015: they claim there is no room for development of low income housing in Lakewood proper, therefore it must be placed in TIF.

  8. Susan is correct.

    The village board voted on July 28, 2015 to add 100 “affordable housing units” into the TIF in order to comply with the affordable housing act.

    It states in the agreement that existing subdivisions are “nearly built out” therefore the only option for compliance is within the TIF, described as “an unparalleled opportunity to construct affordable housing” for those with “low and moderate income households, as well as those individuals with disabilities.”.

    Apparently all trustees voted in favor of this agreement including Santowski (who originally opposed the TIF) and Serwatka (who won his trustee seat due to his opposition of the TIF) — see the meeting minutes on the village website.

    Then at the most recent village board meeting the board voted in favor (by a 3-2 vote with one trustee abstaining) of an agreement with Woodstock District 200 to pay a minimum of ~$8700 per student per year living in the TIF for schooling costs.

    And who pays this cost specifically…the rest of the residents within Lakewood!

    Many of the trustees commented prior to their vote on the Woodstock District 200 agreement they had no intention of putting housing in the TIF but couldn’t control what future boards may decide.

    Um, didn’t you just vote in July to put at least 100 low income housing units into the TIF because there is supposedly no room elsewhere?

    If you aren’t already confused by the actions of the current board and village administration, you should be now.

  9. Trustees Davis, Furey, and Thomas voted in favor of the intergovernmental agreement with Woodstock District 200; trustee Iden abstained; trustees Santowski and Setwatka voted no.

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