October 9, 2013 - Ela Soccer President, Doug talked on the phone with Hawthorn Woods Mayor Mancino and invited him to meet for lunch or a drink to discuss the road access permit requirements. Mayor Mancino declined to meet and said there was no discussion. We are questioning what is required by the Village of Hawthorn Woods as research of surrounding communities would not require us to conduct a traffic study or traffic count study for a road access permit if this property was within their community. It was estimated that these studies would cost Ela Soccer between $10,000 and $15,000. We will continue to fight this issue (including possible litigation) as we believe that that money could be used for other items with the development of this land or for programs for kids in our program. (In fact, one much larger community said that if this land was in their town their public works and police department would make a recommendation to their village manager with the safest way to access the driveway. This would include the village possibly installing a stop sign. (Which is something we originally requested and had to drop the request as Hawthorn Woods was going to require even more studies for the installation of a stop sign.) Even another community has no requirements for a road access permit, but instead uses a common sense approach for what would be the best and safest access for all. We have not found a single community that would require a full traffic study.) We have filled out a FOIA request for a list of all new developments within Hawthorn Woods in the last year and a list of the same new developments that were required to conduct traffic studies. We feel that the Village is playing politics and making a non profit youth sports organization incur unnecessary costs.
October 2, 2013 - We receive a revised letter from Lake County changing the requirements saying now that we will need to get a conditional use permit. They are now saying that the use of the land as a park / soccer fields is not permitted use under the zoning ordinance . (This comes as a complete shock to us as there is no basis for this request. Clearly in the Unified Development Ordinance Parks & Open Space are permitted use for the Agriculture zoning designation. We will be meeting with the Director of the Lake County Building & Planning Department next week to discuss who determines the need for this designation as there are other soccer / sports parks in Lake County that does not need this permit. In addition, why this was never included in the original requirement letter from Lake County.)
October 1, 2013 - We sent out an email to the Ela Soccer participants announcing the land purchase and the formation of a land development committee. Anyone interested should contact Jackie Marais.
September 27, 2013 - There is now some question as to requirements needed since the property should already have a variance with its current zoning. If this is true and road access was already granted previously, then we will not need to obtain the road access permit. Either way, we are still moving forward to trying to get Hawthorn Woods to grant us the permit without having to incur the unnecessary expense.
September 26, 2013 - Doug talked with Pam Newton and Erika Frable on a conference call. Doug expressed that a traffic study and traffic count study was unnecessary expense as it was not going to be required by other government bodies. He asked that it be considered by the Mayor and Village Board to have that requirement waived and to grant a quick road access permit so that we can move onto the approval process with Lake County.
September 25, 2013 - Originally we were told by the Village of Hawthorn Woods Public Works Director Erika Frable that there is no formal process to apply for Road Access Permit. The seller obtained a copy of the application form at their meeting and we filled it out and submitted it to the Village.
September 24, 2013 - The sellers of the property meet with Pam Newton and Mayor Mancino. The sellers are told that no one has formally submitted a Road Access Permit Application and that the Village doesn't believe that soccer fields are the best use for this land. (This property is not within the Village of Hawthorn Woods and they do not have jurisdiction over the use land. The use of the property for soccer fields is permitted use under current County agriculture zoning and therefore, no matter the opinions of the Village of Hawthorn Woods of its best use, it would still be allowed. We disagree with the Village as this property is in an incredible location for use as a soccer field park.)
August 30, 2013 - We receive a formal letter from the Village of Hawthorn Woods on the requirements for the Road Access Permit. (We are challenging a number of items in the letter since it is our belief that there is not a need for a full traffic study and traffic count study as the township was not going to require plus there are a few items that is outside of their jurisdiction. If we are required to do these studies, it will force us to incur an unnecessary expense of $10,000 - $15,000. Being a non profit, we feel this money can be better utilized on programs for the kids.)
August 22, 2013 - Ela Soccer's Board Member and Attorney Jim Messineo calls the Mayor of Hawthorn Woods and requests a meeting to discuss the road access permit. Mayor Mancino does not respond to the request to meet.
August 9, 2013 - We start to work with Inland Bank on securing financing for the property.
August 8, 2013 - We received the requirements for development from Lake County in writing. This includes:
August 1, 2013 - Doug and Jackie meet with the Lake County Building & Planning Department to go over requirements to move forward with the development of the land into soccer fields. The property is zoned Agriculture which Parks & Open Space is a permitted use under the Lake County Unified Development Ordinance.
July 27, 2013 - Ela Soccer enters into contract to purchase 10 acres just north of Lake Zurich in unincorporated Lake County off Route 12 at Old McHenry Road and Milton Road. (view map here )
In 2010 the Ela Soccer Club Board started discussing the possibility of purchasing land for additional soccer fields. After our user agreement was cancelled in Hawthorn Woods by its new administration, it became evident that Ela Soccer needed its own facility more than ever. This would assure Ela Soccer that it could never be kicked off those fields after spending over $80,000 to develop and maintain. That money would be used on fields owned by the club. We have since signed a long term field developmental agreement with the Village of Deer Park and continue to have a great relationship with the Village of Lake Zurich and Ela Township. The program continues to grow and in 2012 we surpassed over 2,500 registrations for our various programs throughout the year. The strain continues to be seen on the fields as they are being used seven days a week for both practices and games. Additional fields are clearly needed. Lake Zurich is limited on the available parks and they also have to work with other sports organization to also allow them field spaces. We are grateful of the fields we do use within the parks of the Village of Lake Zurich.
With the downturn in the economy, the area Villages are struggling financially and do not have funds to purchase additional parks or develop sports fields. Over the last year, the Ela Soccer board made it a priority to seek out any and all land parcels for sale to see if it would work for multiple soccer fields.
Doug Anderson is the President of Ela Soccer Club and and is also President of Blue Fence Real Estate. Blue Fence Real Estate will be donating any commission earned from the purchase of land to Ela Soccer Club.