Culture, Environment, Government, Legal, Politics

Butterfield: A Look Back

Dear Reader: The following is primarily of interest to Libertyville residents. The 19 points below are a review of the concerns about a housing development on Butterfield Road in Libertyville, proposed in August 2016. A final court decision is due shortly.

For my many readers who may not live here, if you are interested in the potential impacts of housing development in your neck of the woods, read on! These were originally posted March 24, 2017.

“The proposed Planned Development at 901 Butterfield is not in keeping with Libertyville tradition, standards, or our treasured quality of life. Here’s why:

Density
1. While R6 zoning may allow as much as 232 dwellings on 40 acres, the developer’s proposal of 148 is not a salve. Indeed, those 148 homes are built on 15.2 acres, or approximately 9.7 dwellings per acre. This is an urban solution in the midst of spacious, open R3, R4, and R5 subdivisions.

Financials
2. The developer’s proposed sell prices for the homes are virtually unobtainable. The attached neighborhoods’ single family dwellings, have median sell prices of $550,000, vs. the $750,000 proposed for the tightly packaged single-family dwellings. The total property assessment of $109,000,000 is most likely unachievable. The more likely assessment will be $76,000,000, affecting tax revenues significantly.
3. Surrounding neighborhood values will decrease as a direct result of the removal of open space. The additional traffic and registration pressure on Butterfield School will also be a negative to existing property values.

Schools
4. An additional 104 students at Butterfield will require 3-5 additional classroom equivalents. Using the developer’s Fiscal Impact Study model, District 70 will be underwater financially when property assessments are realized at only $76,000,000, requiring incremental tax dollars.
5. School bus transit will be required for all students in the development, further stalling any LCDOT decision to add a signal at the development’s entrance.

Traffic
6. There will be an additional 300 cars in the immediate vicinity. Traffic on Lake Street will increase from 3,800 car trips per day to 5,000.
7. Commuters exiting the development during rush hour may incur accidents turning left, northbound, onto Butterfield in order to reach the Metra Station.
8. Commuters exiting the development during rush hour turning right, southbound, will use Ridgewood Lane as a cut through passage to the Metra Station, disturbing residents on Hillcrest, Sedgwick, Blackthorn and Paradise.
9. Left turn lineups on southbound Butterfield at Park Ave (176) will increase, causing illegal stacking of cars.
10. Pedestrian traffic across Butterfield is in severe jeopardy regardless of time of day, every day, especially drawn to the Butterfield School campus. 23,000 cars per day, average car speed: 47mph. There are estimated 150 school-aged children in the proposed development.

Butler Lake Pollution
11. Private contractor snow removal in a high-density subdivision leads to expedient salting practices. Chlorides are permanent, non-removable threat.
12. Butler Lake pollution is a real risk from indiscriminant use of chlorides which will be washed away by 20,000,000 gallons of storm water run off from the development, into the Bull Creek watershed annually. Libertyville spent $3,450,000 in taxpayer dollars to clean Butler Lake.

Design
13. The 6-foot-high, white vinyl fenced yards are minuscule, with limited opportunity for school-aged children to play near home. They will be lured to parks out of sight, or across Butterfield highway to the school campus.
14. Street designs are straight, encouraging dangerous car speeds.
15. Alley loaded homes are fraught with challenges: traffic, unsightly storage, litter, pet disturbances and fouling, parking, ambient pedestrian traffic , loitering, noise and unwanted gatherings.
16. The 1,000-foot long, 8-foot-high reflecting sound wall on Butterfield is a visual obstruction, and a road noise nuisance to Ridgewood residents and to Butterfield School. The wall will encourage driver speeding as well.
17. The design hides the development’s open space from Libertyville residents, tucking the park out of sight from commuters and local residents alike.

Zoning Compliance
We do not believe that the proposed development is in the best interests of the citizens of Libertyville. It is not a fair offer to be made to potential first home buyers or “moving down” buyers either. We ask all responsible to acknowledge accountability in respecting these considerations as stated in the

Village Zoning Code:
18. Planned Development approvals are subject to Libertyville Zoning Code Article 16-9.5 . This development does not adequately comply with our guidance for adverse impacts, interference with surrounding development, adequate public facilities, traffic congestion, destruction of significant natural, scenic features in the vicinity.
19. According to Article 16-9.5-c Special Use Permits are dependent upon meeting the standards of public benefit, assessing alternative locations, and mitigating adverse impacts. “

The Village and Archdiocese of Chicago are awaiting the final decision of 9th Circuit Lake County Judge on whether the development will go forward. The crux of the argument is traffic congestion and traffic safety. Decision is due on or around January 31, 2019.

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direct mail, Government, Media

Across The Routed Plain

MailThere is a page on the USPS website which was written to boggle the mind.

It is a story worthy of the read for anyone who views the postal system as a fading presence.

While you have to dig a little, and do your own math, you can learn something fascinating about the real meaning of “ubiquity” and “omnipresence”.

mailman-truckIt turns out that America has a network of 4,100,000 miles of roads.   From two-rut country lanes to 16-lane raceways.   Like a fine mesh of nerves stretching across the continent, the road leads up to the doorsteps of 154,000,000 US mail boxes.  Quite incredibly, the USPS drives vehicles along 3,834,000 miles of this road system, six days a week.

This would not seem such a big deal if it wasn’t for the presumption that we are all connected inexorably by the Web.

mailmanTruly, the Web has done its best to increase our knowledge about more people than we could ever achieve otherwise, without really coming to know them at all.

Enter the the USPS.

This quasi-Federal organization shows up in person every day to see us.   For the working masses, the visit occurred while we were somewhere else, doing our job.   For the very young, the out-of-work, for the retired, and home keepers, it’s likely we saw the truck pause in front of our home, or heard a plop and clunk at the front door as a postal person marched across the yard.

Mail ladyThe point in all of this is that we are connected by a single, reliable entity that physically bears witness to the daily lives of the country’s people.  Present and accounted for.

To fill this in a bit, the post office drew over 244,000 separate routes on a map to come see us, and ostensibly sent over 211,000 couriers out to make the call, judging by the number of vehicles in use.

Just for comparison, Google has 54,000 employees, and apart from their roving camera cars, most probably haven’t left the office.  Yet they would make the claim they know all about you.

The USPS web page is a column of statistics that may astound you, and then again maybe not.   What is riveting nonetheless, is their final, bold statistic– “$0: tax dollars received for operating the postal service”.

Give it a read!

Thanks for reading! I have no affiliation with the USPS, but do value their work and worth.  Compared to a lot of government agencies, this one actually gets the job done.

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