Top 5 stories of 2012 in Lake Zurich
Sen. Dan Duffy thanks his wife Kris and children Danielle, Grace, Abby, Matthew and Kasey on election night. | Michelle LaVigne ~ Sun-Times Media
Top web stories
The five most-viewed stories in 2012 on the Lake Zurich Courier website:
1. Sen. Mark Kirk had a stroke that left lingering problems with his left arm, leg
2. Lake Zurich’s Matt Blanchard signs with Chicago Bears
3. Lake Zurich resident Jenn Martin built her own custom jewelry business
4. Lake County mom charged after child drives SUV into hotdog stand
5. Revived Toad plays at Arboretum in Barrington
- County Board OKs Dimucci development near North Barrington, Hawthorn Woods
- Lake Zurich rejects video gambling proposal
- Roskam up big in all four counties of the 6th Congressional district
- Duffy wins big, retains 26th District state senate seat
- Lake County Board candidates address traffic, property taxes in 19th District
- Lake Zurich trustees hear McDonalds, Mariano’s development proposal
Updated: January 28, 2013 6:04AM
LAKE ZURICH — While everyone prepares for 2013 and a fresh start, Pioneer Press offers Lake Zurich Courier readers the top five stories from 2012. Led by a vote for electric aggregation and major development proposals, here are the highlights:
1. Voters opt for electric aggregation
Lake Zurich residents overwhelmingly voted for a referendum proposal March 20 that launched a local electric aggregation program.
The measure groups Lake Zurich and Barrington small businesses and residents together to gain a better electricity rate from an alternative energy supplier. Electric aggregation was wildly popular on March ballots, as 269 other municipalities posted similar referenda.
ComEd remains in charge of delivery and local infrastructure, and the referendum had no effect on its portion of the bill.
An Electricity Aggregation Program Plan of Operation and Governance was later adopted. The move was expected to help residents every month on their electric bills. The adoption of the new program came from an agreement with the Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Collaborative. Estimates put residents’ monthly savings as high as 45 percent.
2. Dimucci development proposal moves forward
In October, the Lake County Board approved the rezoning necessary to bring a 109-acre commercial development to the corner of Rand and Old McHenry roads in unincorporated Lake County.
The Dimucci family property is expected to be developed into a retail shopping center. While initial concepts envisioned 800,000 square feet of commercial development, the version approved in October calls for no more than 650,000 square feet of total floor area, and no more than 450,000 for designated for retail. Half of the property has been reserved for open space.
The approval came after many public hearings during which residents of Hawthorn Woods, Deer Park, North Barrington and the surrounding communities voiced mostly opposition to the development, arguing that it is not necessary and too large for the area. Some argued that the proposal was not well planned and that the increased traffic the mall would bring would diminish quality of life in the nearby Hawthorn Woods and North Barrington neighborhoods.
The planning commission argued that increased property taxes generated by the property would benefit Community Unit School District 95 in Lake Zurich. Future tenants for the property have not yet been announced.
Lake County Board member Bonnie Thompson Carter, chair of the planning, building and zoning committee, began a 90-minute discussion of the proposal by saying that “we have never put this much effort before in finding the right balance between the rights of the property owner and the concerns of the surrounding communities.”
3. Trustees reject video gambling
In front of a crowded board meeting in September, Lake Zurich trustees voted down a proposal to allow video gambling in public venues in the village.
Prior to the Sept. 17 vote, many of the board members expressed no personal opposition to video gambling, but they explained that they didn’t think it’s right for Lake Zurich.
The decision came after several residents argued that potential problems from video gambling outweigh the possible financial benefit the town would receive.
Under the state’s video gambling legislation, bars, restaurants, fraternal clubs, veterans establishments and truck stops could have as many as five video gaming terminals per establishment. However, counties and municipalities can opt out of video gambling.
John Barrington, president of the Lake Zurich American Legion post, spoke in favor of video gambling. He said the money brought in from the machines could have been used for future capital projects in town.
4. Election Day brings new leadership
While the November election was headlined by the presidential race, the 2012 ballot also offered many significant races in and around Lake Zurich.
Democrat Tammy Duckworth won the hotly-contested 8th Congressional District race against incumbent Rep. Joe Walsh, a Tea Party-backed Republican. The Democrats also won the 10th Congressional seat as Brad Schneider narrowly slipped past U.S. Rep Bob Dold, ousting the freshman congressman and giving the 10th District its first Democrat in decades.
U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam held onto his 6th District seat by beating Democratic challenger Leslie Coolidge in all four counties within the redrawn district.
In Lake Zurich’s state Senate race, Dan Duffy was re-elected as the 26th District state senator, winning an overwhelming 74 percent of the vote across the Lake and Cook County District.
Incumbent Lake County Board member Craig Taylor, a Republican from Lake Zurich, earned reelection to the 19th District seat in Waukegan.
5. Commercial development at Rt. 22 and Quentin
After several discussions between developers and village trustees in 2012, Chicago-based Bradford Real Estate received approved to build an up-scale McDonalds restaurant, a Chase Bank and a Mariano’s Fresh Market on the southwest corner of Route 22 and Quentin Road.
The commercial lot has long been described as under-utilized, village officials said.
The Mariano’s grocery store offers an upscale, gourmet grocery shopping experience. The McDonalds restaurant also seeks to build an upscale model. Officials said the chain plans to build with high quality materials, non-obtrusive signs and a double drive-thru lane.